Sunday, March 29, 2015

Out damn'd spot! Out I say!

No..not bloodstains.  Chocolate stains.

We seem to have a problem with chocolate stains.   It's the one stain I can never get out.

Many a children's clothes have been tossed due to ever persistent chocolate stains that refuse to leave.

This past week, I've been on a quest to remove the chocolate stains from a certain toddler's clothing.  Why?  I don't know. I've just had the urge to de-stain her clothing for some reason. 

I've soaked them in oxy-clean.  I've used dish detergent and milk and carpet cleaner... but still those spots persisted.  Those stubborn, set-in, gone through the dryer several times, spots remained.   

Finally I found something that worked.

Is it bad for our doubt.  Will it poison our skin.  Probably.  But hey..the damn'd spots are out.   And of course, don't use this yourself unless you test it on small, inconspicuous portion of clothing first.  I'm not responsible if you ruin your clothes.  But since our clothes were headed for the trash bin anyway, I wasn't worried about it. 

And since this post is about laundry, which is about clothes, it's the perfect segue to lead into what I wore Sunday. 

Which is this.

Apparently you are supposed to wear Red on Palm Sunday.  I never knew that, but all the other bloggers are doing it, so it must be true.

Pink is close enough, right?

So, not my best outfit.  I have a love-hate relationship with that skirt.  I love how comfortable it is, but I hate the way it looks on me....but I love how comfortable it is, but I hate the way it looks. And sadly, I can't really see how it looks until I take a picture, because I do not own a full-length mirror.   So, I think I may be donating that skirt.  I'm just not a fan of the way flared skirts look on me. 

Anyway...I won't tell you where I got everything, because I doubt you'd want to re-create this outfit, and even if you wanted to, you couldn't.  Because I don't even know where I got everything. So there. 

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Parenting Win; Parenting Fail

Parenting. You win some.  You lose some.  

I don't know why I included this photo.
Other than the fact that it showed up on my phone and I think it's sorta creepy
Consider it random.. 

Here are some of my wins and losses.

We are always losing pens and NEVER able to find them. NEVER.  Just a few months ago, I bought a bulk order of 60 pens on Amazon.  And within 1 month.  NONE of those 60 pens were anywhere to be found.

So...I started offering the kids 10 cents for each pen they found, picked up and put away in the drawer. 

Now, we have all sorts of pens, ready for use at any time.

Parenting Win


We've been having issues with the kids (ahem...2 kids in particular) fighting a lot.  So, I told them that every time they insulted anyone else, they had to give that person a quarter.

So, then they started fighting about exactly what an insult is and the whole thing lead to major hypersensitivity and a super creative use of the word insult.

You said my drawing isn't good enough to sell for $20. That's an insult, you owe me a quarter.

She said I have chocolate on my face.  That's an insult. 

You said I might lose my book, that's an insult., it's not an insult.  No you don't get a quarter.  

Parenting Fail.


Now all insultive debts come to me.  So if anyone insults anyone else, I get the quarter.  

Insult is no longer a creative term in our house and everyone is no longer so hypersensitive.

And there are a lot less insults flying around.

Parenting Win.


Getting kids to clean up after themselves.  A constant battle in this house.

I blame it on myself.  When I was in high school, my mom had this book.  The Messies Manual.  I spent A LOT of time reading it.  According to the book, there are two types of people...cleanies and messies.  I am most definitely a messie.  

Unfortunately all that time spent reading that book didn't turn me into a cleanie.

Unfortunately, none of my kids are what one would call cleanies either. 

So, I tried offering them all sorts of bribes if they can keep the house picked up all the time for an entire week.

None of it works, because as Greta says "If we miss even one day, what's the point. We don't get the prize."

Parenting Fail.


The kids do have to pick everything up and clean up every evening before they watch a show on Amazon Prime.  We've been doing this for years and it does work.  So at least the house gets picked up at night, every night, no matter what. 

Parenting Win.


Probably no one remembers my post about early potty training before age 2.   I posted that on February 17, 2014.   Elsa was about 17 months old.   Well, it took her until about Halloween to be out of diapers, and until the following February (an entire year!) to go on her own and stop having accidents if I forgot to take her potty. So much for early potty-training.  She wasn't fully trained until almost 2.5  I should have just waited until she was older.

You talking about me??

Parenting Fail.  And Win (she is trained NOW, but I totally should have just waited). 


The kids are always losing milk bottle tops.  Putting the milk back in the refrigerator without the top (see...I told you we were a bunch of messies.).  So, I started fining them $1.00 every time the milk is put back without the top. 

Our milk is topless no more.

Parenting Win. 

What sort of wins and fails have you had in the parenting department lately?

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

So I think God spoke to me

I went on our Diocesan Woman's retreat this past Saturday.  It was just a one day thing.   My mom asked me if I wanted to go and I said yes. 

I wasn't really thinking about the retreat itself.  All I could think was. 

A whole day out of my house without my kids. Sign me up. 

I love my kids, but I hate my house, so I'm up for any excuse to get out of it. 

Anyway, I hadn't really thought about what would happen at the retreat.

It never occurred to me that the retreat would involve lots of quiet prayer time.  Why I was so dense as to not realize that a Catholic women's retreat would involve prayer, I have no idea. 

Anyway, the retreat involved lots of prayer.  Which I have been lacking.  You see....I'm been sorta mad at God lately.  Okay...very mad.  He wasn't doing what I wanted him to be doing.   So, I haven't been praying too much.  You see God hasn't been answering my prayers. 

I'm not a saint.  I'm not one of those people can be naturally cheerful and happy in times of distress.   I'm not someone whose faith never wavers.  If I were to die, I'm pretty sure there would be no glowing eulogies about me. 

I'm really struggled with our whole situation these past few months.  REALLY struggled.  REALLY, REALLY struggled.  More than the situation warranted.  Because really, things could be much, much worse. 

So, while I found the retreat to be quiet and peaceful, I didn't feel like it was this great connecting experience with God. 

Until the end.  At the end they had  Eucharistic Adoration.  And the leader said something like "Ask God what he wants to tell you."

So I did that.  Rather grudgingly I might add.  It wasn't a prayerful asking.  It was more like

Fine, God, what do you want to tell me?  I was mentally stamping my foot, rolling my eyes and pouting too.

The answer was NOT what I expected.  I was hoping for some sort of clear direction.  Like....go to this town.  Or look for houses here.  Or next Monday, your husband will land the perfect job and everything will be great. 

THAT did not happen. 

Instead, this is what God said to me. 

You are worthy. 

And then it hit me.  The reason I felt so depressed and frantic and desperate about our situation.   The reason I was so frantic for it to change, for my husband to find a good job, for us to get on our feet again. 

It was because I felt worthless.  Worthless.  You see for the past several months, we've only been making it with a lot of assistance and help.  That made me feel worthless.  We aren't able to give any money to charity.  We basically are the charity.  

Yes, I was worried about money....but somehow we usually seemed to have enough.   Yes, I wanted to be settled down, but I  can deal with moving. I can even deal with struggling financially. 

But what I can't deal with, is feeling worthless. 

What I really wanted, what I was so desperate for,  was the sense of self-worth that comes from being self-reliant. So, what really took a hit was my self-esteem and sense of self-worth.   And, THAT was what was so hard. 

Once I realized that, something changed. I no longer feel so frantic for change.  

We're working on bettering our situation and that is the best we can do.  It doesn't have to happen tomorrow. It's okay to still need help a little while longer. 

Being poor does not equate to being worthless. 

Society would make you think it does.  Society tells us that our only value
comes from what we look like or how much money we make.   And, I had fallen prey to that. 

So, I was depressed and frantic to regain my worth in the eyes of society. 

You would think I would be smarter than that.  Apparently not. 

Maybe you feel worthless about some situation in your life as well. 

Well..I'm not God, but I think if you were to ask him, he would tell you....

You are worthy.

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

We got all fancy and moved!!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin We moved!!

I got all fancy and went from to  Please change it in your links accordingly!!!

Thank you!!

Friday, March 20, 2015

My Version of the 7 Worst Real Estate Photos

We're house searching.  Without much luck I might add.  Which means, that we've looked at TONS of real estate photos. TONS. 

Have you seen the Terrible Real Estate Photos Blog? It's hilarious.

Well in our house searching, we've come across some pretty terrible photos. 

For your entertainment, here are some of the worst real estate photos I've seen.

And if you see your house in the pictures....well...sorry.  And take new pictures. 


I really, really hope that's not blood on the walls.  Really...clean up the crime scene before you take real estate photos please.


And fix the bullet holes.


Hey...if your name is Shawn...the writing's on the wall!


Princess Feline Furry Toes ain't moving.  She comes with the house. 


Door's open.  Come on in!


This reminds me of an optical illusion fun-house.  And the overhanging counter...weird.


I desperately want to know what that symbol on the garage means.  Or do I??

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Dear St. Joseph....I'm Still Waiting.

I've prayed to St. Joseph faithfully every day for the last 4 years.  I'm still waiting for an answer.  

(For anyone who might be unaware.  Catholics ask saints to pray for them, the same way you ask your friends to pray for you.  This link explains it.   And Saint Joseph is the traditional patron saint of fathers, workers and people seeking work). 

First, I was praying for a good, legal job.   Even when he had a good job, I was praying for a job, as we knew that job was only temporary.  

Now we're still praying for a good job (he already has a not so good one) but also praying for business guidance as seeing as how no legal job appealed, he's starting his own law practice. we're praying for guidance and a house with an office or another office in the right town..and for a successful business.  

We almost bought two different houses in two different small towns.  Both times, something fell through. 

We call about offices....and they're already taken.

We're doing tons of research and trying to find the right area...and we keep going back and forth, changing our minds, considering new factors.  And that's just the work in finding an area...never mind the work involved in actually getting ready to start a business.  It's exhausting and frustrating and is basically taking up too much mental space and energy. 

So, I don't have too much mental energy left for blogging or writing. 

Because Dear St. Joseph....we're still waiting for an answer to our prayers. 

People (ahem, my mom) keeps saying that God is leading us.  But it doesn't feel that way.  It feels like we are being left alone to wander around without any direction.  It feels like all we have is doors closing and no windows opening.  Not even a tiny window.  Not even a  peephole.

To be fair...yes...all our needs have been taken care of.   I mean, we're not homeless or starving.  Yet.  At least there is that.  

But St. Joseph...we're still waiting. 

Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God. I place in you all my interests and desires. Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.
Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls - Pray for me
- See more at:
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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

When Do You Let Children Use a Public Restroom Alone?

I'm usually on the more protective side of the parenting scale, but I've been letting my son use the bathroom alone for the past year or so.  And he just turned seven.  I think I started letting him use the restroom alone when he hit school age.  So around  5.5 or 6 or so. 

Granted...and this is probably a huge granted, we almost never go places where there are large busy restrooms.  Usually when he is using a public restroom it's either at church, or maybe a school (for chess tournaments) or the library.  Maybe a public park.  Very occasionally a restaurant, but we don't go to restaurants often.  Shopping is also rare.  So are museums/zoos. So, usually if we go someplace, it's someplace that would only have a few stalls.  We don't belong to the YMCA or anything like that. 

There are certain situations, (maybe a large, busy travel center off an Interstate) where I would not feel comfortable allowing him to use the restroom alone. I take it on a case by case basis, but with most smaller bathrooms, I'm totally fine with it.  

Like all parenting's a risk/benefit analysis,

Risk: The chance that there is a pedophile lurking in the bathroom, just waiting to molest or kill little boys.  I really feel that this is a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very small risk.  Very. Small. Yes, it could happen. Or I suppose he could get kidnapped.  But that seems even less likely as most bathrooms have only one way in and one way out...and I always stay out by the door.   It's also possible that I could get murdered going into the women's bathroom.  But, that hasn't stopped me from using public restrooms when nature calls. 

Benefit: He learns independence and doesn't have to feel uncomfortable going into the ladies room. No one else is made uncomfortable by him being in there.   

The biggest benefit however, is that he gains some independence. 

The point of parenting isn't to do everything humanely possible to prevent any potential harm from ever coming to our children.  The point is to teach our children to grow into responsible, healthy, capable, functioning, happy adults.

Now, I might feel differently if we went to the YMCA or places with pools where he had to change. In a situation like that, I think I would have him change/shower at home and then go straight to the pool.   Actually that is what I have done, the few times we've been in that situation. Still, even in that case, I'm not so worried about strangers, but about him getting lost (those bathrooms are HUGE) or needing help (not being able to turn a shower off or on or it being too hot/cold). 

I'm certainly not criticizing anyone who doesn't allow their 6 or 7 year old to use the bathroom by himself.  If you're not comfortable with it, that's okay.  In many other ways, I'm on the more protective end of things.

Of course, a decision like this also depends on the child. My son is responsible and not going to just fool around or play in there.  He's not going to dawdle or daydream or splash water or make a mess or do anything like that.  He just goes in and out as quickly as possible.  

Taking all that into consideration, I'm okay letting him use the restroom alone.   My children tend to err on the more introverted side of things,  So, I'm always looking for ways they can be a bit more independent.  This is one small way to encourage that. 

What about you?  At what age do you let children use a restroom alone?

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Friday, March 13, 2015

It's Friday the 13th - 7 Bad Things that Have Happened So Far. And it's Only 2:00 P.M.

Despite the title of this post, I'm not a superstitious person.   However, so far today....

1. My favorite glasses broke.

2. They are also my only glasses, because I can't find any of the 3 pairs of spare glasses I own.  Which means that technically I'm not supposed to drive until I get new glasses.

3. Heidi can't find her science notebook. Our house has a way of losing things.  We've lost more things in this house than we've ever lost before.  Which is crazy because the house is so small.  What's more bizarre is that those things have a way of turning of in obvious places weeks later.   

4. Elsa dumped a bowl of yogurt on my lap.

5.  We're outside and it's starting to rain.  On my laptop. 

6. I'm sitting in a carseat because I don't have a yard chair. big butt can fit into a child's booster seat.  This is a HUGE seat!  It's actually super comfortable.  I think I might sit in this seat all the time.  It's actually old and expired, but I think I'll keep it anyway so I can sit in it in the yard.  Or at the park.  Won't that look cool? that wasn't really a bad thing, so much as a dumb thing.

7. Elsa is wearing two different boots and I didn't even notice.   Although I did see a toddler wearing two different boots at the library yesterday.  It was pretty funny. 

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New Blog Design after a Wonderful Day! #CWBNIndiana

 Generally, I'm not one of those bloggers who talks about blogging!

But, if you'll indulge me today...I just have to!

You see, on Saturday, I had the privilege of spending the whole day at a Catholic Women's Blogging Conference at Notre Dame. 

It was wonderful!!  I've attended conferences before.  I've been to homeschooling conferences and La Leche League conferences. 

But this one was different.  Everyone was just so friendly and everyone!  

The focus of the Conference wasn't so much on blogging as on friendship.  Yes...we talked about blogging.    But, really it was about friendship.  Meeting blogging friends and making new friends. 

When I walked in, the only person I had met before was Cammie

When I walked out...I had made all sorts of new friends.  Some whose blogs I have been reading for Michelle and Sarah and Bonnie and Nell and Ana and Annie.

And some I haven't read before, but I definitely added them to my feed Rhonda and Anna  and Cat and too many more to mention. 

The talks were wonderful!  I got some wonderful ideas on blog design and using social media (two things which I am generally TERRIBLE at). 

But mostly it was about friendship and community and support.   And was exactly what I needed. 

And sadly, this is the only picture I took.  

Nell told us to take selfies with our neighbor.  But my phone doesn't do selfies.....I don't think.  It doesn't have a camera in front anyway.  So, I just took this picture of her, in her cute leggings that she sewed herself.  They made me re-think my previous disdain for patterned leggings.  Although I'm way too curvaceous (the nice way of putting it) to pull off any sort of leggings and shirt look.  

I did learn that this photo has something called "trapped white space."  That's bad.   Not sure how to fix it though.  Probably something fancy like edit my photo in a photo editor.  Generally I don't do fancy photo editing.  Guess I should figure that out.  

I also learned that nobody uses Comic Sans font (I kinda like it) and that my preferred font looks dated.   So when I got home, I designed a new header, made some changes and am switching fonts.   Clearly I have no blog design talent.  I'm counting on my stellar writing skills (ahem) to keep all my readers engaged.  

So what do you think?  I tried to go with a header that fit our family and my blog.  And since  we  they are a bunch of nerdy chess players....I went with the chess family theme.   And if we have another baby...I can just easily add another little pink knight or blue rook up there.   I'm all for simplicity.  And that's actually easier than my previous header....which was a family picture.  Trying to get a decent family picture with my family is like trying to find a pink unicorn amongst a herd of mustangs.

All in all, it was a wonderful, productive, rejuvinating, fun-filled day! 

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Friday, March 6, 2015

7 Quick Takes Friday -Updates

1. Heidi's back pain is completely gone and she had her (hopefully) last doctor appointment today.  She still has three more weeks of antibiotics, but everything looks good, her lab results are normal and the pain is gone.  So that's good news. 

2. We're still looking for a house and a job and a place to start a solo practice.  We keep changing locations and areas.  However, we *may* have finally settled on an area (or course we'll probably change our mind AGAIN) and yesterday we looked at a house I really like.  It's a foreclosure, so needs some work and we'd have to see how much and what it would cost and all that. But it's a definite possibility.  

3. To make things more complicated, Ben had in interview on Wednesday, so if he were to get that job, we'd move to a totally different area.  We are betwixt and between. 

4. We finally joined the modern age and got smartphones.  We used to have a landline and then cheap tracphone cellphones. Then we discovered Republic Wireless...and their plans are super cheap. You can get unlimited talk/text/data on 3G for 25/month, unlimited talk/text on 3G and data on wifi for 10/month and unlimited talk/text/data on wifi for 5/month.  So for 5/month you can essentially get the equivalent of a landline in a smartphone if you have wifi.  We were paying like 20/month for our landline before. This sounds like a commercial, but sadly I am getting no compenstaion for this post.  I am telling you though that I am now on instagram.  So you can follow me there and see all sorts of lovely pictures like this one.  Because I know you missed seeing What I Wore Sunday when I didn't blog it.

Or this one..which I randomly found on my phone.

5. I'm going to a Catholic Women's Blogging Conference in South Bend tomorrow and I'm ridiculously excited!  Not only do I get to meet some wonderful ladies that live inside my computer, but I get a WHOLE DAY without ANY kids.
6. I love Downton Abbey but I can never stay awake to watch an entire episode.  In fact, it pretty much takes me 3 nights to watch one episode because I'm good for about 20 minutes before I start snoring.  Still haven't finished the season finale yet.  

7.  Although I have read everyone else's blog recaps.  Because that's the kind of the person I am.  The type of person who sneaks a peak at the end of the murder mystery to find out who done it before it's done. And I also read episode recaps before I watch. Because I have zero patience. 

(See Kelly for more Quick Takes)

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Finding Hope in the Midst of Difficulty

Lately my family has taken to calling me a Negative Nancy. 

I'm not naturally a happy, cheerful person in the best of the times.  And the worst of times bring out my worst.  

No one has ever accused me of being too happy.  And when life is tough, it's even harder.

Being positive in the midst of life's difficulties does not come easily to me.

Or at least it doesn't in certain situations.

I'm actually pretty good at taking certain situations in stride.

That's because sometimes hope is easy to find.  We know that eventually the snow will melt and spring will come and things will warm up. We know that no woman has ever been pregnant forever.  We know that eventually a child will sleep through the night or potty-train. We know that a broken bone will heal or that more likely than not, a child will recover from a seemingly never ending snot-fest of a cold. 

But what about harder situations? Where there is no easy end in sight? What about when hope is harder to come by?  Many times people aren't healed of their disease.  The unemployed don't find good jobs.  Poor people remain poor. The infertile don't get a baby. 

Sometimes life is nothing more than a serious of dashed hopes and fallen expectations. 

Sometimes it's easier to stop hoping. 

Yet, hope is the only thing that sustains us. 

The opposite of hope is despair.   And while despair is especially tempting for my melancholic personality, it's not a healthy or fun place to live.

So, the only other choice is to hold onto tenuous as that grasp may be.
And if there is no hope in this life, as we can at least have hope in the afterlife. And THAT is sometimes the ONLY thing that sustains us when life is especially difficult.   

So this ONE goal is to pray more and find hope. And if I can't find hope in this life, at least I can find hope in the next. 

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