Friday, February 28, 2014

7 Ways Dealing with the Flu Made Me a Better Mom

It started last Monday night...10 days ago. First Greta came down with the flu, then Heidi, then John, then Ben, then me and finally Elsa.   Like a row of dominoes, we fell one by one.

Kinda like these guys. 

 I don't think I've ever had the flu before (well, maybe as a kid).  I will admit, I was a bit blasé about the whole thing.  Oh the flu, no big deal.  We can deal with it, We're fine. We don't need the flu shot.  And, I still think that. I don't regret not getting the flu shot. It's been tough being quarantined and dealing with illness but I've learned a lot from the experience and we've all come through it just fine.

And, in some ways, dealing with influenza has made me a better mom.

 (Disclaimer, I realize a lot of families have a much tougher time with illness like this than we do. I'm very thankful that we are all healthy and none of us have any chronic health issues that could make the flu particularly dangerous.  I realize that is not the case for everyone.  What is really nothing more than an inconvenience for us, could be extremely dangerous for others ).


I've had to slow down, way, way down.  Usually I'm rushing from one thing to the next....gotta do this, so I can do that, so I can do the next thing, so we can go there.   It was nice living at a slower pace for awhile, and not being so pressured to get stuff done.  It was even more relaxing not feeling the pressure to go anywhere....and hey.  We saved an entire week's worth of gas!


It was very relaxing letting go of standards and expectations and everyone going a bit crazy on Netflix.  Almost like a little mini-vacation.  There is something remarkably luxurious about watching movies in the middle of the day.....even if you do have a fever and chills. 


It helped me learn to be content staying home..with just us. I used to have an almost maniac desire to get out of the house and talk to other women.  Not that doing that is's a wonderful thing, but my desire and push to get it was so strong, sometimes to the detriment of family.  I'd drag my kids places they didn't want to go, just because I needed the social outlet.  And, again, that's not necessarily a bad thing, but being stuck in the house for ten days with barely any outside contact is a great way to learn family togetherness and grow closer to everyone else.   And, I learned that I really could survive that time...maybe even thrive during it. 


By the time I was really sick, the older kids were basically on the mend,  So, I've had to let them take over some of my regular cooking dinner.  And, that turned out to be a good thing.  My kids all love to cook, but I usually dread letting them do so, because when they cook the whole process takes three times as long and makes five times the mess.   So, it was somewhat painful having to sit on the sidelines and watch...but that is the only way they are going to learn. 


I can't yell. I just can't.  It hurts my that's forced me to practice slow, calm, even talking.  Which, I'm hoping to keep up, even when my vocal cords are back in top-notch condition.  Last year I gave up yelling for Lent., but since that time, I'm afraid I've back-slid quite a bit.  I'm really hoping to get back on the no-yelling band wagon. 


We got to practice caring and compassion.  The well members of the family spent a lot of time caring for the sick members....bringing them drinks, more blankets, pillows, cough drops.  Practice serving others is always a good thing. 


Unpleasant tasks make you stronger. When we are sick, we don't just around and convalesce. Oh no, no no.  I make sure we take ALL THE VITAMINS and DRINK ALL THE WEIRD HEALTH, HERBAL CONCOCTIONS and take ALL THE COD LIVER OIL.  For some odd reason, no one was too crazy about my homemade cough syrup consisting of honey, apple cider vinegar, ginger, onions and garlic.*  I can't imagine why. Sounds So everyone got to practice a bit of penance and  a lot of obedience when I forced this down their throat at regular intervals.

*It's really not that bad.  Really it's not. You just boil honey and vinegar with sliced ginger, garlic and onions.  Boil a long time until all the good stuff comes out of the herbs and then strain, let cool and take about 1 tablespoon at at time.  It really does help..and it honestly doesn't taste *that* bad. 

Bonus Benefit Nothing to Do with Motherhood.  Having the flu decreases your appetite which shrinks your stomach, which is a great way to kick-start practicing healthy portion control and all that.  Just sayin'.

(Linking up with Jen for 7 Quick Takes Friday). 
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Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Mysterious House Next Door

We live in a nice neighborhood, a safe neighborhood.  The kind of neighborhood where you have no qualms walking your dog after dark or letting the kids play outside at dusk.  The kind of neighborhood that has a community pool where membership is only $475 for the entire summer.  The kind of neighborhood that has no crime.  The kind of neighborhood where we are the biggest family (6 people), living in the smallest house (1200 square feet) on our street.  (Okay to be fair, we do have the smallest house, I can't say with 100% certainty we have the biggest family because we don't really know anyone else).   The kind of neighborhood where views like this are common. 

Everything is calm, everything is quiet, everything is peaceful.

Except for the house the next door.

The house next door is weird. 

Sure, the front looks normal enough. 

But, the back has this weird bunker looking structure coming out of it.

From what we understand it is owned by our landlords, but it's been vacant forever and no one lives there.

Except when people do.   

Except for those nights where we here voices right outside the bedroom window coming from the yard next door (totally true, cross my heart).

Or the times we see cars parked there....sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes for a few hours.  They come and go.  No one seems to live there, but people still visit?

Or that white truck, that goes up and down the driveway?

And, the random guys working there, but the house never looks to be in any better shape.

And, we can't forget that night a few weeks back where eight, (EIGHT!) fire trucks arrived in front of it....lights glaring...yet no fire was to be seen.

And, what about that rusty boat in the back yard?

But, I think the weirdest thing is the arrow.   Yes, the arrow.

Since there is a FENCE in this photo, I'm linking up with Cari for Theme-Thursday: Fences
Who keeps an arrow sign in their back yard?

What is going on there?

The arrow points towards secret meetings?

Some sort of underground railroad?

Just bad owners who can't get it together to fix it up and rent it, but still hold parties and keep junk there?

It's weird I tell you, weird, weird, weird.

(And....anyone want to donate towards our summer pool membership fund?)

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Happy 6th Birthday John (and a naming story)

Six years ago today, we welcomed out 3rd child and (so far) only son into the family!

Happy 6th Birthday John de la Croix Bentrup.

Yes, that is his real name.  He was named after St. John of the Cross, so we actually put the "of the cross" in his name (in French, no less).   We settled on his name very early in pregnancy.  From the very beginning, everyone was 100% convinced he was a boy. So, we never really considered girl names for him.  St. John of the Cross is Ben's favorite saint and shockingly I agreed to the name, I never imagined that I would have a child with the name John.  We wavered between John de la Croix and John de la Cruz, but ultimate decided to be tres chic and go with the French. 
None of my kid's names are anything I would have considered before becoming pregnant with them.  And, we have never "recycled" an unused name choice, our boy name choice for Heidi was Christopher Augustine and for Greta was Isaac.  Obviously John didn't end up with either of those names.  Apparently during pregnancy we forget about every other name we ever considered and start new.   

So, Happy Birthday John!  His birth and labor was by far the hardest and most grueling.   Yet, in many ways, he is my easiest child.  He is super smart, loves to do school (especially math and reading), loves to play chess and is very helpful, frequently going "above and beyond" by doing extra chores.  He tries hard to be good and is a doting big brother, very obedient and even though he is an active boy, he is never overly wild or rambunctious. 

Happy Birthday John!  We love you!

He wanted a cake with Oreo's on it.  Well, we used Gluten Free Joe Joe's.  Close enough!
And, the kids made this cake all by parental help at all. 
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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Big Purse Dump/ What's In Your Bag

Joining Kendra for The Big Purse Dump and Nell for What's In Your Bag.   What a perfect reason to clean out my purse, which hasn't been cleaned in at least 3 weeks  months.   The idea is that your dump out your purse, so everyone can see what you cart around all day.  Fun huh?

So, here is my purse, which is more of a diaper bag.   

Simple, basic, black.  It's not pretty or fancy, but or works well enough, and frankly I don't *carry* it much anywhere, I basically just go places and dump it (in the shopping cart, in the corner, on the pew, on a picnic bench..etc.).  So, I'm not that concerned with having a *pretty* purse.   

And, here is what is in it.

Let's take those things individually, shall we?

Ibuprofen type drug, which we rarely take, but I do carry it around for those occasional splitting headaches, where I just need something.

A broken rosary, but can still pray with it.

Wallet.  I think I've had the same one for like 10 years.

Keys...with library card.

Squished pipe cleaner craft that I think was a star at some point.  Or maybe a snowflake?

Yep, we're being totally real here folks.  Feminine hygiene products.  Which you might think odd, because I mentioned before that I use cloth.   And I do,  but those are in there because something unexpected arrived after being absent for 15 months while we were out of town at Christmas. See...told ya I haven't cleaned my purse in awhile.

For the same reasons, I still have these disposable diapers in there.  Normally, I use cloth, but these were in there from our trip, because I use sposies for travel.

A watch which needs a new battery and so currently doesn't work.  Why it is in there, I have no idea.

Two nursing covers.  You might be thinking that I am a study in contrasts because I posted awhile back about why I nurse in public without a cover.   Someone gave me those when I had Elsa, and I do find them useful with certain outfits or shirts.  Any shirt of outfit where nursing access is easier up over the top, instead of by lifting up my shirt, I use a cover, because there is really no way to nurse modestly without a cover if you are pulling your breast up over the top of your shirt.  But, these let me actually wear my one dress. Actually I have two dresses now, I just got another one for my brother's upcoming wedding.  Yay!! And, no doubt future 20-month old Elsa will still be nursing quite a bit at the wedding.

Spare outfit for Elsa.

Pair of baby leg warmers, so those precious little legs don't get cold when her pants ride up when you carry her.

Blurry picture of a St. Bernadette Medal that was blessed by Pope Francis.  It was given to us by a friend in Naples, whose husband had been to Rome.

Broken down card holder thinking containing our insurance cards...many of which are expired or no longer active, but for some odd reason they are still in there.

One baby bootie which is way too small for any member of this household.  And, it's just one anyway. You figure it out.

Somewhat crushed bottle of Holy Water.  Because you just never know when you might need it.

Cloth diaper...see...I really do use cloth.

Old pack of dried out baby wipes.

Wet bag for dirty cloth diapers that still has one dirty diaper in from who knows how long?

Another wet bag for cloth diapers.  Why I have two, I don't know?

Appointment card for the dentist, which I"m not going to keep, because I don't like this dentist.  Need to call and cancel it.

Deodorant.  And, yes, I actually do make my own at home (just mix coconut oil and baking soda) but I keep a commercial kind in my bag, just in case we need some while on the go.

Flyer for the Knights of Columbus Valentine's Day Party, which was fun, because the adults had dinner and dancing and the kids were in a separate room with bounce houses and treats and all that...all for a very affordable price.  Too bad, all the kids came down with the flu afterwards.  And then the adults got it.  And, we are still recovering.  I guess that is what happens when you throw a bunch of kids together in a small room with bounce houses and lots of sugar in the middle of February.

Random, broken zipper.

Cardboard box from previously mentioned ibuprofen.  Note that the bottle is not IN the box and this is just an empty box.

 A measly 50 cents.

Notice what is missing.  A pen! I can NEVER find a pen when I need one.  Never, ever, ever, ever, ever.  That is because apparently all the pens in this house go into the polar vortex of pens, never, ever, ever, ever to be seen again.  I've been know to write checks in marker or crayon.  No joke.   I can buy pens in spades, get pens in spades, have pens in spades and they ALL dissapear...every single last one.

My mom used to tie a pen to her purse (she actually probably still does). I always thought that was super dorky and embarssing, but now I can see the value of it.

Okay..and I just saw the Kenda has catergories to answer questions.  So, I guess I should be a good link-upper and answer them.

  • It's my favorite thing in here: The Blessed St. Bernadette Medal. 
  • Wow, I really have a lot of these:. I guess the feminine hygiene products are the only thing I really have a lot of.   Either that or the dimes...I have five of each.  But, five dimes is a pitiful amount of money. 
  • I've been looking for those: Nothing, my house and my life may be messy, but I know where everything is...most of the time. 
  • Huh. THAT shouldn't be in there: Probably the crushed pipe cleaner craft. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Discipline without (a lot) of punishment

Recently, Jenna at Call her Happy asked a question about discipline and Kendra posted her thoughts on discipline.   I really appreciated both of those posts and Kendra's post has a lot of good points, all about creating a family culture and how to love your kids and like them too.   You should read it.

But, of course I can't let the subject of discipline come up without posting my own thoughts, because I find the topic incredibly interesting.  So, you all get this post, instead of the one I was going to do about my changing thoughts on homebirth. I'll save that one for another day, so now you have something to eagerly anticipate reading.

The goal of discipline: Kendra posted about her goal of discipline is to train her kids in what is right and to make them pleasant and happy to be around  That is a great goal, and I definitely agree with it, however I also want to add something a bit more long-term.  My goal is to get my kids into heaven and give them the best chance of chance of growing up and choosing to be good, holy, practicing Catholics.  I'm not *as* concerned with the immediate here and now, although, I want my kids to be pleasant (and they are) and to enjoy being around them (and I do), but the future is more important than the present, because their soul is at stake.  My next goal is to have a good relationship with my future-adult children, because I feel like my relationship with them as adults is just as important as my relationship with them as kids. 

Yes, adults have free will and will choose right from wrong, but I do believe that parenting does play some role. Of course there are no guarantees, and the most perfect parents could raise kids that end up in jail but I do think parenting matters.

I once read that people will view God the way they viewed their father. If the father is absent or cold or harsh or overly strict they will view God that way.  If the father is patient and loving and kind, that is how they will view God.  I think as Catholic parents, we can either drive our children closer to God or further away, depending on how they view their family and home life.  Yes, there is still free will involved and this isn't meant to "blame" anyone who has adult children that have strayed.  Ultimately, our children are their own people and will make their own choices. However, my goal as a parent is to help them make the right choices...not just now, as a child who is under my control, but also when they are adults, and no longer under my control. 

How I was raised:  I was basically raised without a lot of punishment.  I can't ever remember being put into time-out or spanked or grounded or losing privileges or anything like that.  Yet, we were basically good kids.  We weren't wild.  None of us rebelled during the teenage years.  We all got good grades in school....and 3/5 of us graduated in the top 3 our medium-sized high school.  Of my parent's five children, four of us are practicing Catholics as adults (one is even a nun).  So, I think that is a pretty good track record, considering how many people of my generation leave the Catholic church in droves.   And, all five of us have a good relationship with my parents. 

My parents were basically attachment parenters before it was cool.  We were breastfeed until age 2.5-3 and we weren't left to cry it out.   When I lied about being sick in the second grade so I could stay home from school, instead of being punished for lying, I was asked why I so badly didn't want to go to school on Wednesdays (it was the mean lunch ladies). Despite the lack of punishment for that infraction, I did not turn into a pathological liar, I promise.

Yet, my parents did have rules and routines we had to follow.  We weren't allowed free range of the TV...only allowed to watch educational PBS after school and Saturday morning cartoons. We weren't allowed to eat ice cream whenever we wanted.  We were allowed to wear want we wanted as long as it met certain (loose) modesty standards.  We always went to Mass on Sunday and Confession, monthly.  We were expected to do our homework, and we did.  We basically *wanted* to be obedient and good and please them.  Sure, we fought and bickered at got yelled at (but my family is Italian so yelling and arguing is part of our blood :)). 

From the I'm not yelling...I'm Italian...that's how we talk page. 

Off and on my parents would try this system of fining us for infractions, but that was basically dumb and wasn't much of a punishment.

We were taught right from wrong.  We were taught about God and love and somehow we just wanted to please God and our parents and generally be good.   Maybe it was just our personalities.  My parents were super strict in some respects (like when it comes to attending Mass), but not in a we'll punish you if you fight this but rather in a this is what we do way.  The same thing applied to TV and dress and school. We didn't wear certain clothes (like bikinis) and we didn't watch certain shows.   I guess it was part of creating a family culture, like Kendra talks about, although I never thought about it in those terms.  We just did and didn't do certain things because that is what our family does. 

How we parent is basically the same way as how my parents raised me. It worked for me (and most of my siblings) and so far, it's working for my kids.  My kids generally listen, are pleasant to be around, and are fun and creative.  Now, Elsa (17 months) is not always fun to be around, sometimes she is a downright handful, but she is getting better as she gets older. She is (slowly) starting to talk and learning how to communicate better and that is making her a LOT easier to deal with.  Even in her young age, I see a desire to please us, just because she loves us.  

Sure, my kids have had a few minor temper tantrums as toddlers, but nothing epic (we always hold/comfort them through it, which helps).  I can't say that I've ever had a kid throw themselves on the floor, kicking and screaming in the middle of Target.  My kids don't ask for stuff in the store, because they know we won't buy it, or if they ask, they easily accept "no."

We do lots of reminding kids of expectations before we go someplace and usually a stern look or whispered reminder is all we need to keep them in line. 

We have certain routines and expectations built into our day, but we give freedom within boundaries.  Our kids have to do their schoolwork, but they can do it in whatever order they choose.  They (the older 3) are responsible for picking up the entire house, sweeping and clearing/wiping the table every evening, but they frequently negotiate who does what chore.  They have to do these things, before they watch something on Netflix, and there have been times they didn't get their chores done, so they weren't allowed to watch that night before bedtime.

We have certain things which we are strict about (bedtime is at 9:00, no watching without permission) and certain things we are lax about (like eating).

We use natural/logical consequences (as in, you have to do x, before you can do y) but not a lot of punishments (we rarely use time-out, and don't spank or remove privileges unrelated to the infraction).  We do a lot of talking about things and tend to err more on the side of mercy, rather than justice (as my parents did with me- the 2nd grade liar). We will use natural consequences and occasionally logical consequences, but even those we don't use that much.  For the most part, our kids DO listen and obey. 

I once heard someone share a story of unjust punishment.  This person was spanked and punished for disrespect because their mother thought the person was sticking their tongue out in a show of disrespect, but really they were just licking their dry lips.  This obviously made a strong, negative impression on this person. (For what it's worth, the adult children in that family do not all have a good relationship with their mother).  I feel like that kind of thing can very damaging to the parent/child relationship.  We strive to teach our children right from wrong (and when it comes to disrespect, simply telling my children that something is disrespectful and against the 4th Commandment is enough to get them to stop and repent.  They want to be good, and strive  to be good, so usually all it takes is telling them something is wrong for them to shape up. 

I believe it was the Popcaks who said that they strive the discipline the way the Church disciplines us.  When I go to Confession, my penance is in some way meant to bring me closer to God and others.  It usually involves prayer and sometimes doing something for another.  I've never been told to whip myself with a rope or sprinkle ashes on my food of anything else completely unrelated to the infraction.  Rather, I've been told to pray and help others....things meant to draw me closer to God and to others.  Likewise, when my kids sin or do something wrong, we talk to talk to them to try to bring them closer to us, to each other and to God.  If they fight, sometimes we have them do something nice for their sibling, but usually they do that all on their own. 

I tend to look as discipline as being about freedom within boundaries.  We draw boundaries, but give them freedom within those boundaries (ie. they have to do school, but can choose the order.  They have to clean up, but can choose who does what) and we have certain things part of our family culture that everyone does without complaint because it is just what we do (Sunday Mass, praying, being dressed all the time (we don't let our kids run around naked), not watching Netflix without asking and they just do it because everyone (in our family) does it.  

Obviously, this is easier if you have more kids.  It was only my oldest that I ever had a problem with kicking and screaming when it was time to leave someplace fun.  By the time, my 2nd was old enough to do that, my oldest was old enough to obey and understand and my 2nd and 3rd children have fallen in line, just like ducks in a row. 

Now, maybe I just have good kids who are naturally people-pleasers.  That is very possible, but we haven't really had major discipline problems (so far) and my kids are generally pleasant and fun to be around.  Although one of my children is very strong-willed.   She says things like, "I don't like be told what to do."   When she says that we emphasize with her, becaues really I don't like to be told what to do either.  Some parenting experts say that you have to "break" the will, you have "train" them to obey.  But, really a strong will is a great advantage in this world.  Many of the saints had very strong wills, joining religious orders against their parent's wishes.  In fact, it takes a strong will to be couter cultural and I think strong-willed children are going to be rebels.  The question is....what are they going to rebel against...are they going to rebel against their family and Catholic upbringing?  Or, are they going to rebel against the world, against a society that says sleeping around is good and abortion is okay? My dad always jokes that when we was a teenager in the 60's, he was a rebel.  While everyone else was listening to Rock N Roll, he was listening to Tchaikovsky.   Really, that is the kind of rebels I want my kids to be, the kind that listen to Tchaikovsky, the kind that don't sleep with their boyfriend, the kind that goes against the world to follow Christ.    So, I don't think you want to break the will, I think you want to channel the will into standing up against what is wrong and choosing what is right.

This is what we do, and so far it's working.  I thought I would share, because I love reading about discipline and parenting and philosophy.  There is this push to say that parenting doesn't matter.  But, I think it DOES.  I think it IS important to discuss and talk about these things.  Not to say that a certain philosophy  is the right way or the wrong way because when it really comes down to it, I think it is the intangibles that matter most.  The parent/child relationship....if the child feels loved and accepted and respected and understood and that is something that can't really be defined by a philosophy.  I think people who use more punishments can be wonderful parents if they show their kids love and acceptance, and I think people who practice more "gentle discipline" could be terrible parents if they neglect to teach their kids right from wrong or to provide any boundaries. 

So, really I think that more important than a specific disciplinary method is the day in day out relationship and interaction a parent has with a child.   Apparently, I'm not the only one.  Although,  there are no guarantees that parenting a certain way will produce a certain result, I do think parenting matters.  

Sunday, February 23, 2014

7 Posts in 7 days and Chesterton

Sorry guys, no What I Wore Sunday post this week.  I have fallen victim to the plague  the flu so what I am wearing is not picture worthy.   If you want an update on illness in our home...mommy and daddy are sick.  The older kids are much better...just lingering coughs/sniffles and Elsa has still managed to dodge the whole thing.  Greta had it worst, but she is doing much better today.  Ben and I are doing okay...we're not nearly as bad as the kids were, probably because we've been downing garlic like our house is surrounded by vampires.  Who needs Tamifu when you can eat garlic?

Just to warn you, I'm going to be writing 7 Posts in 7 Days...or at least attempting some such nonsense.   Monday, February 24th-Sunday March 2nd. 

Just a little something for you to look forward to on this last week of Febrary. 

And, finally, I shall leave you with your weekly Chesterton quote. 

Anyone want to take a gander at what that means in the comments, please feel free to do so.  In my feverish state, I'm unable to come up with any coherent thoughts on it.   So, go see Sarah for more Chesterton. 

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Tales from the Convalescent Home

It all started innocently these things are apt to do.  On Monday night at dinner, Greta mentioned that she "had a headache" and "my back hurts" and she didn't eat much.   Granted, I was having another go at a gluten-free pizza crust (that no one liked but me) so the not eating much wasn't that unusual. 

She woke up Tuesday morning feeling hot and sick...headache, wobbly legs. I took her temperature. 102.8...UNDER THE ARM.  Everyone knows that really means her temperature is more like 103. 8.

Naturally I freak out and run to my trusty laptop and consult Dr. Google.   Over the course of he morning I managed to diagnosis her with meningitis, scarlet fever, fifth's disease, yellow fever, brucellosis and dengue fever.  Okay...even I'm sane enough to know that yellow fever and dengue fever were highly unlikely seeing as how you only get those in like Africa or something. 
By the afternoon her fever was up to 104.  ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR, UNDER THE ARM.   That's really like 105.
Cue frantic call to pediatrician, who is great and reassured me that it was probably just the flu and not meningitis or yellow fever.  She gave me a lecture on making sure she gets plenty of fluids and not to give any medicine unless absolutely necessary...better to just let the fever run its course. I love our pediatrician...she totally jives with my medicine-hating ways. Okay...I don't hate all medicine, but I do try to avoid it if possible.

Cue frantic run to store to buy "fluids" that will be acceptable to sick children. Namely....soda and Popsicle...two things I NEVER buy unless sick.  But for some reasons, sickness and soda go together in my mind.  And, I did get the healthier, all-fruit Popsicles...if that makes you feel better. 
Meanwhile, Heidi started to feel sick....headache, fever (much lower) and even some vomiting.   Cue day spent on couch doing school via Netflix (she loved watching Drive Thru History)
On Wednesday, John fell...hard.... fever, lots of lying around and throwing up.  Thursday was pretty much spent with him lying on the couch and occasionally throwing up.
Wrong seasons, right visual. 
  However, by Thursday, Heidi and Greta were doing much better and much to their delight, got to do school again.  John is a slightly better today, but still not quite in the land of the healthy.

By some miracle, Elsa has escaped this illness so far. Yes, I consider that to be a bona fide miracle, because heaven knows, she has been EXPOSED.   Mommy and daddy have also escaped and they have been tripled exposed.  Thank goodness for Vitamins D and C.

Bonus Take:  Because I know you are all wondering.  No, we did not get the flu vaccine this year.  None of us.  We never get it. No, I do not regret not getting it. No, I'm not planning on getting it next year. Fortunately, (so far, knock on wood) we are generally fairly healthy and usually weather basic illness like the flu just fine.  The worst part is just staying home for a week, which isn't really all that bad after all.   After all, it gave me the opportunity to unpack my dishes.

Now, go see Jen for healthier takes. 

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Thursday, February 20, 2014


So, when you've been quarantined in the house for 4 days straight due to the flu and you can't even do school because your school-age children are lying around on the couch, you tend to do crazy things.  Like unpack boxes you've neglected to unpack for the last 6 months.  It's crazy because we'll probably be moving in another six months, but what the heck. 

So, I came upon this box of my old 4-H Favorite food show dishes. 

So, naturally, I had to set up a place setting, just to see what dishes were actually in the box. 

First I had to look up the directions from the 4-H manual. Don't you just love that old-fashioned typing.

Then, I had to explain to inquisitive children how there is a different between our normal setting of the table (haphazardly throwing dishes on it) actually setting the table.   It was quite a difficult concept for them to grasp...this idea of there being a proper way to set a set a table.  Honestly, I don't quite get it myself...but whatever. 

This is not the proper way, as we are missing a drinking glass and the forks don't match and the place mat is wrinkled. 

Clearly, my teaching is sorely lacking in this regard and my children are doomed to lives of unsocialized homeschoolers who don't know how to set a table. 

Of course, this may be the reason why we don't have a properly set table.  Hard to eat when you have to keep your table setting at least 12 inches from the edge of the table.

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