Thursday, September 29, 2011

{Pretty Funny, Happy, Real}

round button chicken

{Pretty Funny}

Special K keeps putting this bonnet and American Girl glasses on Lil' Lamb. She finds it pretty hysterical.


Yes, I send my kids out into the rain.  In fact, they beg to go out into the rain.  You would too, if you had rockin' fireman rain boots like Lil' Wingnut.

The reality of homeschooling: Sometimes you have to do it wherever you can, even out on the porch on a rainy morning so your little brother can play in his rockin' fireman rain boots. Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Let Me Vent . . .

. . . just a little here on my blog.  Until about 3 years ago, our family did not have any food allergies, and for this I was very thankful!  I could not imagine how other families lived with basic food allergies to dairy and such, let alone more life threatening allergies to nuts or eggs.  It seemed like a fairly difficult cross to bear and I wanted no part of it, thank you Lord.

Then 3 years ago we discovered our Special K had a sensitivity to artificial ingredients present in many foods that contributed to emotional and behavioral problems she was having.  This wasn't too much of a big deal, as I enjoy cooking and had a natural desire to make more homemade foods for our family to enjoy.  Not too many weeks later, while potty training Lil' Wingnut, we came to realize he had a fairly serious allergy to dairy.  Ok, this was a bit more problematic and took some researching and experimenting in the kitchen.  We found goat's milk was an adequate replacement in baking, several types of goat's and sheep's milk cheeses replace many cheeses in other recipes, and goat's and/or sheep's yogurt could replace regular yogurt nicely.  We adapted to our new cooking and dieting needs fairly quickly and with little grumbling and complaining.

About 6 months ago, Wingnut had an epiphany regarding his constant feeling of bloating.  He cut out cow dairy and lost 20 pounds and several inches around his gut in about 2 weeks, no joke.  He also was feeling much healthier and more energetic.  Apparently he is also allergic to dairy.  As we'd already adapted most everything to accommodate Lil' Wingnut's allergy it was fairly simple for Wingnut to cut the remaining culprits from his diet (cheese, milk in his coffee, and ice cream).

I felt it was no real biggie and no real sacrifice, until Lil' Lamb was born.  After several weeks suffering from a severe yeast diaper rash, my mother-in-law suggested I cut dairy from my diet.  And indeed, Lil' Lamb is also allergic to milk.  His rash cleared very quickly once I had the dairy out of my system.  Having to give up the same things as Wingnut, I have decided having a milk allergy really, really sucks.  I miss cheese the most, and while there are some substitutes, there are absolutely no palatable substitutes for cheddar or mozzarella.  I'm coping and at least, for me, this is only temporary, until Lil' Lamb is weaned.

Now here comes the vent.  When Wingnut cut dairy from his diet he began eating steel cut oatmeal for breakfast.  It was really pretty delicious too with lots of butter, brown sugar and pecans.  About the time he began eating so many oats, he developed an eczema rash on his forearms.  We just recently put the two things together in our minds and we've had to cut oats from his diet now.  The rash nearly cleared, but it has become increasingly obvious there is yet something in his diet that is disrupting his system and we are nearly convinced it is gluten.  Really? Gluten?  Ugh!  Talk about having to abstain from complete cultures of cuisine--Italian most glaringly.

I did vent one evening to him, "Not to sound selfish or anything, but if you really are allergic to gluten it will pretty much ruin the one creative passion I have.  Cooking will absolutely suck!"

Thankfully he is loving and understanding enough to just nod his head and listen.  He also knows, in the end, I will buckle down and get as creative as I can in my attempt to cook around his new allergy, and I will try my best to not complain about it.  Dear Lord give me the grace to accept this new challenge without whining! Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bad Mothering 101

When my kids play outdoors they drive me nuts.  They cannot stay outside for more than a few minutes before they come back in for one reason or another.  Multiply their coming in every few minutes by the number of children I have and it is a revolving door of in and out, in and out, in and out.  I've been known to lock the front door just to keep them outside, but that is not the worst of my mothering.

Friday it was raining and my three younger children love to play in the rain.  They hadn't been out, prancing about in the shower more than 5 minutes before Lil' Wingnut came, soaking wet, needing something.

"If you come in, you are done," I said to him.

"But I have to go to the bathroom."

"If you come in, you are done," I repeated firmly.

He went back out the door and I didn't see him again for at least an hour.  He must not have needed to go that badly, right?

When he did finally come in and had changed into dry clothes I asked him if he'd gone to the bathroom yet.  He told me he had.

"Oh? Did you go upstairs while you were changing?" I asked.

"Well, no. I went earlier."

"You did? Where did you go?" I asked nervously.

"Do you remember when you said if I came in I was done?"

"Yes, but where did you go?"

"Really, it's ok, Mom.  Special K found a Trader Joe's bag, and well . . . " he confessed with his wry little grin.

"I guess that's what I get," I observed, palm to face, "Please tell me the Trader Joe's bag made it to the trash can." Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, September 23, 2011

It's Good to be King

I haven't posted about Lil' Wingnut in quite some time.  Believe me, it isn't because he hasn't had anything profoundly funny to say.

Special K was reading to Lil' Wingnut from the Lives of the Kings and Queens of England, which he was enjoying immensely and commenting throughout.  At one point, Wingnut asked the lil' guy if he would like to be king when he grows up.

"I'm already king," he announced, "King of Awesomeness!"

I found this story hilarious and had to ask him the same question the next morning.  I got a different response.

"I don't want to be a king," he said.

"Why not?" I asked.

"Because then I'd have to be British."

Um, yeah.  I have no idea how his little brain works. Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, September 22, 2011

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Life is too Busy

round button chicken

{Pretty, Happy, Funny and Real}

My pretty little Special K was so happy to begin ballet again this fall.  I loved that she chose to rock her ballet uniform with her funny hat.  The {Real} aspect for this week is that I haven't taken any other photos this week.  I'd forgotten how busy life can be with a baby and a new school year begun.  Hopefully we'll get the hang of this new schedule soon so that I can get back to shooting photos and writing blog post more regularly. Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Surprising Take on Chaz/Chastity Bono's Appearance on DWTS

Personally, I never thought Dancing with the Stars was all that "family friendly" to begin with.  Now it really does appear DWTS has an agenda that is definitely problematic.  I found this opinion piece on Fox written by a psychiatrist to be pretty interesting and not the take one would expect from a secular psychiatrist today.

Just a word of warning, I would not recommend children or adolescents read the linked article below.

"Don't Let Your Kids Watch Chaz Bono on Dancing with the Stars" Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, September 16, 2011


The following are photos from our trip to Pennsylvania for the Inauguration of the Aspirancy School of Blessed Marie Catherine of Saint Augustine

 The Mass was celebrated on the Feast of the Exultation of the Cross, which happens to be the main feast day for the Sister Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of MatarĂ¡.  Mass was celebrated in the newly dedicated church of Saint Rocco, a beautifully simple church in the Spanish mission style.

 The four girls received miniature Crosses of MatarĂ¡.  They were very excited about receiving such a special honor.  Apparently not even new postulants receive Crosses of MatarĂ¡.  Oleander is third from the left and is pictured kissing her newly blessed cross.

It is customary for the sisters to reaffirm their temporal or perpetual vows on the Feast of the Exultation of the Cross.

 Here the girls are following the Mass along with Mother Ephesus on the right and Sister Divine Innocence on the left.

 It is also customary to have a large party/reception following any IVE ceremony.  The Sisters from the different houses provided the entertainment.  Pictured here are the new postulants for the order along with Sisters assigned to help at the Novitiate House.  They have one of the largest groups of new postulants they've ever had.  There are 18 young women living in the Novitiate House of Bl. Kateri Tekawitha

 The Aspirants, along with Sisters Hope and Divine Innocence joined in providing entertainment.  Oleander was allowed to use a handmade Haitian drum that belongs to one of the Sisters from Haiti.

 Oleander has never been very cooperative when it comes to photos being taken of her.  Hopefully, over time, she might improve.  What a face!

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} 9/15

round button chicken


 This is one of the lovely walking paths in our neighborhood.


Doesn't every child love blowing the fluff off of a dandelion?


 My little goddaughter was sitting at the table eating a popsicle and swinging her sweet little feet.

{Real} Ugly!

 This spider has taken up residence on my porch. Ew! Ugh! Shiver!

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Checking In

Just checking in with a quick post.  We've had a good start to our school year.  It only took me 3 days to figure out that I don't have to rush through everything and fight through it all with the squirmy grabby boy.  I'm having the girls do all of their independent work first and then they take turns playing with the lil' wild man while I work individually with them on their dependent work and then tackle some math with Lil' Wingnut.  Something about less screeching makes the homeschool environment more peaceful.

The JayP is actually taking his studies seriously, especially the online history course.  I'm really hoping he sticks to it. It will make everyone's life easier and more pleasant.  He has stepped up and has been pitching in more to help around here, too, without being asked. Apparently he recognizes I am down two pairs of helping hands.  Miracles do happen.

This afternoon we are popping up to Pennsylvania to celebrate the inauguration of the Aspirancy.  I can't wait to see Oleander.  I've missed seeing her face. Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, September 12, 2011


I've never been one to home school for glory or recognition.  I haven't been one to opt into yearly testing to see just how our children stack up.  Our primary goal has always been to provide as healthy and holy of an environment we can with the end goal always being preparing our children to serve God in the best way they can according to His will.  If they excel academically, that is also a laudable achievement, but more of a bonus in our eyes.

Still, I can't help but wait nervously as our children reach their high school years and begin standardized testing.  I know we work hard.  I know they are smart.  I know they are learning, but how will they compare to their peers?

Karate Kid has always been smart as a whip and a dedicated self-motivated, self-starter.  She worked very hard at her studies.  She was a natural speller, writer, and mathematician.  When she scored well enough on the PSAT for a Letter of Commendation, I wasn't surprised.  When she scored a 4 on the English Language and Composition AP exam, even though she never took the actual AP course, I wasn't shocked in the least.  As colleges not only accepted our home schooled student, but offered large academic scholarships to her I wasn't amazed.  I chocked it all up to the fact that she had been given particular talents by her Creator and her own hard work paid off.

Oleander needed to test into her courses for the Pennsylvania Cyber School the Aspirancy will be using for academics.  I was nervous.  I had no idea how she would measure up.  We knew she was also smart, and a hard worker, but would that also pay off?

Last week the Aspirancy received the testing results and I must say I was floored.  Oleander maxed two sections of the DORA (diagnostic online reading assessment), scored at 12th grade level for three sections, and scored above 10th grade level in the remaining sections.  The assessment specialist told the Sisters he had never had a student score off the charts the way Oleander had.  Oleander also demonstrated mastery in all sections of the DOMA (diagnostic online math assessment for pre-algebra), with the exceptions of geometry and coordinate graphing.

Our children have been blessed with intelligence, to be sure, but it is a wonderful confirmation for me that home schooling not only provides the best environment for our children, but can provide the best education for our children.  And to be perfectly honest, I don't feel too bad giving myself a pat on the back for the part we've played in our children's successes.  Sometimes it takes a bit of self-congratulation and affirmation to keep the home school wheels turning around here. Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Aspirancy

On Saturday we were able to travel to see Oleander and join the Sisters in celebrating their first mass in the Aspirancy house. It was a beautiful day to celebrate a beautiful mass in their beautiful chapel within the house.

This is the lovely chapel within the house. The Aspirancy received some amazing donations particularly to the chapel; a gorgeous tabernacle, beautiful statues (most notably the large Saint Therese of Lisieux), lovely wooden pews, and a treasure trove of sacred vessels and altarwear.

Oleander wasn't too thrilled to have her photo taken in her incomplete school uniform. Their skirts were not quite finished yet. I'll get another photo of her when we travel again to Pennsylvania next week for the school's official Inauguration.

This is the gorgeous old colonial house where Oleander now lives with her three classmates and three sisters.

Here are the first students of the Blessed Marie Catherine of Saint Augustine Aspirancy along with the three sisters that will be in charge of their schooling and formation, sisters from the local mission convent, and sisters that came for the special day from the provincial house in New York.

Family portrait minus Karate Kid. Hopefully she'll be able to join us on a visit in the near future.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

11th Grade Plan for JayP

We officially began our school year yesterday. It did not run smoothly, but we did survive and I am hopeful that once we get into a good rhythm the bumps and kinks will work themselves out. Our biggest obstacle has been Lil' Lamb. He's become a tad demanding and grabby. Working around his needs is going to take some patience from all of us. I do think I will save math with Lil' Wingnut and Special K until Lil' Lamb takes his morning nap. Most everything else can be worked around his squirminess.

I do recall I did not get around to posting about the plan for JayP's school year. We are trying some new curriculum with him and it will be interesting to see how it all pans out, but so far his attitude toward his new material has been mostly positive.

Science--Kolbe Academy Chemistry using the Prentice Hall Chemistry text
History--Keystone Academy Online American History (this is new for us, but I think a good fit for JayP)
Religion--Understanding The Scriptures: A Complete Course on Bible Study (this is an awesome looking course written by catholic convert and prolific author Scott Hahn, Ph.D.)

My hope is to take a more low key approach with fewer courses for JayP, truly focusing on getting his writing skills up to snuff. If all goes well we'll be sending him to the local community college to pick up his last math, a college level literature and comp class, and a foreign language to round out his transcript.
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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lil' Lamb 7 months: Lamb of 1000 Faces

Lil' Lamb is quite the expressive chap. We are constantly cracking up at the faces he makes. This month he began adding a soundtrack to his faces. One of his favorites is growling. I don't know about you, but I've never heard a lamb growl. We just may have to change his nickname to El Tigre as my dear brother suggested. Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, September 2, 2011

Coffee Fiends

Our coffee coffer was low and so I decided to take the two pre-teens and Lil' Lamb to our favorite coffee supplier to grab a bag and a treat.

These two have been so helpful around the house with the children and the cleaning. They certainly deserved a little coffee break.

Lil' Lamb has reached the stage in which he thinks he should have whatever I have. He appears pretty disgusted in this shot, but he was actually growling and attacking the straw like a little baby bear.
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Thursday, September 1, 2011

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} 9/1

round button chicken


It could be the most lovely day and this little girl will refuse to go out and play, but give her a hurricane and there she is playing happily in the wind and rain.


Our very happy 14 year old left for Aspirancy School on Tuesday. She was supposed to go on Saturday, but Irene blew in and messed with everyone's plans. As soon as the storm was over, Oleander was on the phone with Mother Ephesus asking when she could come to school. Mother said all four girls were calling and begging to come.


Lil' Lamb has finally started taking a little cereal, not because he's been famished and unsatisfied with nursing, but because I began to worry he might lose his chubby little thighs if I didn't start feeding him solids.


Not everyone was happy and excited for Oleander to begin her adventure. Pool Lil' Wingnut.
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