Friday, May 3, 2013

Don't Wait - Do Something

Many people continue to discuss the Boy Scout issue of the day, but what have you done to voice your opinion and influence the vote.

Some times our little bubble is comfortable and staying in it is wonderful but then other times we need to take action. So as the powers that be prepare to vote you need to find an avenue and put in your two cents. I have always been a believer in stop complaining and do something to make it better.

Nothing in this world irritates me as much as someone who continues to complain about things and does nothing to change the situation. If you think I am referring to you, maybe I am. Yes, I know prayer is a great tool but action is also needed. So, get on the internet and start searching for ways you can get your voice heard. Below are a couple of links but don't stop there, find more on your own and let me others know. I know you are busy, well guess what so am I.

Our world is changing and the only way to influence it is with action, so stop sitting around discussing and complaining and do something.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Saying Good Bye

OK my friends from elsewhere may not understand this as much as my area friends. I vow here and now no getting close to military friends anymore. (OK I am not serious) However, I am faced with again this year as military transfer time comes saying good bye to good friends.
Two years ago I met these two wonderful women and their families in the vestibule at Mass, a typical move by Fr. Peffley of introducing us in the vestibule, hey Father this one actually stuck. They are both Coast Guard and families and both have 6 wonderful children. We have spent two years getting to know each other through church, scouts, homeschooling and life and now they are heading out. 

I am told by Reesa that it just means we have a place to visit. So my daughter is already mapping our trip to Southern California and then up to Sitka, Alaska. I know it is a pipe dream that we would do that but you never know and it is a great homeschool geography lesson. I am told she is losing her two best friends and I have reassured her they will still be her special friends she will just have to start writing letters. 

So for a second year in a row I say see you for now to some great friends. Living in an area that is so driven my the military is always difficult and yes this will most likely happen again but I can tell you our lives are so much better off having had these people here with us. Now we have friends to visit or plan trips to get together with somewhere out there. How about we meet in the middle somewhere?

So this week we will try and eek out a few last visits and then it will be e-mails, blog and phone calls. 

To be cliche it is only see you some day again and not good bye. 

May God Bless your families in your travels and keep you safe. Thank you for your husbands for serving. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

Happy Birthday #4

Happy Birthday to my Awesome 9 year old.

 Note the lovely floral gift bag.

And for his birthday he gets a Kindle and a word game. Just don't tell they are both actually educational. He  got back some of the Legos which were "put away" by mommy last week since they were not cleaned up. He also received about 4 or so inches of perfect snow, not to light not to wet.

The view from our front porch

Our Home

Our Apple Trees

Our Backyard

Note - the horses are not ours we just get to see them everyday without having to care for them. The little girls named our house when we were looking at it "The Horsey House".  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Happy St. Joseph's Day

Happy St. Joseph's Day. Started with wonderful breakfast with the girls, thank you Kate Downes and Rebecca Hall. Then lunch with friends (Reesa Barklage and Lisa Melnick) for Traditional Italian followed by outside time on this awesome March Day before the March winds began to blow. Now for a movie with the kids before I send them to bed early.

 Getting ready for Mass
 Working on her math skills, typical Eriskon, it is her favorite game.
Bananas for the first time

That is the sugar coated version. Leaving out that I woke up early to clean the kitchen run a broom over the floors and straighten up a bit before breakfast.  After breakfast the shouting to get into the car followed by the this is my seat fight. Lunch was fun but a bit crazy with 17 children and 3 moms. Sorry to the church staff at the other table I am sure the noise level went down after we left. On the way home we had a 10 year old melt down, apparently I "never" let her have time with her friends. Let's not leave out the pulling over and sitting on the side of the road refusing to move until everyone gets in their seats and buckles their seat belts, 15 minutes of my life I would like back. Here comes the next shoe to drop. The trash, I told the 12 year old no less than 3 times yesterday to take the can to the curb, yes you guessed it no can to the curb. The 12 year old was sentenced to empty the can into large trash bags so it could be transported to the dump. Once he gets all of it done and the 10 year old has finished her punishment for the meltdown of cleaning out the car. He puts all the trash in the car to take to the dump and by the time we get there, yes you know it the dump is closed. Shortened hours on Tuesday and Wednesday, I will remember for now on I guess. So went to the Amish furniture store to shop for a table big enough for our family, ouch sticker shock. Now we sit here in the calm, I am jinxing myself, watching Alice in Wonderland the original Disney. So when I say an early bed time it is because mommy is exhausted because during all this I also started packing up the winter duds and cleaning the back porch.

Yes I signed up for it and when I think about it I will remember the top paragraph and know that most likely the kids will too. Hope everyone else enjoyed this beautiful day. Back to Lent tomorrow and preparation for Holy Week and Easter.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Habemus Papam!

Today was an exciting day for our immediate family and our church family. Eight years ago when Pope Benedict XVI was elected my oldest was only 4 so he does not remember the excitement. Today all of my children were together with their friends in classes and had the pleasure of an excited priest running the halls yelling there is "white smoke". Just imagine over 100 children running the church halls toward the one large screen TV to see "White Smoke". 
Courtesy of my wonderful husband we set up a live feed from EWTN so everyone could see. We set everything up so during their lunch they could watch for the "smoke" but all they saw was the bird on the chimney.

They all went back for their last hour of class and just as everyone was letting out at 2:00 the excited started and the flock of children came running down the halls. I need to see if I can get a security feed to see the excitement. These are children who were too young to remember last time but have been working on their lap books and cardboard chimneys to prepare for these exciting days in our faith. 
Once they all assembled in the hall they began watching the "smoke", this can only be fun for so long but they were patient and waited over an hour to hear the words from the balcony. "Habemus Papam!"

This was a wonderful and memorable day and I am happy all these children were able to share this moment.

This was a wonderful and memorable day and I am happy all these children were able to share this moment.

This was a wonderful and memorable day and I am happy all these children were able to share this moment.

 and waiting 
 and waiting
 and waiting
 After the announcement, sorry no photo of the announcement too excited, LOL.

The day after as we hear more about our new Holy Father we are filled with joy. We know he will quickly dismiss the irritating questions of women priests and the church "changing" with society. My Matthew is already asking to go on retreat to Rome next Easter with the Legionaries of Christ, start saving little boy.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Unschooling Meeting

This morning we deviated our usual morning coffee for a discussion on "Unschooling". A fellow home education mom has been reading up on the subject and thought a discussion would be interesting. We had 8 moms join us and had a wonderful discussion, moving it up an hour helped. We launched our discussion with the help of a book "A Little Way of Homeschooling:" by Susie Andres. There were some great points made and it was wonderful to have the insight and knowledge from all of these moms. Hearing the different perspectives from one another and their experiences helps each of us.

The journey of a family that has decided to take on the amazing job of educating and learning alongside their children is one that needs the support of others. So many times in these discussions you hear how these families are isolated from their extended families. Having this knowledge we know that the friendship and support from the other moms is so very important for us to carry out our vocations as SAHM and Educator.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Meal Plan in Review

OK we sort of did it. The week went well for eating in our house we held to our plan most nights. On Thursday we deviated from the type of chicken dish and on Friday we totally deviated to the wishes of an 11 year old son who wanted to make egg sandwiches for the family. Never turn down a boy on a mission. He wanted to use our newest Pampered Chef Stone.

Photo: Make perfect poached, scrambled, and fried eggs in the new Microwave Egg Cooker. Perfect for breakfast sandwiches! 

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 Pampered Chef Microwave Egg Cooker

Since this week was better we hope to do it again next week. We will do at least two prep ahead meals on Wednesday and Thursday since we are busy on those evenings. I am also trying to give each of the bigger kids more time in the kitchen learning. Last week Matthew made muffins for everyone the morning I had a "meeting" with my friends. There is always a trade off of cleaning up after them when I get home but they are improving on that front too. 

Another little update we are still happy and moving forward with our laundry and dish detergent. I cancelled my standing Amazon orders for these items so that is going to save us a bit.

Follow up on laundry

Well I think it was a success. We have clean clothes and it even cleaned the babies less than wonderful as I call them "blow-out" clothes. While working on the laundry project and keeping up with the rest of our crazy house we realized we were out of dishwasher detergent. So I did a little search and we are now using homemade dish washing detergent as well. Easier than laundry you take equal parts Borax and baking soda and then use 2 tablespoons in the dishwasher.

While all this was underway I was realizing over the last week a build-up on my dishes both while hand washing and machine washing  Went down and checked the water softener and filter to find everything was bypassing the system. Thank you to the hubby for taking a look and fixing things quickly. We no longer have the build up and the dishes are coming out great with the new powder we made.

With all this I also decided to rearrange a few things and now have my lovely little coffee/tea center in the kitchen. Hopefully this will keep me from cluttering this spot up and free up some counter space for food prep.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Back to the drawing board.

After spending the last few months in an organizational fog I think we are getting back on track. Last night I made my meal plan for the week, first time in a while. Recently it has just been open the refrigerator and go with what we have.

So this week here is the plan:

Monday -- Spaghetti Pie
Tuesday -- Chicken Enchiladas
Wednesday -- Crock Pot Stew
Thursday -- Chicken Cordon Bleu
Friday -- Zesty Ravioli
Saturday -- Leftovers

We will see how it goes when we get to Friday. I used the All Recipes tool for meal planning. When you drag your recipe into the week it gives you a shopping list. I was able to go through the list highlight what we don't have and now I just need to pick up a few items to complete the week.

Next week we will add breakfast and see if we can really have a healthy eating week. Lunch around here is pretty simple PBJ, ham, tuna or mac and cheese.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Laundry Detergent

OK for the past 10 years we have used only two different laundry detergents and they both have been decent at keeping  our clothes clean, no great decent. So recently when I saw a bunch of posts about making my own I was skeptical. That was until friends who I know have active kids and large families like mine said they were having success. So now I have joined the ranks and hopefully this will save us some money and still keep us clean:

I found many recipes, most of them used a very diluted recipe calling for 1 cup or 1/2 cup or a 1/4 cup per load. I wanted a recipe for 1/8 cup since that is the scoop I have and I don't want a 5 gallon drum in my laundry room. 

I used:
1 bar ivory
2 cups Washing Soda (arm and hammer, heard they have it at Wal-mart but I ordered on Amazon, convenience)
2 cups Mule Team Borax (had in cabinet already)

I grated the ivory then melted it in 1 quart of boiling water. Then I added it to a gallon of room temp water (I used an old pretzel barrel for this).
I then added my 4 cups of powered stuff and mixed. I used a whisk and made sure everything was dissolved. I am storing it in the pretzel barrel and leaving a wooden spoon in the container to mix each time before use, it gets clumpy. This is more concentrated than the other recipes but hopefully it will work. I put some baby explosion clothes in this first load to give it a serious test drive.

I will let you know what the results are.

BTW: just ran out of dish washing detergent and found a recipe that says equal parts baking soda and borax and 2 tablespoon per load. That will be the next experiment. If it works I'll be saving a lot since the amount of dishes and clothing we wash is just staggering.  

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Boy Scout Decision

As many of you have talked about this week and watched unfold on the news the Boy Scouts are exploring changing a policy they have had for 103 years. When all was said and done Wednesday morning came and went and they tabled their decision until May. There has been much speculation regarding the tabling of the discussion and why they may have done it. So here is my take.

Yes, many people weighed in on either side of the issue and on Tuesday we were told we even shut down their phone lines. I guess they didn't obtain a proper phone bank to handle the volume of calls. Maybe you should have used some of that fat salary you give to the CEO to manage your phones properly. Well I digress. Here is my theory. Currently we are in what is referred to as rechartering month in Boy Scouts. From what I understand we pay our dues and each Troop sends their dues to the powers that be. In the next 30 to 60 days most scouts will also be committing about $250 to $350 per scout to camp. So here is my theory. They realized the potential impact and decided if we re-charter first that we will be less likely to pull out  if the decision goes in a direction that displeases us, what parent would take camp away from their child when they are this far into the process. I know you may think I am a skeptic well I think I am a realist and every decision is calculated.

So here is my suggestion. We fill out our re-charter papers and our camp papers and send copies of bank statements showing we have the funds at the ready. Once the decision is made and we can decide if this is an organization we still want to be affiliated with then we will send them the funds, if every troop does this we can make an impact. Although I want to stand behind this organization I am not a fool and I want to show them that we are not foolish and lemmings who will just follow no matter what they decide. I have been told by friends we need to stand firm and make our changes from within. I am all for that and I think this would be the first step toward that.

So there is my two cents on the subject.

Mark off to his first Scout Camping Trip

A little snow goes a long way

Today we received another scant of snow. We have had quite a few of these this year most of which were not even worth breaking out sleds.

Today was almost worthy so they were out in snow stuff. Maggie took Monica out this morning and they played and now Matthew is out there with Monica. Matthew tried to get the baby ready to go out and by the time she was ready she fell asleep. I love days like this they are coming in and out to do school work and getting slushy outside in the "Wintery Mix."

We are definitely jealous of our northeastern friends who are getting actual real snow. Hopefully we will get at least one real snow of the year so the kids can enjoy their new front lawn and their dad and brake in the new tractor.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

How to tell a ten year old

There are many questions on a 10 year old girls brain and so many are easy to skate past. I know you think this about puberty but that would be easier than this one. Last year a very close friend of our family ended her own life. We had taken family vacations together and she had a true connection to my children. When she died we were able to skate by with the story that it was an accident at home. Throughout the year it comes up and we slide past it but since we recently took our trip to Disney where she would have joined us and now the anniversary of her death is coming up in 6 weeks the questions are more frequent. My daughter is already drawing pictures to bring to her grave and deciding which prayers we will say. Betty was a planner so she would be proud of my daughter and she might also be touched that yesterday she told her friends that her friend who died was she was only 22.

So I digress back to the question part. So the dilemma is how do I answer the questions. I put this out there in the stratosphere. At what age or maturity level would you tell a little girl her hero died at her own had and that she suffered from depression. These are things way too complex for my daughter now but when would you do it. For now we will continue with the accident in the home story and as far as expounding on it for out local friends she is going to be told she fell and hit her head in the basement. Otherwise the questions will eat at her.

We do rest in the faith that our dear friend has most likely reached heaven by now since we have a loving God who new how she suffered here on earth. We also have been told by a wonderful 3 year old that she talks to Mrs. Childers who is in heaven with her mommy and daddy.

Eternal rest grant unto Betty, O Lord,
and may perpetual light shine upon her.
May she rest in peace. Amen.
May her soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed
through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I figured I would write on my Blog while I sit on hold with the insurance company. I am sure I will have enough time to write a novel with how they get back to you. I have already done my first bout with hold and now have been transferred to another department and am once again in the cue.

So you ask why am I on hold. Here is the story. Last May/June my son had two stays in the hospital for his fight with infection after his appendix burst. They finally waited until late September to get the bulk of the bills to us. After sorting through them I have been paying them slowly. I set up payment arrangements and the hospital still sent us into collections because they were suppose to combine all the many bills into one and oops forgot one. I then spent 6 weeks trying to have this taken care of and nothing was done until I called the public affairs line of the hospital and threatened to call local news agencies. Amazing how that day they finally returned my call.

Now I sit on hold because my Healthcare account which is my husbands hard earned money put away pretax for these expenses is not working and still has our money in the account. As I am going through my third hold now I have hopes that some day I will be able to get back to my real job of caring for my children instead of wading through medical bill. I am so looking forward to Obama Care making this easier for me in the future (note the dripping sarcasm here).

well finally resolved and yes I have hopes it will only take one or two more calls to get money we are actually entitled to to pay our bills to the correct place.

Thank you government bureaucracy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Florida 2012 - Post 3

Off to Orlando. Even though we are in the same state it is still a 6 hour drive from Mom and Dads to Orlando. We attempted a visit on our way with Linda McGuire but unfortunately due to traffic and scheduling conflicts we had a very brief bathroom break at her home before we hit Alligator Alley. The kids were able to see the industry of Florida as we went through the fields of sugar followed by the fields of oranges.


We arrived in Orlando and were excited to see across from our resort there was a new Catholic Parish so we had a very short trip on Sunday morning for Mass. We attended a small Catholic Parish, St. Faustina's who is saving money to build so they are in temporary quarters in a strip mall. Matthew was able to serve Mass and we even met a family from the area who had 7 children. Always great to meet other families and the parish was so welcoming to our large family.

On Sunday we took it easy and hung out at the resort. The older kids entered into a Wii competition at the club house and we were able to swim in the heated pool. We were joined on Sunday by two friends who were brave enough to vacation with out family.
Ready to hit the Animal Kingdom

On Monday we headed to Animal Kingdom and hit the Safari ride right away.

We had a great day at the park and celebrated our friends birthday.

It's Tough to be a Bug!
Thank you to Traith who came and stayed with the kids so we could have a nice dinner out that evening to top off the birthday.

The next day we went t the Magic Kingdom and had a wonderful surprise to see the new section of the park open. This was an early soft opening before the big Grand Opening in two weeks, yeah for good timing.

We had our character breakfast back at out favorite spot this trip at the Polynesian. The kids get to go on parade with the characters and mommy does not have to deal with a buffet, we love the family style service. I recommend this wonderful breakfast to anyone heading to Disney.

 We took Wednesday off from the parks and took time to play a little mini golf and hit the pool again.

Thursday was Epcot. We started early and had a great day. Talked to Crush at the Living Seas and the kids loved the flume ride at Norway. Of course Soarin' was a highlight, we even got Maureen, my little fraidy cat, on that one.

Friday was a shopping day for mommy and the four little ones and daddy and the four big ones hit Disney Quest. For those who don;t know it is an arcade on steroids. The kids had a blast. The little guys and I went to the Lego store, and did a little work for Santa.