Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You Just Did

From October 2007, when we were doing an apple unit study, comes this exchange in relation to our apple blossom art:

Caleb: Can you help me give my picture to God? Throw me up in the air so I can give it to him?

Well, since it doesn't quite work that way, maybe this is close.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Small Successes


This week's small successes, short and sweet:

1) I got the scanner working intermittently. This is an improvement over "never."

2) The homeschool books are getting a revamp. I have organized the student-specific books and will be attempting an adaptation of this for the larger collection of literature.

3) I got the laundry (it's always the laundry) off the floor of the laundry room and into hampers.

Off to work on next week's successes. :-)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cleaning house...

...in a manner of speaking. We've been laid low with colds for the last few days. Yes, colds. At this time of year. All of us, at the same time. And the inevitable clutter that goes with a household of ten (as well as the more preventable kind) has reached an oppressive level, so I've been trying to do something about that. We're also trying to get our school schedule back in full swing, which has been complicated by the fact that right now our printing capability is on the fritz. So I'm trying to work around that, and one of the results has been a lot of bookmarking on the computer to print and use later.

I've already got a lot of bookmarks to use later.

It reminded me, though, of a different decluttering project, and of what a wonderful thing the Internet is. I have been rooting around unpacked bins and boxes (some from years ago), making discoveries--things I printed, much of it long ago, because I was afraid of losing it in cyberspace. Instead I buried it alive in a crypt of paperwork. I find that my need for much of this stuff has diminished, but it's just so good that I don't want to let it go. In the interest of sanity, I am purging the papers; as a salve to my need to, ahem, collect the wisdom of others, I relocate a few right here, for your reading pleasure.

Discernment Examen for the end of the day

Maxims of St. Teresa of Avila
(This originally came to me via e-mail from Catholic Dispatch, which appears to be defunct now.)

What Makes Women Happy? Sorry about the boring block of text. My printed copy has a much prettier layout.

Seven Devotions by Tim Drake

Nice inspiration to motivate you and sanctify your work. Can you have a spring cleaning in August? Think I'll use this now.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Associative Quick Takes

1. This is my first Quick Takes. Yesterday was my first Small Successes. I am just getting started on this blog. I am, you could say, excited. Won't you say hello?


2. Speaking of getting started, I mentioned that I started swimming again. I love swimming. This week I had one person compliment my dolphin kick and another ask if I swam competitively and did I have any pointers. I am proud of myself. Which means that next week I will be tired and burnt out and want to quit, unless I can figure out a good balance between pace and push. All I really wanted was to start getting back in shape. How sad is it that I already see a wall? I reject you, wall. I will turn away from you with a kick from the balls of my feet. Ah, turns...


3. Speaking of swimming, thanks to one glorious high school swimming season and a little wash tip from the inimitable Danielle Bean, I love the smell of bleach in my laundry room. Which is fortunate, since I need to go do some laundry.


4. Speaking of smells, I have officially jumped on the Mrs. Meyers bandwagon. The only scent I have tried is Basil, and I love it. People have talked about how Mrs. Meyers makes cleaning easier because they love to use the stuff, but I thought I was beyond help. And so help me, it could be just another fad for me. But I have high hopes.


5. Speaking of bandwagons (or maybe it's being beyond help), I've signed up and unsubscribed to FlyLady three separate times. On one hand, I learned a lot each time. I've internalized a lot of her methods for dealing with clutter and I frequently visit her web site to mine for situation-specific information. One the other hand, (even though I really do get why she does this,) does anyone else feel crippled by her no-whining policy? I mean, when you're laboring you've gotta yell a little, right?


6. Speaking of clutter, I remember a challenge a couple of years back when people posted before-and-after pictures of the cluttered parts of their houses that they cleaned up in so many days. Anyone remember that? It might have been even longer. I'd like to see that done again. A little embarrassment is just what I need to clear some clutter up. Maybe that will be next week's Quick Takes.


7. See how I did that? Go me with the full circle.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Etymology of a Word

From the Toddlerspeak Dictionary, Gabe's Edition

fing n. Bath. v.i. To bathe.
["fing"=swing, corrupted from "fim"=swim.]

Ex. "Ohn fing!" ohn I want, I want to + fing a bath, to bathe, to swim.

Used in increasingly desperate and voluminous tones upon observing an older brother who, in consequence of a broken arm in a plaster splint, cannot shower like everyone else just has, and must bathe in Mom and Dad's superfun big tub.

Small Successes


It's my first Small Successes! That in itself should count as a success, because I love to participate of things like this; but I'll include it in my first item instead, which is:

1) I managed to get a blog going without it taking over my life! I have meant to write a blog for years but my biggest hold-up was my fear that I would put it too high up on my priority list, and more important things would suffer as a consequence. It's still something to guard against, but I'm really pleased to be here. If you are visiting, please say hello and look around!

2) I started swimming this week! My wonderful husband set up a membership at a local fitness center where he did some work, and he makes me go every evening. I can't describe the feeling of being back in the the water, cutting through it with those familiar motions, seeing the flags glide over my head as I approach the wall on the backstroke. I even feel it in my muscles the next day. Sore muscles are good.

3) This is not so huge as the first two. I'm almost embarrassed to count it as a success. But hey, it's all about celebrating the accomplishments, and as far as I still have to go, I'm going to count Tuesday's laundry. We have a fairly new laundry system that assigns two people to each day, and socks on Saturday. On each person's day, their clothes get washed and sent up to their room. The ideal is that they learn and eventually do their laundry themselves that day and take it from washing machine to dressers and closet. As it is right now, folding is haphazard and much of the laundry effort is spent sorting clean clothes from previous loads. But at least everybody has a basket for their clean stuff, everybody has a day their stuff gets clean, and if we get behind, there's a built-in plan to fall back on instead of me thinking, "How will I ever get all of this clean?" and beating myself up for missing a day.

And Tuesday, it worked pretty well. I filled everybody's clean clothes basket and folded a bunch myself. That includes several bedclothes, tablecloths and towels, which do not have an assigned day. I even put some away! (With eight kids, I don't do the putting-folded-clothes-away thing. :-) )

What are your successes this week?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Can you help?

I will defer to the post's author for the few words that let you know about this heartbreaking situation. Please read and do what you can.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Two sweethearts...

... my boy with the broken arm and his beloved baby sister.

(By the way, check out my baby's too-cute couture, from my cousins' line of baby and child clothing, Pout!)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mystery Berry Smoothie

1. In a freezer bag, save the half-melted popsicles nobody put away from the grocery store because you can't bear to throw away a brand new, full, family-sized box of Edy's Fruit Bars. Forget what flavors were in the box.

2. A few months later, pull them out, along with the big, about-to-expire container of yogurt you bought for a purpose you can't now remember. Vanilla is best but plain will do. Put about a cup into the blender.

3. Add three or four misshapen popsicles that look like they're about the same color. Or mix and match if you want to. Get wild.

Don't forget to remove the sticks. You may need to let the stuff melt a wee bit first.

4. Hit "blend," pour into a fancy glass, and enjoy! If it's one of those days, go ahead and pat yourself on the back for what a good steward of your family's resources you are.

Isn't that a pretty color?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Fun--a Photo contest

At Scrutinies, we are participating in my first-ever-blogging contest, the Domestic Church Photo Contest.

The kids borrowed my camera and arranged their stuff and sought out their favorite images in our domestic church. Here's one of my entries (with a very amateur attempt at photo editing). Go look at the other images at Dorian's Flickr album.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Catholic Prayer Blog Tag

Riding on the coattails of Waltzing Matilda, the Anchoress, and Danielle Bean, I'm entering the meme world with my first such post. I thought it would be hard to decide on five favorites, because there are so many beautiful devotions available to us in the Catholic tradition. I did, in fact, come up with a superfluous list of prayers I love for this or that reason, and could keep adding to it if I tried; but when it comes to the prayers I know and love and pray often, these were the clear winners:

1) Prayer to St. Joseph. I memorized this one in grade school and pray it for my husband and our family all the time.

2) Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. Another heavy hitter on whom I lean heavily.

3) The Rosary/Divine Mercy Chaplet. Is it cheating to count those two as one? Hey, I'm not the only one! If I have the leisure to offer up an intention in prayer throughout a whole day, I start a Rosary. If I'm anxious, the Mercy Chaplet is my "express mail." Both are so powerful, how can I lose?

4) The Anima Christi. What a gorgeous appeal to our Lord.

5) Devotion to the Holy Souls of Purgatory. It is so gratifying to ease their suffering, and comforting to know that they will remember us in heaven.

I still feel a bit new to be tagging anyone in particular, so if you read this, have at it!


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