Family Update Vol. 2013-12


I find myself with a rare extra minute of quiet. All kiddos currently napping, late, yes, but since they went down late, I’m ok with that 🙂

Yeah, so that little cold that Jared had last week made its rounds. Yuckiness! And to top it off, it left Jared with a middle ear infection (the kind normally only seen in little ones). A trip to the ER on Monday because he was in so much pain plus a trip to the pharmacy for Amoxicillin, another trip to the walk-in yesterday because the pain, swelling, pressure, dizziness was still there plus another trip to the pharmacy for some knockout drugs and that concludes his week, he’s been sleeping basically since last night. But he’ll be up tomorrow evening for sure because that’s when Georgia Football begins. {For the life of me I still don’t “get” college football, but, oh well. Happens every year.}

Had a birthday for my mom on Wednesday.

mom's 51

And a bout of chilly weather which left us digging for sweatshirts, which apparently Karl doesn’t like. We are restarting our preschooling. All in all just about a normal week for us!


Karl – Has started saying “uh-oh”! And I’ve heard more word-sounding things come out of his mouth, little things like “Go” and “cat”. My favorite so far: he’ll hear a dog barking and go “ohh-ohh-{his version of a barking sound}-cat”. I’m sure he’ll figure it out soon enough 🙂

Johnny – This little guy can run his mouth almost non-stop if he so chooses. Basically he will narrate whatever it is he is doing at the moment. And he’s so matter-of-fact about everything he’s saying, its hilarious.

I got to put my hood on so I don’t get wet


Warm it up grandma, it’s hot!

Katherine – Made a “J” all by herself (maybe I mentioned this the other day, I don’t remember). But anyways, she did. Has me excited. She’ll also spend loads of time “writing” in her notebook. Or organizing the table next to her bed with her books and papers. The other day she handed me a receipt that she had made notations on and informed me it was from Karl’s doctor and that he was “OK”.


Reading – Still working my way through The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton. Maybe if I actually sat down and read instead of looking at reading lists and blog post of possible books to read, I’d actually get it finished.

I’m going to re-start reading Little House on the Prairie with the kids. They always enjoy when I read it, and they’re pretty good about sitting quietly and listening, I just have been lazy in doing it.

Coming up in the Liturgical Year – I’m hoping to get at least a little post of these up in the next day or two.

St. Gregory the Great (Sept. 3)

Bl. Teresa of Calcutta (Sept. 5)


I hear noises coming from upstairs… so better go

~Ruth Anne


First Day of {Pre}School

Do these kids look like they could sit in a classroom?!?
Do these kids look like they could sit in a classroom?!?

We’ve actually been “doing” preschool very on and off again all through the summer. Yesterday just happened to be the first day of “real” school ’round these parts (all the aunties, uncles, cousins and neighbors went back to school). So, I thought what better time to take a beginning of the year photo for our next unofficial homeschool-preschool year.

And while I’m at it, I’ll just throw a couple thoughts out there about homeschooling, mainly what I’ve learned in the last year, that I’m hoping to improve upon this year.

1. I don’t like having to generate “stuff to do”. Give me a complete book, with all necessary things included and I’m a much happier person. That being said, I don’t think that’s realistic. Especially at the preschool age where there’s quite a bit of prep-work involved in…. everything! Maybe just realizing that I don’t like to do it, and planning just a teeny bit more time to plan whatever it is I’m going to do will help.

2. Trying to get uninterested kids interested isn’t very fun for anyone. So…. since this is still super early in their education, I’m going to take a step back. I’ll still be doing letters, numbers, etc… but, if possible, I’m going to be even less formal about it. This is more a mind-game for myself. I have to make myself be ok with letting them explore the letters, numbers, writing, etc at their own pace. Yeah, I’ll introduce stuff, but I have to make myself not force it.

3. 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds are not at the same level. Don’t know why I really thought that they would be, but I did. They aren’t. My guess is 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds won’t be at the same level either, and it will probably save me a lot of stress to try to remember that.

So what are the plans for this year? Besides reading, reading, reading and doing art work at their discretion and puzzles and games and normal stuff…. Our “official” stuff is as follows:

1. Finish working our way through 26 Letters to Heaven by Sarah V. Park (we’ve made it to “E” in the last few months…. which, BTW, has absolutely nothing to do with the book, and everything to do with the fact that I have a hard time getting myself motivated to “teach” anything. Which, ultimately, leads me to think I’m thinking too hard about this “preschool” stuff and should focus more on just letting it happen.)

{And really, I want to homeschool my kids all the way through? Guess it’s better to figure this stuff out when the material is still easy, and the there aren’t any legal requirements to actually DO anything….}

2. In the next couple of months start in on Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann. I very, very informally picked this up with Katherine earlier this year, just to see if there was any interest. There wasn’t. But she has started making her own letters now, ones that we haven’t officially “gone over” and she sits down and “reads” out loud, running her finger along the words… So maybe there will be more interest. We’ll see how it goes.

3. Start in on the Seton Preschool Curriculum. I actually received most of this last year for Katherine from my in-laws. However I didn’t start it because it was a little more than I could manage with her at the time. I think she’ll be more ready for it this year. So after we finish 26 Letters I’ll start in with this for her. Not sure what I’ll do with John, maybe try to work him in as much as he’s interested.

That should probably take up until next summer 😉

And here’s their “First Day of School” photos. Like our year, they’re informal!

K2 K1

J2 J1

No, I do not have a troublemaker on my hands. Nope. Not me...
No, I do not have a troublemaker on my hands. Nope. Not me…

DIY all-purpose cleaner


I remember seeing a few months back someone on FB or somewhere posted that they were using a homemade all purpose cleaner. But then I went to look for it and couldn’t find it. I’ll be honest. This isn’t a recipe I came up with. I searched around Pinterest for a while and eventually found something I thought could work.

I thought the idea of making an all-purpose cleaner would come in very handy since I’m all about saving the hard earned dollars that come through our door. (I don’t know about you but all the cleaners I find at the store are $4+ and to me, as much as I should be using them, that’s ridiculous.)

Anywhos… found this recipe. Made up a batch. Love it.

You’ll need:

Spray bottle (old Windex one works fine, but it’s a teensy bit big for this quantity, so adjust accordingly)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp Dawn dish soap

2 Tbsp vinegar

2 cups water

Mix all ingredients together in bottle. Voila! Cleaner.

A tip I found, write the recipe on the side of the bottle so when you run out, you can make more without having to search again for the recipe.

DIY liquid laundry soap


About a year and a half ago a friend of mine wrote about using liquid laundry soap. I was intrigued but not quite sold. Then I did a quick google search and found tons of sites (each with a slightly different “recipe”), but all with the same promise: It will save you money!!! And you know, since I do, like, a bazillion loads of laundry a week, that’s what got me hooked!

I tried a couple of variations on recipes, I’d find one I liked, then promptly loose the web address. So I eventually wrote it down on paper and taped it to my fridge.

You will need:

1  bar of soap (unscented). You could use any type of soap for this, we just happen to use Ivory at home, and I didn’t want to make a special trip to buy Fels Naptha (which most recipes call for).

1 cup washing sode (NOT baking soda), there is a difference.

1/2 cup borax

4 gals + 4 cups water (separated)

5 gal bucket (I use a paint bucket that I cleaned out from one of our job sites, but these are available at Lowes or Home Depot)

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil on the stove.

Cut up bar of soap into fairly small pieces. {Note: Most recipes call for grated soap (using a cheese grater), but since my cheese grater pretty much sucks, and it takes so, so, so, so, so long to grate up a bar of soap, I chop mine on a cutting board using a sharp knife}

When water is boiling put the soap pieces in and stir frequently, until soap is dissolved. {Two notes: 1- let the water boil first before putting soap in, it goes MUCH faster. 2- water with soap in it can boil over and make more of a mess than should be allowed, so always watch the water, if necessary turn heat down a little}

In 5 gal bucket, add 4 gals of warm water. Add borax and washing powder and stir until dissolved. Once dissolved add soap mixture and stir around a few more times.

Leave overnight, give a stir before first use and you’ll be good to go.

Use 1 cup/load.

It takes me about half and hour to make up a batch. Most recipes call for covering the mixture while it’s sitting overnight, I don’t have a cover so I just let it stand open. Works fine for me. A batch will last me a little over a month.

I don’t use this on my diapers as it can be a little hard on the plastic/nylon.

Happy Laundry-ing!!

Blessings from my Kiddos {13}

Roger Williams Park, Japanese Gardens  (bridge + water + kids = worried mama!!)
Roger Williams Park, Japanese Gardens
(bridge + water + kids = worried mama!!)

Feeling the need to keep these things up!! (If you’d like to see previous Blessings, feel free to take a peek at the “OLD” blog using the links on the left of the screen. Link to most previous here.)

I’ll just jump right on in today, since I had a few more things I wanted to get done before said kiddos awaken from their slumber, ok, so they’re not really sleeping, but before too long they’ll be begging to “wake up”.

~ Katherine asked for a prayer book~ She mentioned it when I put her to nap. She said “I want a prayer book like yours”. Warms my heart. It shows me that I’m doing something positive towards their spiritual development. Even if at this point all they want to do is copy me, I think that’s where it starts.

~Hand prints~ Made this today to give to my mom for her birthday. Everytime I make one of these things with the kids handprints or footprints, I end up giving it away.


~”helping” to make a cake~ I know I’ve mentioned stuff like this before. And while they were helping it wasn’t totally helpful, but they did have a good time and it was a quiet way to end a long day.

~Cleaning up quickly~ I know, I know. Most times I want things done faster than they are actually able to do them. But sometimes they surprise me and clean up rather quickly. And actually get  most of the clutter off the floor. A reminder to me to slow down just a little? Maybe? And to remember that they will get things done eventually… in their own way… (see next blessing)

~Organized bookshelf~ Without the books. But hey, at least there is hope that the toys will not ALWAYS be on the floor.