Monday, August 31, 2009

Back to School

Today was our first day back to school. I have been "talking it up" to the boys for a few weeks now. We have had such a fun summer, that I wanted to make sure that they knew our summer fun would not last, and that they were as excited as possible about starting to learn new things. It must have worked, because both were eager to get started this morning. I wish I could say that I was as eager as the boys were. I was happy to start again, but I was very nervous too!! This surprised me because I thought that the homeschooling jitters would go away after I completed my first year. I guess the nervousness is a good thing. My children's education is a weighty thing to take on.

So, I woke up earlier than I had been so that I could make it to the gym and be completely ready before J and K woke up. I was almost done eating breakfast, when the first boy, K, descended from the upstairs. I tried to make it special for them this morning. I decorated the window in the kitchen and each boy got a small crate with new school supplies and a puzzle. I made their favorite for breakfast, chocolate chip pancakes.

We began school at 9:30 AM with prayer and Bible study. We then moved to the kitchen for handwriting, reading, math, science and history. I would like to say that the day went flawlessly. There was complaining. I was frequently asked, "When will we be done?" But, I am so thankful that we have started again. As difficult as it can be sometimes, I enjoy teaching my sons. I enjoy watching them grow in knowledge. And I like that our normal routine is starting again.

Here's to a wonderful new school year!

Friday, August 28, 2009

In the Year of the Priest: Amazing Vocations Site

I just had to share this right a way. The Archdiocese of NY has an amazing vocations website called It is well done, well organized, and the video brought me to tears! This is a beautiful way to show others what a special calling the priesthood is.

Dave Ramsey on Cash for Clunkers

I am not a fan of most government programs like Cash for Clunkers. Dave Ramsey wrote a very good, short article on his thoughts on the program. Read the article here. It is worth your time!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Little Things . . .

This week I had a hard time coming up with my successes. Since Sunday, one, or all of us, have been sick. Baby A started us off, and we all followed in succession (except for K, who seemed to get away with just a runny nose!). Now, my hubby is back to work and we are all feeling better (for the most part). I am ready to get out of the house, but will wait one more day to make sure everyone is really better.

So, here are my feeble attempts at successes this week.

1. Saturday (before we all got sick) we had our Pastor and friends of ours over for dinner. It was a wonderful dinner. I was not too stressed about it all either!

2. I have rested more in the last two days than, well, in a long time. It is not in my nature to just sit, but when you begin to feel weak after standing for a few minutes, sitting is about all you can do. I think it helped me to get better faster.

3. I have the first day of school (this coming Monday) all planned out. I have some fun surprises for the boys for that day. I want to start the school year with fun, excitement and energy!

What are your successes? Share them at Faith and Family, Live!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Nature Study

Yesterday morning, the boys made friends with a Praying Mantis. They were mesmerized by it and watched it for about a half an hour before it flew away.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Born in the USA, Baby! Leachco Baby Products Review


Several years ago when I was pregnant with my first son, a friend of mine shared some pregnancy advice . . She said that the one thing she could not live without while pregnant was a body pillow.S o my wonderful hubby gave me one from Christmas. Fast forward to my third pregnancy .. . . The body pillow that I had during my first pregnancy was worn out . . . I realized that I loved using it ALL the TIME!!!! Pregnant or not, I used a body pillow. Well, I was lucky enough to be given a Leachco Snoogle body pillow. It is amazing. The pillow is, of course made in the USA. It is long and curves at each end. The top end curves in such a way (like an L shape), so that you can use the top part of the pillow as the pillow for your head. The bottom part of the pillow curves in a c shape. It curves that way so that you can lay with you legs cuddling the length of pillow and the "c" portion of the pillow loops around and supports your lower leg while sleeping. It is also designed this way so that you could sleep with the long portion of the pillow in the front of you and you cuddle the pillow, or with the pillow behind you to support your back, while still supporting your legs, which is so important while pregnant. I still love sleeping with this pillow. I turn a lot at night and it is nice to have a body pillow that I do not have to move with me. I can leave this in one place and can use it to support my back, or if I turn, I can use it for front support.

This pillow is very versatile too. The pillow comes with a sheet to show you several uses for the pillow, including support of c sections and back support while sitting. Another unique design is that the pillow comes with a 2 piece or one piece pillow case that washable.

I m very impressed with this pillow. I have had several other body pillows and this, by far, is the best one. I still use it, even though I am not pregnant.

Leachco also makes nursing pillows, shopping cart covers, other body pillows for maternity and beyond, and baby bath accessories. All Lechoco products are made in the USA.

To find a retailer of these fine products, click here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pleading the Fifth

Apparently my 3 year old knows his Constitutional Rights.

Yesterday K dumped his sippy cup of milk down the drain in the bathroom. As a consequence of this behavior, I told him he could not have any more milk to drink for the rest of the day. At dinner time, he began to cry that he wanted milk. My husband began to question K about the incident earlier in the day that led to the current situation.

"Why did you dump your milk down the drain?" My hubby asked K.

"I am not going to answer your question." Was K's response.

I think he may have a future as a lawyer.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Way to Go, Mom!

Here are my small successes for the week:

1. The boys and I cleaned their room and reorganized all of the toy bins. We keep all but two toy bins out in the garage and we regularly rotate them into the house. I am not sure how it happens, but every few months I have to bring all of the bins in, dump them and make sure all of the toys go back into their correct bins. I am hoping that we will not have to do to this again until Christmas.

2. I have finished my yard work. I have weeded all of the flowerbeds and have dug up some hosta that just looks messy. Now, I need to plant some annuals in place of the hosta. Anyone know of good late summer/fall flowers that I can plant?

3. I have started to run longer distances (the distance is not long, just long for me). On Saturday, Monday and today, I ran 5 miles each day. I really had a mental block to doing this, so that is why I started.

What are your small successes? Share them at Faith and Family, Live!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Movie Worth Watching

We do not watch much TV. We do not have cable, so if we do watch anything it is usually a free movie we have borrowed from the library. Every couple of weeks, my husband or I will go through the racks of movies at the library to try to find something interesting. This past weekend, my husband brought home a movie called One Night with the King. This movie is the story of Queen Esther from the Bible. We decided to watch it and I was not disappointed. The movie was well done, the acting solid and the story was well told.

The movie does take liberties and adds things that do not occur in the Bible account. Obviously, many conversations, and intentions are fabricated to add drama and interest to the story. But, this is a well told story and the fact the God placed Queen Esther in her position for a greater purpose is clearly conveyed.

So, if you are looking for a good film to watch, try this one. I hope you like it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

And the winner is . . .

The winner of the Brand of the Free Tee is #20:

Congratulations! look for an email from me!

Transformation Update

I know it has been a while since I have shared any details about my workout and weightloss progress. So far I have been following the Body for Life exercise program program for 14 weeks. I have lost 14 lbs so far and am 7 lbs away from my goal weight. I have taken photos of my progress (which I will NEVER post here ;) )and can see so many changes in my muscle tone and posture. I have tweaked my workouts a bit and am now running longer distances than the Body for Life/Transformation program outlines. I have realized that I still LOVE to run. I can tell by my running times that I am getting faster and stronger . . . It is a great feeling.

A nice side effect of all of this is that I am getting up earlier too. Since my husband surprised me with a gym membership, I have been working out first thing in the AM. I am home, have my prayer time and ready for the day before the boys wake up. This has been one of my biggest goals, since we start homeschooling in another week, and I really need time to myself in the morning before the rush of the day starts. I feel more organized, even though my house is still messy . . . . I get more done in the day. Most importantly I FEEL GREAT. I am not sure if it was lack of exercise or lack of sleep (A was a horrible sleeper), but I was tired 98% of the time. I had no energy. Now, A is sleeping through the night (since The Great Room Change) and I am exercising 6 days a week.

My boys are so cute about the whole thing too. K likes to “workout” with me . . . We will do push ups, sit ups and jumping jacks together. J has his army men workout too. It is so neat to see them react this way.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Creating something that will last . . .

My grandmothers were very talented women. My Grandma H made my mom's wedding dress and all of the bride's maid dresses. She made my first Communion dress. She crocheted and knitted countless blankets, sweaters and doilies. My Grandma P also knitted and crocheted.

Since my Grandma P's death a few months ago, my parent's had cleaned out her house. When I went home a few weeks ago, my mom gave me a box of crocheted doilies that my grandmother had painstakingly made. I now have several knitted and crocheted blankets, doilies, and table cloths that both of these amazing women made. Most are not my "style" and I would never buy these things, but I proudly use them and have them on display in my home because I love the women that created them and I am proud to tell others that "My Grandma made that." For me, these things are daily reminders of the women who created them and the wonderful memories I have of them.

And I know that I am not the only one that has this experience. My friend Maurisa blogged about a quilt that her Grandmother made and recently gave her. My husband's uncle's house is filled with paintings created by his mom.

It has got me thinking . . . I do not make things. I am not talented in that way. I am TRYING to learn how to knit, but it has taken me months to finish a scarf. I like photography, but have not really practiced my skills with a camera in a long time. I do not scrapbook, paint or draw. What have I created that my grandkids could proudly show others and say "My Grandmother made that." I am not saying I have to create something tangible. But there is something so special about having something tangible to remember someone, a relationship by.

So, what are your thoughts? What do you "create" that you hope will get passed down to future generations of your family? Are those things tangible, or are they traditions you are creating? Do you think it is important, silly, or just a nice idea to create something tangible?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Way to Go, Mom!

Here are my small successes for the week:

1. We got home from vacation late Sunday night and I have everything unpacked and put away by the end of the day on Monday! Usually it takes me a few days!

2. We are ready to roll for school . . . I ordered the last several books I needed for J. I even got some fun activity books for K and preschool.

3. I am caught up on laundry (for the time being)!

What are you small successes? Share them at Faith and Family Live!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I need your suggestions, PLEASE!!

This is on behalf of my wonderful hubby.

Please answer these questions:

What are some things you do to get ready for the school year?
What suggestions do you have for other families as they prepare for the school year?

Please leave any tips or suggestions you have. Also, state whether you home school or your children go to public/private school.

Fill the comments section please! Thank you.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Review and Giveaway: $25 Gift Certificate to Lilly Ellen Designs

This Giveaway is Closed.
One thing I love about this Nation of ours is that the entrepreneurial spirit can been found in so many of its citizens. So many people have a dream of starting their own business and get to pursue that dream. Today, with the Internet and sites like Etsy, it is easier than ever to start your own business.

So, today, I want to focus my Made in the USA theme, on a business called Lilly Ellen. Lilly Ellen designs and handcrafts jewelry and clothing. I first found this business through Etsy and then found that they have their own website. The business is family run. Karey, designs and makes all the jewelry. She is assisted by her husband, mom and children in various aspects of the business.

I love all of Lilly Ellen's designs. My favorites are the hand stamped jewelry. I wear jewelry every day, but I do not have a lot of it. I like my jewelry to be unique, simple and beautiful and the jewelry that Karey designs fits that perfectly. I have one of her 1" stamped discs from the keepsake collection. The necklace came very quickly and was beautifully packaged in a tin nestled in shredded red paper. The necklace could have easily been sent directly to someone as a gift. When I pulled out the necklace, I was impressed by the beauty of the lettering. Lilly Ellen offers several different uppercase and lowercase font options. Many of these fonts are not often available with other similar jewelry makers. The piece came on sterling silver ball chain(You can choose an 18" or 20 " chain). The disc is a bit larger than I would have hoped, I usually wear very small pendants, but it is as described, 1". Personally, I love the piece. The quality is amazing and the price is very affordable and less than most of the other hand stamped discs I had seen.

Want One?

*Buy It: You may view and purchase all of Karey's wonderful designs at Lilly Ellen.

*Win It: One lucky reader will win a $25 gift Certificate to the Lilly Ellen site.
To enter:
1. Go to Lilly Ellen and then come back here and tell me which piece is your favorite. (The first entry MUST be completed in order to get extra entries).

Extra Entries: (please leave a separate comment for each entry):
2. Follow Me on Twitter and Tweet about the giveaway. You may use the following:

Enter to win a $25 Gift Certificate to Lilly Ellen Designs. Great, custom, handmade jewelry.

Please leave Twitter ID and Tweet url address in comment.

3. Follow me on blogger.
4. Grab my button.
5. For TWO extra entries: Blog about the giveaway. Link to this post and to Lilly Ellen. (Leave a link to the post in the comment).

Giveaway ends August 31, 2009 at 11:59 PM. You do not have to have a blog to enter. Please leave your email address in the comment if you cannot be contacted through your profile. Winner will be chosen via and will be notified via email. Winner will have 72 hours to respond.
Good Luck!


Monday, August 10, 2009

And the winner is . . . .

I am a bit behind with my giveaways since we have been on vacation, but here are the winners!!

Book: Made Here, Baby! winner is #2, The Man Crew

Planet Wise Wet Bag winner is #33, Marin

Congratulations to both of you! I will send you an email today and you will have 72 hours to email me your name and mailing address!!

Look for another giveaway tomorrow!

Simple Woman's Daybook - August 10, 2009

From the Simple Woman's Daybook.
Outside my window...

Hot and humid . . . not my kind of day.

I am thinking...
I have a lot to catch up on since being on vacation last week!

I am thankful for...

For a great vacation!

From the learning rooms...

I need to order two more things before we start . . . I plan on starting our school year in 2 weeks! Where did the summer go?

From the kitchen...
Grilled Chicken

I am wearing...

My workout clothes.

I am creating...
Nothing that I can think of at this time!

I am going...
To finish unpacking today!

I am reading . . .

I am between books . . . I need to find a new one . ..

I am hoping...

To have an easy time settling back into life at home.

I am praying . . .

For our Nation

I am hearing...

The boys playing all around me.

Around the house...

There are bags that need to be unpacked and flower beds that need to be weeded.

One of my favorite things...

Family time

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Weeding flower beds, put the finishing touches on our plans for the school year.

A picture thought I am sharing . . . A family picture from vacation.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Great new tees for kids . . .

Wild Olive Tees, a company that makes amazing Christian Tees for women, has just launched a great new line for kids. They have a new design called Chosen and some of the proceeds from this tee will go to a charity called Loved without Boundaries. You may learn more here.

And, many for their tees are made in the USA.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - August 3rd

From the Simple Woman's DayCheck Spellingbook.

Outside my window...
Perfect sunny Cape Cod Day!

I am thinking...
It is so nice to be on vacation!

I am thankful for...
Being able to be on vacation, naps on vacation (when the boys sleep and I do NOT have to clean!).

From the learning rooms...
Playing with hermit crabs, crabs and learning about why the tide goes in and out!

From the kitchen...
Spaghetti w/Meatballs

I am wearing...
Black shorts and a green tee!

I am creating...
Memories . . .

I am going...
Take a shower after I finish this post!

I am reading . . .
Several books . . .

I am hoping...
For a good rest of our vacation (notice a theme???)

I am praying . . .
For our Nation

I am hearing...
Classical music

Around the house...
K and A are napping, the rest of the house is empty!

One of my favorite things...
Having fun with my family!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Beach and ocean time! Going to the Cottage Street Bakery, my favorite bakery!