My Blog List

Saturday, April 23, 2016

What Should We Do This Summer?

 When I was in high school and college, I used to make a list every spring of things that I wanted to do during the summer. It was a fun way to get excited about summertime, plus just an excuse for my list obsessed making self to make another list.

I've made my "50 Things To Do This Summer" list a few times since I've had kids, but it's been a few years, and my list has definitely changed to be a bit more kid and mom friendly. So here is our list for this year, some things are very specific to our family, I've made a graphic of more general fun summer activities for a Catholic family! I'll be linking up here as I blog about our summer adventures!

  1. Build a swing set
  2. Eat ice cream/popsicle/frozen yogurt
  3. Fly a kite
  4. Go to the zoo
  5. Blow bubbles
  6. Swim
  7. Visit all of the parks in the park system
  8. Plant a garden
  9. Go fishing
  10. Camp out
  11. Run a race
  12. Library summer reading game
  13. Paint something 
  14. Draw with chalk
  15. Play baseball
  16. VBS
  17. Ride bikes
  18. Watch fireworks
  19. Be flower girls (okay, so we can't all do this one)
  20. Grill
  21. Try a new recipe
  22. Make ice cream
  23. Have a party
  24. Go for a long walk
  25. Play with cousins/friends
  26. Sew something
  27. Knit something
  28. Go to the farmer's market
  29. Have a bonfire
  30. Go garage saling
  31. Pick strawberries
  32. Pick blueberries
  33. Visit Hale Farm
  34. Go to morning mass
  35. Read lots of books
  36. Movie night
  37. Ride the train at the outlet mall
  38. Go out to dinner
  39. Have a dance party
  40. Visit the splash pad
  41. Play in the rain
  42. Go to a baseball game
  43. Build a fort
  44. Go see a movie
  45. Work on a craft project
  46. Go to the fair
  47. Play in the sprinkler
  48. Have a water balloon fight
  49. Have a picnic
  50. Make s'mores

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

10 Thoughts About The 9 Month Sleep Regression

1. I am going to be stuck in this chair for the rest of my life.

2. I need to teach Elise how to make dinner.

3. Remember when I used to do things? Anything?

4. What do people who don't use baby carriers do?

5. I vow, that as soon as this sleep regression is over, that I am going to make good use of my time and always fold my laundry right out of the dryer.

6. Coffee is the best.

7. Maybe if I just move reeeeeeally slowly, I'll be able to put him down and use the bathroom alone.

8. Nope. Didn't work, back to the chair.

9. I should have put dinner in the crock pot this morning, why did I think I'd have time during "nap time"?

10. The other kids are being so quiet. That probably means they are doing something they shouldn't. I don't even care because at least that means the baby is sleeping.

Monday, March 28, 2016

People Work to Earn Money

In my somewhat failing (thanks Max!) spring cleaning attempt, I came across this gem from Noah and it was too good not to record somewhere for easy reference in the future.

Noah is going to be a race car driver, driving a car filled with water

Turkey is essential

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday

Well, today didn't turn out quite like I had planned.

After Mass last night, Nathan could not stop coughing, we had to use his albuterol inhaler for the first time in a few months, and I think the incense is to blame. So we decided to stay home from the Veneration of the Cross and give him a bit of a break before the Easter Vigil tomorrow. He already seems to be doing much better, so I think it was a good call. Kind of sad though since he probably was looking forward to going more than any of us.

It ended up being a pretty low key day, we talked a bit about what today meant, Maddie was interested to know that this was the day that Jesus died (she kept asking after Mass last night if Jesus had died yet). And then tonight, we prayed the Stations of the Cross.

I took the kids to see the Life Teen Living Stations of the Cross last week, so it was still pretty fresh in their minds as we read through each station.

We used the candle holder that my dad made when I was younger, and the kids took turns blowing out the candles after each station until we were left in darkness.

It was a nice way to end the day and really reflect on it's meaning.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Holy Thursday

These next 4 days are my favorite of the whole year, I love the anticipation of what is to come in just a few days. So much tradition. One of my favorite things about the Catholic Church is the rich history, and that what we do has meaning. 

Today we celebrate Holy Thursday, the night of the Last Supper.
Last night we talked about what that meant, we read over the story as a reminder. Nathan talked about how this is where Jesus told us that the bread and wine would become his body and blood. That this is where we get the Eucharist. 

Today we're going to be making this Last Supper craft from Catholic Icing (once we finish our chores). Thinking about baking some Judases later, and then tonight, we'll go to the Holy Thursday service at church. The kids get excited every year about the procession to the temporary chapel and waiting with Jesus. I won't even pretend I have perfect kids when it comes to behavior in Mass, but they've always been great during the Triduum. They know something is different, and they want to find out what it is.

I'll be back to update later with some pictures from our day, happy Triduum!

Monday, October 26, 2015

When you are defeated by a swing.

If you follow my posts on facebook, of if you've spoken to me in the last week and a half, you know that my life has been consumed by a swing. Or rather, the lack of a swing.

We didn't start out using the swing with Max, and then when he was about 6 weeks old, I pulled it out just for fun one day. And it was like magic.

I could get Max to take a 2 hour nap if I laid in bed with him until he fell asleep and then I would sneak away, but I could get him to take a FOUR hour nap if I put him in the swing and turned it on.

I was pretty adamant that I didn't want him to be dependent on the swing. That I would just use it on the days that I *really* needed a break and didn't have the time to devote to getting him to sleep somewhere else. I wasn't going to take the lazy way out of this, I'd be a good mom and rock or lay with my baby to help him transition to sleeping on his own one day.

But like with anything else, that didn't last long. Because who has time to lay with their fifth born child in bed for an hour just to get him to sleep one extra hour. That's hardly enough time to just do all of the things you missed doing during the hour you were laying down. Eat, pee, clean up 1/4 of the mess the toddler and preschooler made while you were ignoring them in the hopes they would just stay quiet enough for the baby to go to sleep, get some water, sit down...and then pick up the baby who is wide awake from his nap and ready for some more one on one attention.

And then of course there was the sleep regression, or growth spurt, or whatever I was calling it that day to describe the baby being a baby and making it hard for me to do, well, anything without him strapped to me.

So we started using the swing a little more, and a little more, until the afternoon nap every single day we were home, was happening in the swing. He started to rely on it a little, I started to rely on it A LOT.

And then it happened. After 8 years, 5 kids of my own, several friends and nieces and nephews using it without issue, the motor died. 

Just when I couldn't live without it.

So I did what any frugal mom does, I googled "How to fix a Fisher Price cradle swing motor" and happily found several tutorials explaining exactly how to do this. And for really really cheap. I was thrilled!

I could have bought an $8 Airwick air freshener and taken it apart and used that motor, but soldering seemed like a skill I would wait to learn another day, and I opted for the $12 motor pre soldered on ebay. ebay told me that it was estimated to arrive in about a week. I could handle that, a week with no swing.


Aside from the week before Max was born, probably the longest week of my life. Why oh why did I get so attached to being able to put him down?! I feel like by baby #5, I should just know better.

A week came and went and NO MOTOR. So far all that had been done was print a shipping label. At this point, I was already wording my disappointed feedback in my head "Don't you know that when someone orders a new baby swing motor and it's an emergency?!" "This isn't something to take your time shipping" "Lives are at stake here"

So I was a little desperate, and probably going a little crazy now that reality had set back in and I had to hold my own baby for naps again, or spend more than 30 seconds getting him down for a nap.

Finally, a week and a half later, the motor arrived. I felt like it was Christmas. Miraculously, Max was taking the longest nap he'd taken during all of this, so I had plenty of time to pop out the old motor and put in the new one while Maddie napped and Elise played quietly watched a movie in the other room.

And then I actually watched the whole video about replacing this thing. It was more complicated than I had imagined.

20 some screws removed and an hour later, I'd taken the entire swing apart. Wires everywhere, grease all over my hands, too many screws to remember where they even went if I ever got it back together again.

Here was the moment of truth, what I had been waiting for, dreaming of for a week and a half. The video tutorial told me that if I had it all connected right, when I turned the swing on, the little lever inside would stare moving back and forth at the speed of the swing. If it was moving slowly, all that meant was that I had the wrong wires attached and I had to reverse the polarity by switching the wires.

I was feeling rather proud of myself at this point, I had a problem and I fixed it myself, even if it was way more complicated that I originally thought it would be.
I turned the swing on and held my breath, it moved! But slowly. No big deal, just switch the wires. Easy enough after everything I'd been through.

Switched the wires, turned it on again...and nothing. Wouldn't even turn on.

Adjusted it a million more times, switched wires back and forth to try and figure out this issue. Read 5 million comments on the video from people saying "Wow! It worked perfectly!" searching for just one that had the same issue as me. Nothing.

It's sitting in my dinning room still taken apart wires everywhere and a pile of screws, and I'm searching facebook garage sale pages for a *new* swing...while holding a sleeping baby.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pumpkin and Coconut Curried Black Beans and Rice

It's that time of year again! And I don't have morning sickness this year making it impossible for me to even look at pumpkin without feeling sick. So more pumpkin recipes to try out!

This one was really different from my normal pumpkin recipes I try out, but it was really good! I was nervous the kids wouldn't like it, but they even asked for seconds! Anthony said "It was actually alright" which is a pretty high rating from someone who hates pumpkin.

I skipped the cilantro because I didn't have it on hand, but I bet it would have been an interesting garnish!

And no pictures, because...I just forgot to take any.

Pumpkin and Coconut Curried Black Beans and Rice
  • 1 green pepper, chopped (Optional. I've done it both ways, and either way is great.)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. black beans, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups water or 6 cups if you don't have stock
  • Cilantro
  • Plain yogurt
  1. Saute green pepper and onion for 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and saute for another minute.
  3. Add sauteed vegetables and all other ingredients except cilantro and yogurt to slow-cooker
  4. Set the slow-cooker on high and let it go about 8 hours.
  5. Check water level from time to time, adding more if necessary to prevent burning.
  6. Garnish with cilantro and a dollop of plain yogurt.

    Original recipe found here