Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How to Be a Miserable Person and Ruin Family Relationships This Thankgsiving in THREE Easy Steps

Thanksgiving is coming.  The time of year when families get together, gluttony is practiced and tempers flair.

Do you hate happy family gatherings?  

Do you WANT to have strained relationships with your relatives?

Does nothing infuriate you more than people that get along?

Well..I have the solution for YOU. 

Here is how YOU TOO can have strained family relations and make everyone else miserable this Thanksgiving and Christmas and the WHOLE COMING YEAR.

Step One: Take Offense At EVERYTHING. 

Step Two: Hold Grudges Like Forever.

Step Three: See Judgement Everywhere.

A Family Member Near or Far Didn't Wish You Happy Birthday 5 Months Ago.  Definitely take offense and hold that against them.

You aren't able to breastfeed, but your sister/cousin nurses her baby everywhere. Clearly she is just doing it AT you to show how superior she is.  Take offense and hold a grudge.

Uncle Lorenzo mentions how much he loves Politician Corrrupto.   Clearly he is just saying that because he knows how much you HATE Politician Corrupto.  Take offense and hold a grudge.

Five years ago your cousin said something that hurt your feelings.  DEFINITELY hold it against them..for at least the next five years.

You didn't get a Christmas card last year from your brother-in-law-in-law-in-law.  That is for sure a slight...hold it against them!

Three years ago your niece called you to wish you happy birthday but their spouse couldn't talk to you because they were on the way out the door to someplace that they should have left 10 minutes ago.  DEFINITELY take offense and hold it against them for the next three years...if not five. 

Your fifth cousin 27 times removed posted something on Facebook which you vehemently disagree with.  Clearly you should NEVER talk to them again.  Never, ever, ever, ever. 

You sister parents differently from you. Clearly that means you can NEVER get along Those wild hellions are allowed to NOT finish their plate..and every time that happens a butterfly in China dies.  So, just avoid them until she comes around to your way of thinking.   

And BE SURE to incite the mommy-wars by being POSITIVE that your natural-birthing, breastfeeding, organic-food eating, attachment-parenting sister is DEFINTIELY judging you for your different choices. Definitely!!

Oh...and if someone has a different religion than you.  They probably hate just go ahead and hate them first. Totally!!


Or you can do none of these things and have a Happy Thanksgiving.  Your choice.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Reflections on Turning 37

I'm 37 years old today and I'm not the young mom any more. Actually I haven't been for several years.  It's weird.  In many ways I still think of myself as young...but I'm not.  I'm 37. 

I got married when I was 23 and had Heidi when I was 24.  For most of my early years of motherhood, I was one of the youngest moms I knew. Everyone I knew seemed to be older than me...much older.  Especially when we lived in Rhode Island, where it seems as though almost no one has kids before they turn 30.  

Then a few years ago that changed.  Actually it started to change around the time we moved to Florida so Ben could go to Ave Maria Law.  I was 32 at the time and suddenly I started meeting all these moms that were still in their 20's.   And, I felt old. 

And, now a lot of moms I know are actually younger than me and have more kids than me.

Heck....babies born the year I graduated from high school are now in college and old enough to vote.  Weird.

It feels strange being closer to 40 than 30 or 20.    

It feels strange knowing that my childbearing years are rapidly coming to a close. I read all these blogs from younger moms worrying about NFP and how many kids they will have with their many years of fertility left. 

And I just can't relate. I probably will only be able to have one more baby...maybe two, but that may be being overly hopeful. Yes..I know some people have babies after age 40.  But, I'm not some people. I wasn't all that fertile in my 20's so I sorta doubt it's going to improve when I'm 40. I've never managed to get pregnant with a viable baby before the youngest is age 2. Thank you breastfeeding!

So, I'm 37.  I'm close to 40. It sounds old..but I don't feel that old. I probably have more energy now than I did in my 20's. Or maybe I just know how to be more efficient with my energy now.

I've finally figured out how to cook well, how to throw ingredients together and come up with something edible and healthy. 

I've figured out how I like to dress and how I like my hair.  I've figured out how to parent and I no longer feel guilty that I'm too lenient or not consistent enough because my kids are turning out better than okay. I can write a decent blog (I think) and I can cure the common cold. 

I'm more confident in my parenting and in my choices.

Overall, I think I'm doing okay.  I may not own a house or a dog or a horse (the only things I ever really wanted) but that's okay.  I haven't given up my horse/dog dream yet, and I do have four great kids and a husband who loves me despite my numerous short-comings. Plus, I have  6-toed cat. Not everyone owns a polydactyl feline.  

And, I take pictures of what I wore every Sunday.  Why? I don't know.   But I like it. So here's what I wore today and if you want to see more outfits, visit Fine Linen and Purple. 

And, Happy Feast of Christ the King!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Good News, Bad News in 7 Quick takes

Let's play Good News/Bad News in 7 Quick Takes.


Good News: Heidi is doing much better. 

Bad News: She's still having some back pain so she had an MRI done this morning.  And, now Greta, John and Elsa have a cold/flu thing.


Good News: Ben had a lawyer job interview yesterday and he says it went well.

Bad News: The job is 2 hours aways and of course we don't know if he got it or not. Uncertainly is hard.


Good News: Our heater got fixed on Thursday. 

Bad News: It stopped working on Monday night/Tuesday AM so we were without heat for TWO WHOLE DAYS.  And there was SNOW on the ground outside the whole time.  SNOW!!


Good News: We found A WHOLE BUNCH of missing library books . A WHOLE BUNCH.

Bad News: We found them in the process of searching for a missing science textbook.  A big, big, thick textbook that is hard to lose mind you. 


Good News: We found the science book.

Bad News: But not before I had already ordered a new one and it was shipped.  Oh well, I'm pretty sure I can sell the extra and get back what I paid.  


Good News: Heidi got new glasses.

Bad News: She already lost them.


Good News: We found them.

Bad News: Let's end on a good news!

Today 7 Quick Takes are hosted at Kelly's Not the Lyceum Place

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Book Review: A Subtle Grace by Ellen Gable

Product Details

Disclaimer: I was contacted by the authoress, Ellen Gable, and provided this book for review.  However all the opinions contained within are my own. 

A Subtle Grace starts out with a riveting birthing scene. I always love a good birthing scene in books and this one does not disappoint. So that right there grabbed my attention and drew me into the story. 

This book tells the story of the O'Donovans, a wealthy Philadelphia family in 1896. While hhistorical novels generally aren't my thing, I really enjoyed this one. 

On the surface, it appears as though this book is Christian romance.  However, it really isn't a romantic book and it deals with a lot of very heavy issues...rape, prostitution, illegitimacy, infant death and tragic childhood accident. While the story lines are riveting at times, it almost feels like too many tragic incidents and heavy issues for just one book. 

Nonetheless, I found this book to be rather engaging and hard to put down.  The characters are charming (if just a little too perfect at times....well except for the wicked one, who is just a bit too wicked) and rather likeable.  I found myself wishing that I could actually meet these people, or at least be more like them.

It was inspiring watching the characters grow and develop and see how they evolved, both spiritually and emotionally throughout the book. 

Plus, the O'Donovan family is really into chess...and we are too around here.  So, that's cool. 

Overall, I highly recommend this book.  Due to some of the adult topics mentioned, I probably wouldn't recommend it for young teens, but it's something that older teens, young adults and even middle-aged moms (like me) could really enjoy.  

The book actually is #2 in a series (here is #1) but I had no problems reading it as a stand-alone book, having never read Book #1. Nonetheless, now I'm jonesing to read Book #1 as I really enjoyed this one.   

You should read it, I think you'll enjoy it too!
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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Day In My Life... Friday, Saturday and What I Wore Sunday

I'm linking up with Kathryn for Day In My Life 2014 posts.   This is going to be a weekend mish-mash...Friday, Saturday and Sunday all in one. 

Friday was sorta a low-key day.  We stayed home and did school all day.  The best part was that Heidi got an A on her quarterly science exam. Studying pays off! 
  Thankfully no doctor appointments at all!.  

Then we had to rush through clean-up and dinner and all that to get ready to take the girls to their big play performance of "Sunday School Musical"  They both did great and Heidi even sang a duet.   It was fun and now I have those songs perpetually stuck in my head.

Saturday we spent the day at my parent's house.  They live one block away from a Franciscan friary which has lots of youth ministry for the afternoon the three older ones went to their children's group and in the evening Heidi went to youth group.  A good time and good catechises was had by all.   I made a minuscule amount of money doing work for my mom and my mom made us a delicious salmon dinner.  So, over all it was a good day.

On Saturday I also washed and put away (put away simply means shoved in a bin) the last of the cloth diapers.  Elsa is full-time in panties now!  Yay Elsa!  Well..except for at night, but I use sposies at night.

And What I Wore Sunday is back.  I haven't linked up in awhile because the hosting blog, Fine Linen and Purple hadn't been putting the link-up regularly and I hate irregularity with blogs that I link with.  

But I missed taking pictures and having that impetus to dress up for Mass. 

So, it's back!  It was snowing (slightly) when I took this picture. 

Also today..we went to Mass (obviously) and I went grocery shopping and worked on mowing over some of those leaves in our yard.  Because we don't rake..we mow.  I know, I of rest and all.  But I actually find grocery shopping and mowing grass/leaves to be restful.   Especially the mowing grass/leaves part. And, I would have worked out anyway, so that was my workout. I'm crazy like that, but I really do enjoy being outside working in cold weather (I hate it when it's hot, but love it when it's cold and brisk).

So...that concludes a week in my life.  I hope you all have a great week!
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Friday, November 14, 2014

Non-Typical Day in the Life - Thursday With Pictures

Thursday - another completely non-typical day.

For one thing, it snowed (a little). In November. Before Thanksgiving.  I can't really remember it ever snowing before Thanksgiving.

Of course, my crazy kids like to run around outside barefoot in the snow.  Being barefoot in the snow is like a thing for them. Like some people want to climb Mt. Everest or run a kids want to walk around outside barefoot in the snow (without a coat).

So they do.  Briefly..before getting too cold and going in. 

But. I'm getting ahead of myself. The morning began with the discovery that Greta's arm/leg rash that I was pretty sure was an allergic reaction to Sulfa antibiotics spread over her whole body..even her face.  So, I broke down, went to the store, got Benadryl and gave it to her. No doubt that bottle of Benadryl will languish in the medicine cabinet until it expires.
Just one dose and just to see if it would actually clear up the rash.  Which it didn' I called the doctor and we got an appointment for that afternoon. 

Then I worked out, we did school and I took Heidi to her first doctor appointment of the day....the eye doctor.  Where we discovered that she needs glasses, her left eye is considerably worse than her right eye. Which is actually good...because the huge discrepancy between the two eyes could account for the frequent headaches she has been getting, so we're really, really, really, really hoping that getting glasses will lesson those headaches. 

Then home for lunch, quick nap for Elsa and then take Greta to the doctor for her rash...where we discovered that it was in fact an allergic reaction to Sulfa antibiotic and not Measles or Ebola or some other terrible disease. 

The home again..throw soup in the crockpot (with homemade broth) for dinner and go to the THIRD doctor appointment of the day..this time for Heidi to the chiropractor. We'll see if it helps, although her pain was slightly less today so I think it may be helping at least some.  

The home for dinner.  Look, I took a picture.  Doesn't it look HEALTHY (and good!)

Yep...chicken noodle soup and raw spinach for dinner. Actually, raw plain spinach is pretty good.  We just sorta munch on rabbits.  It's really not too bad and the kids sorta like it. 

Then Heidi and Greta had the dress rehearsal for the play they are in through our coop. The play is called Sunday School Musical. Cute huh?  I guess that is a play off of High School Musical (which I never saw). 

Today's funny story...I've been noticing the last few days that our house has been really warm...even though it's been really cold outside.  Like, I've had to take off my sweater warm. I thought I was having hot flashes or something.  Then I looked at the thermostat and noticed it was set at 72 instead of 64.  Duh.  The culprit is probably the short one in the picture below. 

 Now, we're freezing again. 
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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Day in the Life Wednesday - In Which I Return to My Alternative Health Lifestyle

Today was a better day than Tuesday. The kids have started attending a coop of sorts at a friend's house.  Although for me, it's not a coop..I'm not teaching so I just drop my kids off. 

Three hours of sorta free time.  Golden!

Heidi didn't feel well enough to go, so she stayed home, but I took Greta and John over. Got there only 15 minutes late and I managed to even fit a short workout in before we left (which is why we were 15 minutes late).

Then I went to my parents house with Elsa where I did some work on the CFP Holy Angels Gift shop..adding used books to the website.  They pay me so well that I made a whopping $12 for 1.5 hours work (sarcasm intended).

Then back to pick up Greta and John and home again.  Where, Heidi was feeling much better...more energy, no fever...she still had a sore throat, but she was definitely much better.

Still spent the day shoving all my herbal remedies and vitamins down her throat.  She loves that (more sarcasm).  There may have been a few bribes involved...yes even at age 12. 

Throw a chicken in the oven for roast chicken for dinner.  So, now we will have chicken broth to make soup.

Then did a bit a school this afternoon and off to doctor appointment #3 this week..this time taking Heidi to the chiropractor.  This was her first visit.  He definitely did something to her...not sure if it helped, but I think it did. 

Back home for dinner...then took Greta and John to choir practice at church where they are practicing for the Christmas play.  Got to chat with a mom friend so that's always fun!

Then back home where Greta shows me an itchy rash she developed on her arms/legs. Ugh...more medical problems.  Determined that it is probably an allergic reaction to the Sulpha drug she is taking for an infected toe.

Call doctor.  He tells me to give her Benadryl and see if the rash gets better, goes away or gets worse.

Now, I have a dilemma because we don't have Benadryl.  Do I go out and buy it or ignore the doctor's advice.  I know, I should always have Benadryl on hand.  Except that in 12 years of parenting I have never ONCE given my kids Benadryl and I used to keep medicine like that on hand until one day I went through our medicine cabinet and purged a bunch of bottles of unopened, long, long, longer expired children's medicines and just never replaced them.  And I'm loathe to buy a bottle of medicine which likely just languish in my medicine cabinet before expiring and being purged into the trash.  

Greta said the itching stopped so I decided to forgo the medicine.  And the antibiotic.  

I'm going back to my natural health, essential oil, alternative medicine loving ways. 

Instead I give her Allibiotic, soak her toe and pour Melaleuca oil on it.  

Elsa nursed to sleep in about 10 minutes (yes, I still nurse my 2-year old to sleep). I'm sure she'll outgrow it soon. Very, very sure.

Ben asks me to watch an Alfred Hitchcock remake with him, but I start to fall asleep in the first 5 minutes. to bed I go, where instead of sleeping I write this blog post.  Movies put me to sleep..blogging does not.   

And that was Wednesday.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Day in the Life- Tuesday

I'm linking up (most) every day this week with Kathryn for a week in my life. 

Let's see.  Heidi was rather sick today..she seems to have come down with a major cold thing.  Sore throat, fever, fatigue...lots of lying around. She spent most of the day on the couch....although she still managed to do some school in the morning. On top of her other back/leg/headache issues, it wasn't a very good day.

Doctor's Appointment #2 of the week was for John. He had his 6-year check-up (at closer to age 7).  So, he's healthy EXCEPT he showed some hearing loss in his right ear.  Which is perplexing because he has never suffered from ear infections.  So...guess he has to go to the audiologist.   

I want my healthy family back!!

Other highlights of Tuesday:

-I discovered that our insurance DOES cover chiropractic care and that it is self-referral so I made an appointment for Heidi for Wednesday. I'm not sure how I feel about chiropractors.  I've visited one before, but I wouldn't say that it really helped. Still, it's worth a try.  

-Elsa wore panties all day and only 1 accident!

-Elsa took a long nap.

-Despite the doctor's appointment, both Greta and John finished all their school.

- Greta and John went to the local Tuesday night chess tournaments that Ben runs and Greta won all 3 games.  John won one, drew one and then lost to Greta.  

-I made "healthy cookies" and John suggested that he would like "junky cookies" better.  

-I ran to Kroger to pick up soup for Heidi and found all natural, gluten-free/dairy free vegetable soups on major sale.  So, I bought 10 of them.  Normally, I make soup, but I didn't have any chicken we'll have to rectify that soon.

Especially since "Your soup is better, Mom" (direct quote).  Always good when MY soup is better than the processed stuff (although this stuff is pretty non-processed as far as processed food goes). Nothing bad in it.

Wow, this post is sorta boring.  I need to take more pictures.  Maybe tomorrow (today). I don't have a smartphone so pictures are kinda a pain for me. 

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A hopefully non-typical week in my life...2014 - Monday

I'm linking up with Team Whitaker for A Week in my Life, 2014.  The idea is that each day you somehow document what you did on that day.

Let me start off by saying that I really, really, really, really, really, really hope this week does NOT become a typical week in my life.  Really.

So far, we've already got 3 doctor's appointments and probably an MRI scheduled for this week.  REALLY hoping this is NOT typical. Really.  I miss our old, everyones healthy, avoid-doctors life.  

I've found myself to be a member of the club I most emphatically did NOT want to be in.  The "parent of a child with a mysterious illness club."    The child with the mysterious illness is Heidi (age 12) and her baffling symptoms include things like back pain, leg pain, knee pain, headaches, fatigue.   It is pretty scary not knowing what is wrong and if it's anything treatable.

Not to mention that while Ben is working as a substitute teacher, he really needs a real job.  So, that is just adding to the overall stress. 

Probably not a week I'm going to want to repeat anytime soon.
So Monday.

Started out typical enough..woke up, work out, take shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, do school.

Then we went to our coop where the K-1 class put on a small play.  John had the most extremely minor role in the whole play..but that is okay, because we never imagined he had a future on Broadway anyway.

Moving on..went home after coop, took Heidi to the doctor.  Then took her to the hospital for lab work.  Promised ice cream as needles are scary.  Oh, but forgot that we are trying her on a strict dairy/gluten free diet in hopes of reducing inflammation. 

Oh..I should probably also mention that Elsa just recently gave up I was a bit nervous during all this coop, doctor's appointment, hospital labwork running around thing.  But she did least not until we got home. 

So, get home at 5:40.  Made dinner.   About to do out to get dairy-free ice cream when I decided instead of try making it at home using frozen banana, coconut milk, vanilla and palm sugar in the food processor.  It made more of a milk shake than ice cream, but was it was still good. 

Elsa took no nap today, so she nursed and fell asleep before 7:00 PM.  Yay....for everyone else. 

Me?  I was going out out anyway.  Monday is my women's group at church. So...go to that...get there late (as usual)...stay too late and get home around 10:30. 

And, that's it.

Lucky you..tomorrow morning you'll get to read all about today.   Maybe I'll even have pictures for that one.     
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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

5 Kitchen Secrets

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  A lot!  However, our kitchen is small and terrible and I pretty much hate it, so spending a lot of time there isn't fun. I dream of having a big, open kitchen with LOTS of counter space. However, in the meantime, I just do my best to save time, while not sacrificing health or taste. 

Here are my five favorite time-saving tricks. 

1. Peel garlic and onions super fast!!

This video is about peeling garlic, but it works just as well for onions too. 

2. Make chicken stock overnight while you sleep!

This is so easy you don't even need a video. Just put the chicken carcass in your crockpot, cover with water, add a few tablespoons of vinegar and cook on low all night long.  And even the next day.  You can keep it in the crockpot as long as you like, until you feel like dealing with it.  Could not get easier and you never have to worry about it.  

3.  Make most any vegetable delicious, guaranteed!!

That's right, most ANY vegetable can be made totally delicious by roasting.  Lettuce, cucumbers and radishes are the exception. Anything else can be be made absolutely scrumptious by roasting...broccoli, winter squash, kale, collards, turnip greens, red beets, Brussels sprouts, carrots, zucchini, green name it and I roast it.  

To roast, just chop your vegetable, toss with olive oil, salt and whatever other spices you feel like throwing in there.   Bake at 425 degrees until done.  The length of time depends on the vegetables...leafy greens (kale, collards, etc.) roast quickly (10 minutes) while broccoli, carrots, butternut squash, etc. take a bit longer (30-40 minutes).

4. Never waste any food, ever again!

Make kitchen sink soup!  What is kitchen sink soup you may ask?  It's soup you make using all the leftover dribs and drabs you have in your refrigerator.  Just take your chicken broth (that you made up above) and throw in whatever you have that you need to use up.  Those limp carrots...throw them in.  That onion that is about to go bad...throw it in.  Potatoes starting to turn green...throw them in. Leftover meatballs or meatloaf or chicken or pork or sausage or pasta or rice or beans or mashed potatoes or anything...throw it in.  Round out your soup with some onions, garlic and whatever else you like to make it nice and hearty (I usually throw pasta in there).  Don't forget the salt and other seasonings! 

It's incredibly easy, delicious and healthy!

5. How to Make Any Baked Good Taste Fabulous!!

Add lots of butter and sugar.'s the secret to delicious baked goods...every time.  Maybe not healthy baked goods...but delicious ones!!

photo source

And, since there are 5 of these favorite tips..I'm linking up with  Jenna for Five Favorites.
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