Monday, September 15, 2014

St. Nicholas and St. Roch Were On a Roll Today!

One of the nice things that happens during your birthday month is that you get a lot of coupons from stores you shop at as an added incentive to go spend more money at their store.  Works for me!  

Last week I cashed in my coupons at Kohl's and got my Ninja!

This afternoon, Ms 18 yo and I dropped Mr 14 yo off at his science class and ran up to the mall to use a 20% off and a $10-off-cuz-it's-your-birthday coupon from JC Penney.  I wasn't sure what to get, but then I remembered I have a bridal shower to go to this weekend so I found a cute top that was on sale.  With the sale price, the 20% off and the $10 off, I paid $2.19 for a $22 top! 

The patron Saint of shoppers was with me today!  

(BTW, according to my quick Google search, it came up as St. Nicholas).

Anyhow, as we were browsing through the store, we came upon what I thought would be a gorgeous mother-of-the-bride dress.  Wow.  It was so tempting.  I was calculating up what it might cost with all my discounts and such when I remembered....I might be a mother, but currently there is not a I reluctantly walked on by.

By then it was time to go pick up Mr 14 yo from class and bring him over to Goodwill for some shopping of his own.  No JCP for him!  I refuse to buy him full price clothing when he's entering the "size of the month club".  So we browsed the racks and he picked out a handful of things to try on.

"Do you want me to stay here and look at anything you try on?" I asked.

"I don't know," was his reply.

"Should I stay here or can I go browse the skirt section?"

"I don't know."

This is my first round of shopping with a teenage boy who is acting like a teenage boy.  SO different than with the girls!  It is quick and it is silent.  No angst.  No texting me photos asking me which color to get.  No quandary over which color or style looks better.  Nope. None of that.  He walks out of the dressing room, sets the shirts (all of them) in the cart and says, "Okay they all fit."  Wow.  That was easy.

We needed to grab some extra spoons and some extra drinking glasses because ours keep getting whisked away by the dish fairies.  We picked out five spoons and six glasses.  Ms 18 yo got a belt.

We went to check out with our six shirts, six glasses, five spoons and a belt.  I had a 25% off-cuz-it's-your-birthday coupon and then I got to get a scratch card that had another 20% off, so we paid a total of $19 and some change for all of that.  

Thank you patron Saint of shoppers once again!

(A funny aside, here.  When I was searching Patron St. of shoppers, I also came across St. Roch as the patron of second-hand dealers (Goodwill).  St. Roch is also Mr 14 yo's Confirmation name!)

I was on such a high after that!  I mean really, how often do you get a good deal like that?  Once a year, I would guess; during your birthday month.

For now, I guess I will just have to ride high on the success of this trip and wait until next year when the coupons come rolling in again.

God Bless! 

Friday, September 12, 2014

7 Quick Takes about eating, school and more eating by big fat green things

Week three of school under our belts.  Week three of Trim Healthy Mama under our belts.  Woohooo!  I have to say that both are getting easier as we fall into more of a routine.  This week was a bit crazier, however, because we started a science class for Mr 14 yo, a writing class for Ms 16 yo and Mr 14 yo and the first theater workshop for the four youngest.  More driving, more homework, more time out of the house always makes for more adjusting and tweaking of the schedule.

So with this Trim Healthy Mama plan we're eating a bit different than we used to.  I'm glad it wasn't a total overhaul, but it has required some adjusting nonetheless.  Here's dd Ms 18 yo heading out to work for the evening.  She had just gotten home from school and wasn't hungry but knew she had to eat something so she thought she'd make a protein smoothie to take with. 


There was so much of it and it was so thick that she had to put it in a bowl and eat it with a spoon. As she was walking out the door she said, "I've turned into one of those weird food people, haven't I?"

Here is one of the reasons why she chose to make a smoothie - my new birthday gift.  I went and got it today from Kohl's because I had a 30% off coupon and a $10 off card for my birthday month so I got it for a good price - which makes it even better.  Looking forward to processing the heck out of my food :)

Yesterday we were sitting in the school room doing school and I looked out the window at my failing plants when I noticed that the green pepper plants had been stripped of all their leaves.  They weren't that great to begin with but now they looked horrible.

Mr. 9 yo went out and found this bad boy on the plant.  He was nice and fat after having eaten all those leaves. 

Ugh! I hate gardening.  I think it would be much more enjoyable to go to a Farmer's Market next year!

I found this beautiful prayer on the internet the other day and I just have to share it:

 The Prayer of St. Francis de Sales

Be at Peace
Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life;
rather look to them with full hope as they arise.
God, whose very own you are,
will deliver you from out of them.
He has kept you hitherto,
and He will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand it,
God will bury you in his arms.
Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same everlasting Father who cares for you today
will take care of you then and everyday.
He will either shield you from suffering,
or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace,
and put aside all anxious thoughts and imagination.

St. Francis de Sales 1567-1622

I will not turn on the heat.  I will not turn on the heat.  I will not turn on the heat because it is only the 12th of September.  Who cares if it will be in the 40s for the next couple of nights!  One day it's warm and humid, the next day we're digging out the jackets.   On the brighter side, they've been working on the interstate that is a few miles south of us and have closed a portion of it down for the past three nights, thus re-routing ALL of the traffic down the state highway right past our house.  Therefore, I am thankful that we've had our windows shut as it is quite loud with all that traffic going by all night long.

We're in the throws of Saturday sports here so that's what is on deck for our and flag football, followed by the annual Blue Knights campout where dads and boys come together to either sit by the fire (dads) or run around with flashlights (boys) and then crash in tents.  A good time is always had!  Have a great weekend.

God Bless! 
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Treasure and Tradition: My Chance at Book Photography

Our local homeschooling conference was back at the end of July.  I went on Friday evening and was wondering about the vendors when I stopped at a table to look at some books (I know, how novel, right??  Ha ha, no pun was intended!).  Anyhow, as I was standing there, the lady that was running the table came over to apologize for being gone when I arrived.  At that moment she saw my name tag and asked if I was the photographer she had emailed 4 years ago about taking pictures for her book on the Latin Mass.  

Funny thing was, I had just had a random thought about that whole thing the week before.

I was looking at a mock-up of the book and it was at that point that I realized why it had taken four years to get it put together. 

It is incredible!!! It is at the same time a book full of information about the Tridentine Mass, as well as a book you can use to follow along with during the Mass.  There's even a chart in the front so that if you loose your place in the book during Mass, you match up what the priest's posture looks like with the drawing in the chart and then it tells you what part of the Mass you are at and what page to turn to!  

How cool is that?  

I'll tell you: It is VERY cool for someone who doesn't completely know her way around the Tridentine Mass.

So, after all this time, and after almost getting bumped by a photographer who had his own set of external lights, I had the opportunity to take photos for her book.

The book is called "Treasure and Tradition:  The Ultimate Guide to the Latin Mass" written by Lisa Bergman and produced by her own company St. Augustine Academy Press.  

I saw Lisa this past weekend and she said the book has been sent to the printer and should be out in time for Christmas.  As soon as I know where you can purchase it I will let you know.

This is a beautiful book and will be a great help for those of us looking to learn more about the Latin Mass as well as a joy to look at for those who already know the Latin Mass.

God Bless!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Thank You, God, for this Weekend :)

And what a weekend it's been!  The humidity broke and the rain stopped and we've had absolutely gorgeous weather the past two days.  We've also been very busy...

On Friday, after soccer practice got cancelled because of the lightening and storms, we went and celebrated the birthday of one of our nephews.  Good food and family always makes for a nice time.

On Saturday we had more good food and family time, but this time there was a wedding thrown in.  One of my cousins got married and we got to celebrate in style.  The priest who conducted the wedding ceremony gave an incredibly awesome homily.  The main point of the first part of it was that we always need to remember to go back and thank God for all that He does for us; thus the title for this post.

The reception was at the Stadium Club at the home of the Chicago White Sox.  I'm not a baseball fan at all, but it was a fun place to have a wedding reception.  Beforehand, the bridal party got to go down by the field and take pictures.  I did not have my big, bulky camera, so I had to use my husband's phone, which meant I didn't get that many good pictures, but if you look closely, you can see someone in white down by the field.

The DJ was good, but it wasn't a big dancing crowd, so me and the hubby were one of the only few out there. 

Sunday was my birthday.  Since we are unfortunately church hopping right now, I got to pick where we went and my choice was the Byzantine church that's about 40 minutes away.  Sigh.  I wish it was closer.  At the end, Ms 22 yo and I looked at each other and said, "I love this Liturgy".  AND...we actually heard a relevant homily.  I mean, Father talked about the persecuted Christians and even prayed a prayer specifically for them at the end of the Liturgy!  So refreshing.

I love the prayers that are sung at this Liturgy.  I love how we call upon God's mercy so often.  I love that prayer before receiving Holy Communion.  I love the chant-like singing but I love it most of all because WE get to participate in it.  We don't have to be silent.  The booming voices in this small, but beautiful church move the soul.

After that we came home and chilled out for awhile until we sat down to the most incredible tasting rib-eyes that my husband grilled.  

We haven't had steak this good in years (and really, we only have them about once a year, so this will carry me along for quite a while!).   While he grilled, Ms 18 yo decorated a banana cake that was made by Ms 20 yo and frosted by Ms 15 yo - truly a family affair.

 The only sad part to my day was that Ms 22 yo had to go to work and missed the dinner, cake and this picture.

So, thank you God for the many blessing that you have given me, not only this weekend, but throughout my entire life.  May You continue to shower us all with Your grace and bless us and the whole world each and every day.

God Bless!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Prayers For Courtney

I'd like to take a moment on this Labor Day to ask you to pray for a young lady named Courtney who has suffered with seizures most of her 22 years of life.  She is also blind and cannot speak.  Her mother, Mary, blogs about Courtney, life with Courtney and the joy she brings to her family over at Passionate Perseverance.  If you've never stopped by, then I suggest you do now to find what you've been missing.

Right now Courtney isn't doing very well.  The Lord may take her home soon, but then again, He may pull her through this and leaver her here a bit longer.  What Mary and her family need right now are two things.

1.  Prayers - for Courtney and for Mary, her husband Jerry and their son Jonathon.  This is a tough road to walk and we need to keep them up with as many prayers as possible.

2.  Donations - If you are at all able, a GoFundMe account has been set up for them and the numerous medical bills the family has, not to mention the fact that Mary's husband is due to be laid off from his job in mid-September. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and to prayerfully consider how you can help.  While I have never met them IRL, by following their journey on the internet, I feel compelled to call on the Body of Christ to help this wonderful family out.  Won't you join me??  

Have a great Labor Day!

God Bless!

Friday, August 29, 2014

7 Quick Takes on school, busyness and food (what else??)

Well I haven't blogged all week, so why not do a quick takes to give you a run down on what's been going on; that is, if you've been wondering what's been going on.  Hopefully you have and that is why you are here.  Welcome and happy Friday.
After rushing through school on Monday so that I could go back to bed and sleep off my cold, I woke up Tuesday feeling much better.  It is still taking us some time to get into the groove once we get home from Mass in the morning, but we did manage to get most of the work done before the four kids went off to a friend's house for a meeting the boys were having for their video club.  One of the dads arranged for them to go to a town hall meeting and work with the young man doing the video recording so that was a cool, impromptu field trip that I didn't have to do anything for except drop them off.  Those are the best!
Wednesday, after getting through our work, was physical prep time for the big panel discussion I was holding at my house later that day.  We had six moms presenting how they've homeschooled through high school, and we had over 30 parents attend.  Overall, I think the main message we tried to convey was:  1. You CAN do this 2. Trust and pray  3.  God will fill in the gaps  4.  God will not abandon your children once they graduate - He will guide them and direct them if they let Him.  Everyone who attended said they felt much better and were glad they weren't going to have to have any more panic attacks (at least for the time being).

If I was successful in my endeavors, I recorded all 6 of the mom's talks so that I can somehow convince my daughter to edit and convert them for me so that I can make them available on my website so that others can listen to them.  That's a lot to accomplish when I don't really know the first thing about any of it so hopefully Ms 22 yo will have time in between classes and work to do this before too much time passes by.
Thursday I was just so tired after the couple of days we had that we got through school and I didn't really do much of anything.  Oh...except meal plan, which took hours because I'm still trying to figure out how to feed everyone the right way on the Trim Healthy Mama plan.  This really does deserve a post of its own and hopefully some day it will get one, but I have high hopes for this new way of eating.

Except for the fact that I've figured out that I am allergic to Stevia and most other sugar substitutes (like anything ending in -ol).  Kind of frustrating when everything sweet in this plan depends on Stevia and Erythritol.  I'm trying to figure out how to work around this.  Any ideas?
It's a 3 day weekend and that is exciting.  We have dinner plans, around the yard plans and swimming plans.  Unfortunately, the weather service is predicting two days of rain.  Hopefully they will be wrong.  Hope you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

God Bless!

Monday, August 25, 2014

The First Day of School

Well, today was it...the first day of school for everyone; well, almost everyone.  Ms 22 yo started her "Sophomore/Senior year plus one term".  Not quite sure how she came up with that, but I'm excited for her.  She'll be taking four classes and working part time at two jobs.

Ms 20 yo started her second semester with three classes at the local junior college.  She nannies so she's the only one who has the ability to do homework at work.

Ms 18 yo is starting at a different junior college on Tuesday because she will be starting sign language and our JC doesn't have those classes.  She has to drive farther and into a semi-questionable part of town, but it's only 2 days per week and it's all during the day.  Making sub sandwiches is what she does when she isn't at school.

Then we have Ms 15 yo who started 10th grade and Mr 14 yo who started 9th grade today.  They are excited, because as high schoolers they are banished to their rooms to work in peace and quiet.  They are not excited, however, because they are both doing Teaching Textbooks Algebra I and have to share the computer.  We'll see how long it is before fighting ensues.

That leaves me with Ms 11 yo in 6th grade and Mr 9 yo in 4th.  We're going to be doing more work together this year since there is only two of them.  For the first day I planned a lot of reading out loud stuff and then, yesterday, promptly came down with a whopper of a head cold.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it despite my nasal voice and sneezing fits. 

Not much has changed in the school room except for this wonderful addition:

We school in the "dining room" and it has only one window that opens and shuts properly and very little air flow from the rest of the house, so this fan is a welcome addition to our new year.
So there you have it.  We're off on another adventure.  Sitting there today it didn't even seem like we had a summer break.  Is that a good thing or a bad thing?  I'm chalking it up to me not feeling good.  Hope your school year is off to a good start!

God Bless!