Friday, August 30, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday from VA


Blogging to you live here from VA.  We somehow managed to get it together to find a place to rent, find movers and move down to VA...all within the span of one week.  Whew...I'm tired just thinking about it.


During that time, we also, inherited,  were given via family transfer,  from my SUPER generous parents who don't need it anymore,...this vehicle.

I call it Gus the Bus...,short for Augustine...cause ya know, it has to be a Catholic van.   Our other van, which was in pretty bad shape, would not have passed inspection in VA, so we bid it a fond farewell, cried many tears and sold it for a few pennies. 

I was really scared to drive Gus as first, but I quickly got used to it.  Backing up is still a pain, but I'm getting better at it (knock on wood).  

The nicest thing about Gus.... unlike other vehicles, it has air conditioning. 


On the drive down, we were once again stuck in major, major, major traffic in NY and NJ (amazingly CT was fine).  I think it took us like 3 hours to go 40 miles or something.   At least I found a news radio station that assured me that the "alternate" route would have been even worse due to a jackknifed tractor trailer. 


Not to make this all doom and gloom...yesterday was a lovely day of driving...clear sailing, no traffic and a fun visit with a friend we stopped off to see on the way. 


And, this is the best thing about the house we are renting.  See those things? 

 Those are trees!  TREES!!!  Nice, big, shady ones.  Something you don't really see in FL.   And, the swingset in the backyard is fun for the kids as well.  


Today we had to make a run to WalMart and when we came back to the house, our cat was missing.  MISSING.  I KNEW he was in the house, (all closed up) when we left, and when we came back, he was nowhere to be found.  I called Ben up, crying and screaming and cursing the landlord who I was SURE had come to the house and let him out.   

Then I opened up a cabinet on top of the fridge...and who should appear, but the wayward cat. 


Our furniture hasn't arrived from the moving truck yet, so this is how we are sleeping.  It's actually surprisingly comfortable...sleeping on the floor.  I have a foam mat, then a sleeping bag and a few blankets.  It's not too bad.

Now go see Jen for more quick takes. 

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bye bye RI

And they were singin'
Bye Bye little R...I.
No more red it's not red tide.
These good ole girls are singing
Del's and Dunkin and Chai
Saying this will be the day that I fry
without the cool ocean breezes of RI. 

So..whaddaya think?  Do I have a future as a songwriter or a poet or what??!!!

I know, I's  an or what.  But, I just couldn't let our passing from the state of RI (for perhaps the very last time)  go by without some sort of lame, songy/poemy tribute.  So there ya go. 

And, so I bid a fond farewell to the state where I grew up, the state where I went to college and the state where I spent 5 years of my adult life.   Cheesey as it sounds, I'll always consider myself a Rhode Islandah!

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Friday, August 23, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday....Big News, Big Changes and Small Takes


So, it's time for our second long-distance move in as much as three months.  Back in May, we moved from Florida to Rhode Island while Ben studied for the VA bar exam.  So, we always knew we'd have to move again.


On Tuesday evening, Ben got and accepted a job offer.  Unfortunately it's not a legal, lawyer's a teaching job.  But still a good one that will pay the bills and it gets us into the state in which we want to reside.  So..Yay!

He needs to be there next Wed, so that gave us less than a week to find movers, find  a place to rent, pack up stuff and get out of here...and two days of that needs to be for travel. 


To say that I was a bit stressed is a bit if understatement.  More like full-blown panic attack.  Picture this!


We found  a place to rent (sight unseen) so when handed the lease, Ben did what any other, just graduated from law school lawyer would do and picked it apart, read it super carefully and came back with a list of modifications/clarifications. I'm just hoping they'll still accept us...please, please, please.  We're really nice people, I promise. 


So, I may not be blogging much in the next week or two.  How lame is blog about not blogging?  Lame, lame, lame. 


I feel like I'm 25 again...looking into rentals, having to set up utilities and worry about all those little things that I hadn't had to worry about while living in Fl.  Ya know...things like electric bills, and winter, and heating oil..those things. 

Now, go see Jen for more Quick Takes. 
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Sunday, August 18, 2013

WIWS....bad hair and boring.

Time for another edition of WIWS....boring outfit and bad hair and all.  Because I'm all about keeping it here I really am folks. 

It's a boring outfit, and my hair looks horrible because I did my morning workout right before we left, so my hair is a bit sweaty and time for a shower and blow dry. 

You've seen all these pieces before.  I tend to be a fairly boring dresser and prefer dark, neutral colors and simple styles.  I think black is the most common color seen in my wardrobe. 

All these pieces were given to me for score one for frugality!

And, here you can see my diaper bag/purse...which is also black and boring. 

Elsa got a B+ for Mass behavior today.  We had to take her out before Mass even started, but Ben reported that she had good behavior out in the vestibule.  I think he's a more lenient grader than I am though. 

Oh and let me repeat what I said case you missed it.  We had to take her out BEFORE MASS EVEN STARTED.  Yes, I am shouting...because that means that we were ACTUALLY THERE BEFORE MASS STARTED.

That only happens like twice a year.  Seriously.  Punctuality is not my forte. 

So, Ben was out in the vestibule with Elsa and I was in the church fielding Greta's  persistent questions. 

What is a prophet? (fairly easily to answer)

Why did he set the world on fire? Did he really, was the world really on fire? (not so easy to explain literal speech versus figurative speech in the middle of Mass). 

Does God pray to himself? (hmmmmmm?)

She was in fine form today. 

Now, go check out Fine Linen And Purple for more Sunday outfits.

And,  if you missed my post from was a big day for the kids..their first chess tournament!  They all did super well!

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

First Chess Tournament

Today, all three of the older kids played in their FIRST EVER chess tournament.  It was a super exciting day and they all did VERY well.

Most importantly, no one lost it when they lost and refused to play again.  They all happily played all four rounds, showed good sportsmanship and did a great job even though they were nervous and a bit hesitant about playing.

Heidi went 2-2 (meaning she won two games and lost two games).

There were so many kids that Greta had to play her first game standing up. 

Greta went 1-3 (she won 1 game and lost 3)

Thinking hard.

John went 2-2 (won two and lost two) which is fantastic considering that he was the youngest player there by at least a year. 

Getting beaten up by a whippersnapper of a Master. 
Daddy played too!

And, in between and after rounds, they had fun climbing trees.

And taking walks.

And eating shoes

And playing hide and seek.

And other games:

or just reading.

Funny story:  We had a lot of time to kill and ended up parked in the shade under a tree, along with a bunch of other people who were killing time also parked in the shade under that same tree. 

One of the other chess moms (I feel so dorky now..I'm a chess mom, which is way less cool than being a soccer mom I'm sure) struck up a conversation and out of nowhere said.

So, you homeschool right?

I was all, how in the world could she possibly know it the barefoot kids running around?  The hippy looking maya wrap sling?  The brazen breastfeeding? The cloth diapers?  Are we just weird and unsocialized? I knew it's wan't our clothes, because I wasn't wearing my denim jumper (don't worry, I don't actually own any denim jumpers) and was actually wearing PANTS and a tank top (gasp!).
I must have looked pretty startled because then she said

I heard you reading to the kids and thought you were so patient and figured  you must homeschool.

Well, knock me over with a feather...and FWIW, I've known plenty of moms who send their kids to school who do way more reading and are way, way, way. way way. way. way more patient than me.   But, it still made me feel good. 

So, all in all, it was a great day!
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Friday, August 16, 2013

7 Quick Takes now


Do anyone else find themselves completely unproductive until they get their blog post in?  It's like I have all these ideas rolling around in my head...and I can't really focus on anything else until I get them out. 

No?  Must be just me then.  I think I might be slightly addicted to blogging.


I was teaching John about opposites.

Me: What's the opposite of sweet?
John: umm..Healthy??

Yep...pretty much.


Stupidest reason for not breastfeeding next time.


And, what's the big deal about equity anyway. She seems to have a very infantile view of equity does not mean the same.  People can be treated equally, without being treated the same...different people have different needs or talents so they give and get different things.  I spend a lot of time trying to impart that idea onto my know the whole you don't get new shoes just because your sister got new shoes because you don't need new shoes..when you need them you'll get them and she won't blah, blah, blah. 

Guess no one every taught her in her mind she wants to do away with basic biology..because heaven forbid there could be real biological differences between the sexes. 


And, my baby is 11-months old, still breastfeeds about 1 millions time a day and 2 million times a night, yet she actually doesn't prefer me.  It's a toss-up between Ben and Greta who is her current favorite. Whenever Ben comes into the room she goes right for him..but she also whines a lot for Greta to pick her up, because who wouldn't love an older 8-yo sister that treats you like her own living, breathing doll that she can carry around and play with non-stop. 

Or that you can stick grass behind her head to make bunny ears for pictures. 


And, in other news...a new shocking studies shows that.

Oh wait..maybe that's not all that shocking..maybe that's just common the compromise and sacrifice you learn from having lots of siblings can tie over into marriage.   The key to marriage and family life is basically learning to root our your own selfishness and siblings kinda force you to learn compromise. 


So...what are some good Netflix shows/series you like to watch?  I've been going through Monk..but am about to finish it.  I need something else to watch while I do my morning workout (about 45-60 minutes in length).   Suggestions???


So, I figured that if I upload a video in the picture part of blogger, it makes a pretty funny animated picture of a falling baby.   Just need to figure out how to get that play triangle off.   So, that's my amusement for the day. 

Now, go see Jen for more Quick Takes

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Theme Thursday: Faith

Linking up with Cari and her Clan for Theme Thursday: Faith.

'Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. 
Hebrews: 11:1

And, what better way to show faith than through the sacraments.

 A sacrament is an outward sign of God's grace

I actually didn't learn that until I was teaching my own kids and working with them on the catechism.  For some reason, I never learned that through my own CCD classes!!!???

Anyway, I decided to get all fancy and make a collage of pictures from various sacraments our family has experienced.
One Wedding
Four Baptisms
Two First Communions.

And there ya go...our family's sacrament collage. 
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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Five Favorites and What We're Reading Wednesday


I just love this graphic...don't you?

I want to link up, just so I can use this....because I always sit in my easy chair with my house dress and read with legs crossed just so.

I wish.  I actually do all my reading in my bedroom, during the afternoon, nursing a baby who refuses to nap alone.  

So, yes..I am cheating and my first favorite is this graphic!


Now, for what I'm actually reading.

I picked this up at the library on a whim (it was on the end shelf) and really like it.  If anything it's a good reminder to be sure to teach our kids certain life how to do laundry, how to clean a bathroom (ahem...something my mother never actually taught me), how to throw a party, how to cook a meal, etc.   It's super easy as parents to fall into the trap of thinking oh, it's easier to just do it myself, rather than teach someone else how to do it.   But, that's not really what we need to be doing, is it?

Ms. Wyma's writing style is really fun, it's an easy read and has a lot of really good tips. 


Ben got this for me awhile ago, when it was free for kindle as a temporary promotion.  Ben's a genius as getting free kindle books.

Anyway, this is a really engaging book about a trial that happened in the 70's.  A family has two biological children, and then adopted a little girl from China that developed a mysterious illness involving lots of diarrhea and weird electrolyte imbalances that eventually killed her.  The family then adopts another little girl from China, and when this little girl starts experiencing the same symptoms, suspicion falls on the mother and this is her story.    The interesting thing, is that you never find out definitively if the mother is guilty, but I strongly suspect she was and the going theory is that she had  Munchausen syndrome by proxy  It's all very fascinating stuff. 


And, on a different note...away from books.  

Here is a cute little video of Miss Elsa Rose practicing her beginning walking skills.

Just ignore, my super annoying voice. 


And another one.  Sorry it's sideways...just tilt your head. 

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Homeschool Curriculum Choices for those with little patience

Linking up with Micaela because her blog is awesome and I love a good link up!

So.....a few months back I posted about my curriculum choices. can just go ahead and forget that post, because I've changed a lot of our curriculum in the last few months. 

So, before we get into our curriculum choices...let's just talk a lot about what motivates me in choosing curriculum.   To be quite honest, there are basically three things
1) ease of use and can they do it independently
2) cost. 
3) philosophy that as you can see ease of use and cost comes before philosophy.

Everyone thinks that homeschooling parents must have superhuman patience....but I can tell ya...I am low, low, low on the patience scale.  When God was handing out patience, I must have been too impatient and left. 

Anyway, homeschooling does give me the opportunity to practice patience....and heaven knows  I need the practice...but I also tend to drop things that require too much of my time or too much planning or are too involved. 

So, this year, we've basically switched over to using almost totally Mother of Divine Grace (with a few exceptions.)

Why Mother of Divine Grace, you might be wondering?.  Well....because over the years, I've been more and more attracted to the classical mindset, although .I've NEVER actually read, The Well-Trained Mind.   But, mostly because I have A LOT of friends who use it.  Yes....I chose a curriculum because my friends use it.  Sad?  or Genius?  I say genius because sometimes I get hand-me-down books and because I've seen kids who went through this curriculum who got into good colleges and turned out okay..and that's the best endorsement for me. 

Plus, it's easy to use....and isn't very academically rigorous in the early elementary years, but does seem to be in the middle and high school years which I've come to really appreciate.  I don't believe young kids need a lot of academic rigor, but older kids do. 

So, here is the breakdown of what we use by kid!

11 years old
6th Grade

Math:  We started out using Math-U-See Zeta, but I am strongly considering switching to Math Mammoth so currently we are going through the 5th grade end of year assessment test and some free practice worksheets to see how we like them.   My only problem with Math Mammoth is that it doesn't go beyond 8th or 9th I don't know.  Although, they do recommend some other curriculum for the higher grades. 

MODG actually recommends Saxon...but I'm not a huge fan of we'll see.

Poetry:  The Harp and the Laurel Leaf

Religion:  Baltimore Catechism 2 and Ignatius Study Bible
We have this bible on our Kindle (LOVE the Kindle)
Discussion questions from Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum

I love the way they do religion...and I love how MODG is much more analytic in the 6th grade (and up) and the questions are more analytic questions and less just regurgitating information. 

Latin:  Latina Christiana I and II.  We are supposed to be in Level II, but we didn't finish Level I last year, so we're finishing that up first.

Spelling/Phonics:  The Writing Road to Reading and Starting a Spelling Notebook

This is the one choices I am a bit unsure about.  We JUST started this, after going through numerous other we'll see how this works.  So far, it's a bit hard to pick up, but what I do see of it, I like it.

Grammar:  Easy Grammar 6.  We did Shurley English for a few years...and I like Easy Grammer better.  But, it is a bit well....easy for we are going to be skipping ahead some. 

Editing:  Editing in Chief A1.   

Funny story about this I buy lots of my books from Amazon used book sellers. Normally, I have ZERO problems with them.  So, I ordered it the first time, and the seller sent me the WRONG book.    So, I sent that one back and they sent a replacement, except the ENTIRE book was all written in.  I mean, EVERY.SINGLE.LESSON.  Now, I've bought used books off Amazon before, and I don't mind if the first few lessons are filled in, but this was EVERY SINGLE ONE.   So, then I ordered another copy..this one in  "like new condition."  And, the new bookseller, sent me the WRONG BOOK.   But, that's okay...because they're refunding my money and the book they sent me is a fun, logic games book from the Critical Thinking Company,. which I get to keep for free.  So, win, win for me.  And, I'll just have to keep doing what I was doing (which is re-writing the Editing exercises for Heidi to do). 

History and Geography: The Old World and America, Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Egypt, The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt and many other supplemental books which I hopefully can find from the library for free.    I love the way MODG does history...with some textbooks, but lots of supplemental books.

Art: Calligraphy first steps and Art 7 for Young Catholics.   I also love the way they do art, which include art appreciation. 

Music: Nothing...but the girls had been doing piano lessons in Fl, which I hope to continue once we get settled again. 

Science:   Apologia Astronomy and the Notebook. 
I love Apologia for science because the books are fun and interesting and my kids basically do the notebooks all on their own.  Win!

Supplements: I was recently given a bunch of curriculum, including several books from The Critical Thinking Company with logic, analytic games so we are using those as as supplement when she wants to do them. 

Literature: Nothing formal, but they do a lot on their own and when we go to the library, I make them check out at least a few real books and not just fluff/series books. 

8 years old
3rd Grade

Math: Currently in Math U See Gamma, but thinking about switching to Math Mammoth

Spelling: The Writing Road to Reading and Starting A Spelling Notebook.   I love how these books are used over multiple grades.  MONEY SAVER!!!!

Poetry:  The Harp and the Laurel Leaf

Language Arts: Primary Language Lessons.  This is a bit too easy for her, so we're going to be zooming ahead and moving forward faster than the syllabus.

Religion: St Joseph Baltimore Catechism and Golden Book Children's Bible.
I love how MODG uses the bible in their religion. 

History and Geography:  Our American Heritage and Our American Heritage Map Study Skill and many supplemental books which I can hopefully get from the library. 

Latin:  Latin from the Roots Up. This is just really simple flash cards...where they learn a few words at at time.

Science: Apologia Astronomy and Notebooks. 

Art: Child-Sized Masterpieces. Step 4.  I love's just art appreciation and recognizing artists..which I NEVER learned how to do. 
Music: Hopefully, we will resume piano lessons soon. 

Literature: Nothing formal, but she does a lot on her own and when we go to the library, I make them check out at least a few real books and not just fluff/series books. 

5 years old

Math: Math U See Primer.  John seems to have a natural knack for Math, so we will probably zoom through this, and then go into Math Mammoth First Grade.

Reading/Phonics:  Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and Alpha-Phonics Primer

Religion: Golden Book Children's Bible

Poetry: The Harp and the Laurel Leaf

Art: Child-sized Masterpieces.  Level 1, Easy. 

Music: I got nothing. 

Literature: MODG has a list of recommended literature which we are just picking from and reading. 

Wish List:

 I would love, love, love to get Life of Fred as a supplement (for all three of them).  I know my kids would love it, but I haven't found it cheap enough for me to justify the expense yet. 

Anyway, that is what we are using so far.  I'm sure we'll be switching and changing things again in the future, but right now, fickle Amelia is pretty happy. 

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

What I wore Sunday...The Beautiful and the Brutal

So, welcome to another edition of WIWS.  The Catholic, Mommy, Blog-o-sphere has been all aflutter with debate discussion about different types of blogs..those that are so-called "real" and discuss the trials and hardships, and those that are more shiny/happy and show the good moments and triumphs.  Personally I like both aspects...because life is brutiful (a term coined by Glennon Melton of Momestory)..meaning it's both brutal and beautiful.

If you want to read a really brutiful story, check this one out...about the mysterious priest who showed up at a crash site and turned things around for one very blessed teenager.

Today, Mass was beautiful.  The clouds parted, the angels sang and Elsa fell asleep nursing and spent the entire Mass in a state of peaceful slumber.  This warrants her an A++++++++++++++++++.

This is quite the change from yesterday when we went to confession and she treated all the other confessants to extremely loud screeches whenever we dared to prevent her from ripping up a Missal.

And today is Elsa's 11-month birthday (I can't believe just one more month until the big oh-one) so I just had to show what she wore Sunday.

Here she is, brushing her hair to get read for her What Elsa Wore Sunday photo.

Just gotta learn to turn that brush around baby.

And, here she is in a super cute. gingham dress which is a hand-me-down from a friend.  No shoes because I don't believe in them until my babies are good walkers and she still falls about every 4th step.  There is a lesson to be learned in watching Elsa walk, no doubt.  She falls down over and over and over again but every time, she still gets back up and tries again and again and each time makes it a few more steps before falling down again.

And, just to show you how real I is What John Wore Sunday.

Those there would be backward pants...that I didn't notice until we had already arrived at church.

Not to mention the two left shoes.

For some odd reason, we have two pairs of shoes exactly the same... just slightly different sizes...and John managed to find two left ones to put on today. 

And now, what you've all no doubt been waiting to see..What I wore Sunday (nothing backwards or wrong this time...although I've been know to go out in backwards/ inside-out clothing on occasion).  Scatterbrained Mommies R Us.

This entire outfit, from shirt to shoes is second-hand and if you want to read more about my  mad thrifting skills go visit my guest post on FLAP.

This is probably the 3rd time in the last 10 years that I have worn my shirt tucked in.  Apparently tucking in is in again...after being out for several years (or so my WIWS blogs, from whence I get all my fashion advice) tell me.

I'm always a bit worried about tucking only works with more structured pieces of clothing...that is clothing which is structured enough to hold my I had four kids and love to eat belly in.

But, I think it works this time and if it doesn't and I look terrible just go ahead and keep that bit of information to yourself, please and thank you.

And, now, go check out FLAP to see more fashionable bloggers. 
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Friday, August 9, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday....I'm calm, I'm cool...I'm collected


or maybe not. 

Actually, I'm all cool and collected on the outside

But, on the inside...I'm all


If you can read that...great...if not..just know that we need prayers for jobs (to find one) and moving (cause we gotta do it and it's gonna be long-distance) and bar exams (cause he gotta pass) and my sanity (because it's going..ha..ha). 


On a good note..cutest-baby-in-the-world-Elsa who is not-quite 11-months old yet, just started walking.  She only takes a few steps at a time, before falling but she's getting there and she could probably get a lot further if there weren't so many obstacles (ie toys/pillows/junk/what-have-you) in her path.

thinking about taking a few steps

arms out for balance

foiled by the pillows


Have you ever done a Meyer-Briggs Personality test?
I just did one, and came up as ISFJ....which actually explains A LOT about me. 

And, then I did this one and came up with ESFJ which basically goes along with what I thought....I'm a pretty even mix of both extroverted and introverted. 

Or, maybe I just have split personality.

That could explain a lot.


A family member just did IQ tests on the older three kids as part of her work/studies. It was very interesting.  Apparently, my kids are all gifted and I'm not challenging them enough. 
Sigh.  It's good to know I just need to figure out what I may need to change in our homeschooling.


Oh..and did you know I have Facebook Fan page?  Go like it if you're one of those people who like to follow blogs on Facebook.


by Robert Louis Stevenson

The rain is raining all around.
It falls on field and tree
It rains on the umbrellas here
And, on the ships at sea.

Just thought I would throw a little poetry up intellectual appeal of this blog.  
Plus, as I am writing this, the rain is pouring down.
Anyone want to guess what homeschool curriculum we are using for a certain kindergartner (who according to take number 4 should be in 1st grade or possibly 2nd)?


And, speaking of homeschool part of the kindy curriculum we've been reading this series. 

Which is absolutely charming...but dangnabit, I'm totally jealous of a fictional little boy in a story from the 1930's, because darn it. I've always wanted my own horse.

Now, that you've ready my boring takes, go see Jen for more. 
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