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Wednesday, September 30, 2015


I loved this quote when I saw it on Facebook. I've found this to be so true.

When you find the people who "get you" it's immediately clear. There is just that click. 

I've been so blessed with my friendships throughout my life. My longest standing friend, Sarah, at 22 years of friendship. My closest mommy friend, Dee, who I've known since I was 14. My BAMily who has been through thick and thin with me. My sweet Bible Study friends who feel like family to me. My homeschool mamas who are in the trenches with me. There are so many more to list but just know that you all mean so much to me.

My friends understand me without me having to even say a word.

I hope you, too, are blessed with friends like this.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Trim Healthy Mama Plan

I purchased the giant, 600+ page Trim Healthy Mama book when it first came out. I love the information and recipes but it does take some muscles to lug it out when you want to look something up!

I guess that was a common complaint which is why Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison now separated the book into two parts...the actual plan Trim Healthy Mama Plan and then a corresponding cookbook. The plan book breaks down this lifestyle, which is not a diet. Unlike fad diets, this plan is not difficult. You will focus on refueling your body every three to four hours by focusing on one primary fuel at a time. Satisfying meals which include more fats and proteins and Energizing meals which contain more carbs and proteins. 

The plan book includes a menu mock-up, affordable superfoods, what to eat when you are out and about or super busy, and so much more. It truly is a 300 page guide book.

While I have the huge book myself, I would totally recommend the two separate books for anyone looking to purchase them now as it makes reading about the plan, and then cooking the recipes, so much easier.

This book was sent to my Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Real World

As a homeschooling mama, I've had people ask me about socialization. I've had others go one step further and ask, "What about the real world? They need to get used to it sometime."

 That question gets asked after I admit to homeschooling not only for the educational aspect but also for the peer aspect. Because, yes, I do want to shelter my children a bit.

Shelter them not from the "real world" but rather from a manufactured world where kids can be cruel. They can pick, pick, pick on a child like a flock of chickens will peck a lesser one to death. From a pack of peers that can and will dictate how to act, who to be, and how to conform to fit in.

That's not to say that one can't fit in at school, or that all kids are bad, or that you can't flourish in a school setting. But one does realize, right, that there are as many different ways to learn as there are children on this planet. Whether it be public, private, homeschooling, or unschooling. 

Because school is not "the real world". The real world is the world around you. A little village in Africa or the big city of New York. Everyone is different, everyone has a different life path.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Here Kitty Kitty

Our cat got out in July and never came home. Because he has gotten out before, and always returned that night or the next morning, I assumed something bad happened to him. 

We searched the neighborhood.

Called the police station.

Called a notice into the radio station.

Put a notice up on local Facebook boards.


Then last week a friend tags me on Facebook. Her friend found a black cat and was trying to find the owners on the radio Facebook page. 

That's our cat!!!!

I went to her house that evening and it was Skippy! Two months gone and here he is just two streets over and five blocks west of us. She has seen him around in August, then he disappeared, then returned last week. Where he has been and what he has been up to for two months is beyond our imagination.  

As we tried to carry him to the car he got out of our arms and ran around the neighborhood. Yep, that's Skippy. He would always make us chase him when he was outside...not wanting to go back indoors.

Which leads to the fact that he has been "wild" and in his element for two months. He's a little aloof at the moment, though getting better each day.  Crazy cat. He now has a collar on with his name tag and number. I know he will probably get out again but at least it will be easier to find his way home.

He is a special cat to us because he is Jacob's cat. Jacob saved up his money and got him at the Humane Society. He loved that cat and I felt terrible after we lost him.

The day that the woman contacted us about finding Skippy I announced to Joe, "I think someone found Skippy!"

Joe beamed with excitement on his way to the bathroom (he had just woken up and was making his morning run!). He then paused and stood still for a moment, then slowly turned with a grin plastered on his face and said, 

"I prayed for him to come back!"  

And just two days prior I had shared this memory on Facebook, with the caption of "I miss them both".

Thank God for the little blessings. The little mercies. The little kitties. 

Monday, September 21, 2015


The cooler, rainy days have lead to some creative inspiration recently. Probably as a way to "fluff the nest" for the upcoming months stuck indoors due to cold and snow. Make pretty things and it won't be so difficult to be stuck indoors? One can hope.

I bought this large frame at a garage sale for $1 and intended to use it in Amy's room with her initials inside of it. But then, as I contemplated a way to keep my jewelry organized I decided instead to use it for our bedroom. 

A sheet of wire from the garage. Some S hooks and clips for hanging the jewelry. Perfection.  
It looks pretty on the bedroom wall and is quite functional. I just need to buy a few more hooks for the rest of my necklaces to be hung up. 

I'm beginning to get my Etsy shop stocked back up with goodies for the Christmas rush coming in late fall. You can follow my Facebook page to get updates of new items.

I had to start on a cuff for myself first, as the words have been tumbling around in my brain.   

A reminder at hand (literally) to truly LIVE LIFE...every single day.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Clean Comedy

I think I may have been living under a rock. I picked up the book Diary of a Jackwagon by Tim Hawkins because I needed some light reading and humor. I hadn't ever heard of Hawkins before though.

As I got further through the book, laughing as well as reading parts aloud to my husband, I begin to ask people "Have you ever heard of Tim Hawkins?" and I received the replies of "I love his stand-up!" and "He's my favorite!" Wow, thanks for telling me about him, guys!

My love for Jim Gaffigan is not a secret. And Hawkins comedy reminds me of my love for Gaffigan. Clean, funny, involves Jesus but not in a too serious way, family friendly, real comedy.

I read through this book in 24 hours. Then watched some of his stand-up on Youtube. And now hope to watch one of his shows live when he tours nearby. I've found a new favorite...or at least sometime to tie Jim (Gaffigan) and Jimmy (Fallon)!

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

5 Minutes with Jesus

Sometimes when I am looking for a devotional I don't want to search deep within my soul. Because that takes time and there are days when I feel like I only have 5 minutes with Jesus. Does that sound bad? It shouldn't, because spending 5 minutes with Him can make the whole day better.

5 Minutes with Jesus by Sheila Walsh is a way to "make today matter".
Your life is hectic! Juggling family time, work, and church equals jam-packed days. You want to spend time in God s Word, but the busyness of life keeps getting in the way. What if, however, you could take five minutes to invest in making each day matter?

This book holds 50 devotionals. Each one addresses an important topic (A good way to start a day, Finding treasures in God's Word, Worshiping in the dark, etc.) which begins with a small story of real life struggles and issues. It ends with several Bible verses relating to that topic. You really can read each devotional within 5 minutes.

It's a perfect way to start your day as I think you will find your mind drifting back to the message several times throughout the day. The verses can help guide you as you make decisions or deal with issues within your daily life. This is a must for all Christian mama's nightstands! 

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wishful Thinking

I took Jacob to the dentist the other night. I had remembered at the last moment that I forgot to mention that he was going through treatment and was nervous about having to shake my head no when they asked "Is he going to be okay?"

As we waited we sat across the table from each other. Jacob asked if we could go get "the train wreck" at Denny's. I asked, "You mean the Grand Slam at Perkins?" He smiled and nodded his head yes. 

Then I woke up.

The dream didn't really make any sense. But I was with Jacob, for just a moment, and it felt like a little visit from him. 

I'm often reminded of a short-lived television show called Awake. I only saw one episode of it and was fascinated with the premise. Michael lives in two separate realities after a car accident. In one reality, his wife  survives the accident; in the other reality, his son  survives. Michael does not know which reality is "real". 

Sometimes I wish for two different realities. The days of suffering would be so much easier to handle if every night I lived a life where Jacob was still with us.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


I'm a big believer in trying natural products before going to pharmaceuticals. Don't get me wrong, there is a time and a place for picking up medicine at the pharmacy counter and I am glad that we have that option. But I also believe that God created natural plants that can often do the same, with less side effects, and I try to scope those out first.

I'm not a doctor though and do not suggest going off a medicine or trying a new supplement without talking to your doctor and doing your research first.

This is just what works for our family.

We always have a jar (or two) of Elderberry Syrup on hand. This really boosts your immune system and is especially helpful during the flu season.

My mother calls Activated Charcoal magic. I don't know how many times I've turned to this for stomach upsets, nausea, and more. There have been times that I have been *this* close to throwing up, I take one or two tablets, and within 15 minutes I can literally feel it absorbing the acid in my stomach.

On an added note. If you break open a tablet, pour it on a toothbrush, and brush your teeth with it you will notice a much whiter smile within a week (after rinsing out your black mouth!). 

Carditone has been a life saver for my husband. This summer his blood pressure was through the roof. Before going to the doctor and going on blood pressure pills for life we decided to try some supplements. He takes Carditone every other day and garlic, magnesium, and CQ10 every day. His counts have come down almost 50 points into the normal range and are staying that way!

These are just a few of the products that we use and have in the medicine cabinet. I'll highlight others throughout the next few months.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Our Curriculum

This is my calendar page for the month. I find it so funny. But oh so untrue. Having kids at home 24/7 means more of a mess, not less of one. If only...

This weeks begins week 4 of school and it's going well. For those who asked, we don't use one set of curriculum but rather a mash of different text books and workbooks and I'm finding that I think we've finally hit the mark this year. Everything we are using I'm liking a lot! Some things we do use are:

Handwriting Without Tears for both print and cursive. Did you know a lot of schools are doing away with teaching cursive? That makes me so sad...how is someone supposed to read their Grandmother's writing or work in an office if they CAN'T read a style of writing?!

MCP Mathematics is what we use for both children. With added work sheets for additional memorization and help.

Rod and Staff for grammar and spelling.

Catholic Heritage Curricula for Joe's science.

Thinking Kids Complete Year workbooks help to review important information each week with your child. This is a good resource even for those who don't homeschool, it give you a chance to do some fun activities and review with your child during the week.

The rest of our books are a lot of workbooks, school textbooks, supplemental books from the library, and so on. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Light Your Path

You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully. Do they light your path or darken it?

As iron sharpens iron,    so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

No Quilt Left Behind

Several years ago, after falling in love with quilts, I sort of made a silent commitment of "leaving no quilt behind" when I saw one for a good price at garage sales or thrift stores.

Not just any quilt, mind you, but handmade ones. The time, talent, and love that someone bestowed upon the quilt, as well as the recipient, does not go unnoticed by me. It often befuddles me that these sweet little cotton comforts even end up in the thrift store. Who donates their Grandma's quilt, their mother's handiwork? (I guess I should thank them or else I wouldn't have such a stash myself!) 

Last week these two beauties came home with me.  
There have been times, unfortunately, where I have had to leave one behind. They were just too far gone for me to save, were much more like cutter quilts (only useful for cutting up to make smaller projects from) and I'm not at that level of expertise to bring them back to life yet. I know that someone is though, as they are always gone the next time I visit that store. The vintage fabrics call to me but the stains, holes, missing edging, etc. make me set the pathetic things back in place. I'll get there someday - where I can rescue them all and give them a loving home. ;)

For now they are on shelves waiting for a cold winter's day, plopped on the couch giving cuddles during movie time, in the car ready for a picnic. Well loved and used often.  

Friday, September 4, 2015

This & That

** spoiler alert ** I thought this was a chick-lit book, happy and carefree. Boy was I wrong! As a mother I can relate to being pulled in a million directions and finally asking yourself, "What's the important things in life?" 

 I was confused, and annoyed, with the business plan in this book. Too much lingo and jargon made some pages hard to follow along. But the actual business proposal was somewhat amusing so I'll look past that.

 But more so, I related to the health issue of a parent in this book. Because it happens...we will all probably have to say goodbye to our parents in our lifetime. Reading about Alice's father brought back memories of my own father. I stayed up until 1:30 am to finish this book and bawled through the last 1/4 of it. I think Egan wrote these feelings/emotions/issues out perfectly and made it all so believable. Because the father in this story had no voice (due to a cancer operation) I think it made it easy for me to imprint my own father into the story. Any book that can make me cry is a good book. 

 When you're a kid, you think you're going to have this deep well of time with your parents when you grow up and you're all on equal footing. When I had kids of my own, I thought that time would come when my kids grew up and I had a little more freedom. I imagined myself as a fifty-year-old woman, strolling around the duck pond with my eighty-year-old dad. I might have looped my arm through his.
Now I knew, this was not to be

A Window Opens  by Elisabeth Egan

*Remember all the rainbow profile pictures in support of gay marriage on Facebook? Well, September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and I would love to see people "go gold" in support of that. And please read this article to learn more about Childhood Cancer. We need more awareness, more funding, more support!!

*I've heard people say "Why bring a child into this horrid world?"
I think, "What if that child changes the world?" 
I loved this picture on Humans of New York. This boy brightens the world around him, like so many others do in their corner of the world.

* This article makes me feel sick to my stomach, and quite confused as I don't really see the authors point. She's glad she has her daughter now but wishes she had had the chance to abort her? She didn't sign up for a child with health challenges and doesn't think other parents should have to parent a child with varying health ailments? 
Becoming a parent to ANY child means the possibility of parenting a child with issues...autism, cancer, child falls down the steps and gets brain damaged, teen gets in a car accident and is paralyzed. What would we think of a parent who walked into a hospital room after that and said "I didn't sign up for this!" and walked out forever.
 That's what parents do - love their children no matter what, take care of them no matter what. This women, holding her child in her arms, feels angry that she didn't know beforehand when she could have done something about it. This is so, so sad. What happened to our society to make some people "less than"?

*On a happier note, some blogs of family and friends that I enjoy:

~A DIY blog with fun projects Laura Ann's Home 

~A book blog for bookworms Pursuing the White Whale

~My mom and her co-author's blog Mary & Me 

~Another stay-at-home mama blog The Space Between This and That

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Allure Beauty Box September 2015

I wanted to try the Allure Beauty Box again as I am slowly getting tired of IPSY and may be canceling that out soon as I was highly impressed with this Allure box. It is $15 a month and includes five ore more deluxe sized samples put together by the editors at Allure Magazine. A tiny little magazine is included with each box which highlights the products and gives the editors reviews on it. 
The September box included:
*Tangle Teezer ($15) This is a fun size to throw in your purse but I think it will be a staple in our bathroom. All of us girls here have hair very prone to tangles and this actually works to get them out without pain. Amy sat on the bed and let me brush her hair for several minutes, something she never lets me do!

*Soap and Glory Pillow Plump XXL Lip Gloss in Pinkwell ($14). A bit sticky, but it does tingle which I think means it's working and it smells like chocolate! What's not to love?

*Jane Iredale Smooth Affair Facial Primer & Brightener ($48 for 1.7 oz. and this sample is .24 oz). I've fallen in love with primers. They just make your makeup look so much better. This one smells like a fresh orange and has a light-pink tint to it.

*Alterna Replenishing Moisture Milk ($30 for 5.1 oz and sample is 0.85 oz.). This is a leave-in deep conditioning spray made without parabens, sulfates, or phthalates.

*Pixi by Petra Glow Tonic ($15 for 3.4 oz. sample is 0.5 oz.) This alcohol-free toner is supposed to exfoliate and brighten skin.

*Kaplan MD Cellular Rejuvenating Concentrate ($170 for 1 oz. sample is .10 oz.). Goodness...this stuff better be good at that price! An anti-aging serum that fights wrinkles and increases collagen. With a yummy faint apple scent! Looking forward to looking younger, maybe?!

*Erno Laszlo Firmarine Bar Soap ($45 for full size, sample is 17g). Wow, quite expensive soap! This made the whole box smell divine. Can't wait to try it on my face!

This box had a very high value with all new to me brands (except for Pixi which I have used before and love). I shall pretend I'm at a spa whilst using my fancy products. :)


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