Nesting much?

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So, this past weekend you would have thought I drank a pot of coffee.
I think it was a combination of getting to sleep in until past 9:00 (thanks so very much to an awesome husband!) and nesting kicking in BIG time.

I spent most of Friday cleaning out closets, clothing tubs in the basement, and drawers–I’m talking so much cleaning out that my husband was begging me to sit down before I either went into labor or put myself out of commission for the next few days.

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My friend, Shannon, had recently told me about her latest purging obsession and how she was sending clothes into thredUP. Here’s the great thing about thredUP: they send you a bag (no charge to you), you fill it up with your unwanted clothing items, and you ship it back to them (postage has already been paid by them). They then go through your bag and give you credit on their website for items you sent in which, in turn, you can shop for new-to-you clothing items in their shop! Women’s clothing, children’s clothing, shoes, handbags–hello, free shopping trip!

And the best part? I can do this guilt-free. I’m really awful about hanging onto things because “What if we need it?” or “____________ gave it to me! I can’t throw it out!” But this way, I can either get some $ for it or they give it away to a charity for me. Problem solved.

Guess what? You can get an automatic $10.00 credit JUST for signing up with thredUP!

Follow this link to get your $10.00 credit!

And let the closet purging begin!

‘Round Here: Summer Edition

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Ahhhhhh.

Do you hear that?  It’s the sound of a (relatively) blank schedule for the next three weeks until we have this baby.

July 15th, people–write it down.  I’ll take all the prayers I can get.

We signed the boys up for swim lessons this summer because toting soon-to-be-five kids to the pool when NO ONE knew how to swim was starting to sound a bit, um, overwhelming and slightly dangerous.

Eight sessions.  30 minutes each.  $100.00 total for the boys.

My husband and I are still REALLY trying to get used to the prices of recreational activities in a big city vs. the small towns we grew up in.

The lessons, however, were worth it as the boys were terrified to get their faces near the water before they started, and now they can go under water and not hold their noses.

The swimming on their own thing still has to come, and I’m trying to figure out if the pool would swap lessons for a kidney in order to get them swimming on their own because, you know, dinero.

On a side note, I quickly realized on Day 1 that I was the only mom there who was not sitting around in a swimsuit.  I watched to see if they were going to hop in with their child to assist, but they didn’t.  Apparently they all knew each other and sent a memo out about wearing swimsuits to their kids’ swim lessons, and uh, I didn’t get that memo.  So, when I came walking up with a 3 year-old hanging off my arm and 1 year-old in the stroller dressed in my jersey knit skirt and shirt, I stood out just a little bit.  And then I stood out for the next seven lessons as well.

And it wasn’t because four out of the eight days E dressed herself and had her shirt on backwards.  Or her skirt on inside out.

Ahem.  Right on top of that motherhood thing, Rose.

Where were we?

On their last day of lessons, however, the boys showed off just how brave they really are now:

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He might be older, but he is definitely the more timid of the two.

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This kid had the instructor on her toes the entire eight days due to his sudden new-gained confidence in the water.

He also had his mom on heart palpitation watch.

 

What else says “summer?”

Oh, yes–cucumbers.

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We had our first harvest two nights ago.  One beautiful cucumber that we sliced up and savored around the table before dinner was ready.

Last night, we cut some Swiss Chard to make a salad to have with dinner.  D, who was apparently a rabbit in a past life, loves salad and couldn’t get enough of the Swiss Chard.

Go ahead, son.  Eat as much Vitamins A, C, and K as you like.

Today, we harvested another cucumber that will go nicely with another Swiss Chard salad tonight.

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I grew that guy.

From seed.

I’m slightly impressed with myself–if you can’t tell.

(Thank you, St. Fiacre, for the prayers!)

And I fought off 43 mosquitoes in the 30 seconds I was outside snipping him off the vine.

Now we’re just waiting for the tomatoes (some nearly the size of my fist) to start ripening up.

Because when they do, this will happen:

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From Two Peas and their Pod, might I present “Caprese Garlic Bread?”  Drizzled with balsamic vinegar…

Hurry up, tomatoes.  Tick, tock.

And what else says summer?

Watermelon.

I’m happy to say the one watermelon plant that we got to grow–the heirloom variety that P picked out that boasts 75+ pound watermelon–has seven blossoms on the vine…so far.

If we have 525 pounds of watermelon in our backyard, you’re all invited for an end-of-summer watermelon party.

True story.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

 

I walk through the garden alone…

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Cucumber blossoms.  Everywhere you look.  If all of these blossoms turn into cucumbers, we’re going to have to set up our own farmer’s market in the front yard.

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I’m not complaining.  Tonight we shall dine like kings.

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We thought we would plant some Swiss Chard underneath the cucumber trellis.  It could grow while the cucumbers provided a nice amount of cool shade.  We overestimated our Little Shop of Horrors cucumber plants.  There’s Swiss Chard in there–I promise.

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I’m amazed when looking back on pictures from just two weeks ago how tall the cucumber plants have grown.  They are now completely over the top of the trellis.  Meanwhile, P’s watermelon plant in the bottom right-hand corner is growing beautifully.

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Speaking of Little Shop of Horrors plants, the tomato plants are now taller than I am.

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Apparently planting 8 plants together (I had thought 2 of them weren’t going to make it, but they proved me wrong!) makes a tomato jungle.

But it’s cool because…this:

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And as a little experiment, I have let one lone strawberry start to grow while still plucking blossoms off the rest of the plants for a better harvest next year.

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I am so grateful to God for the rain we have had this spring–not too much, not too little.

I’m grateful for the creeping temperatures which will make the cucumbers and tomatoes happy.

And I’m grateful the squirrels have finally lost interest in the garden–VICTORY IS MINE!

St. Fiacre, ora pro nobis!

 

 

Week 35 photo…

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Week 35 photo...

A baby app on my phone tells me that baby is as big as a coconut this week. Yesterday marked the one-month-til-the-day date. Four weeks until this little guy makes his debut!

St. Joan of Arc Academy: What’s goin’ down during 2014-2015

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Well, now that the Kansas City Catholic Homeschooling Conference is over, I’m in the final stages of getting everything rounded up for school.

This means packages are arriving on my doorstep which is one of my most favorite times of the year–GLORIOUS SCHOOLBOOKS!

Many people who asked me about Catholic Schoolhouse this year wanted to know how/what we do in our home school.  So, I thought I would write a post about what this year holds for each child.

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E (3):

Catholic Heritage Curricula’s Handwriting for Kindergarten.  I got a little annoyed looking at different writing book for kids her age, and I figured if I end up buying this book again next year…and again the next year, I’m okay with that.  She learns both uppercase and lowercase letters in this book, so it’s a great start for her since she is so eager.  We’re on day four of this book, and she couldn’t be happier in the mornings to do school.

Rod and Staff’s Counting with Numbers.  Seeing her older brothers working on math, she has been asking for a math book.  I really like this book by Rod and Staff as it teaches her to write the numbers 1-10, and there are simple exercises like, “Count how many turtles are in the box.  Circle the correct number below.”  She la-la-la-LOVES this book four days in.

Catholic Schoolhouse.  E loved doing CSH last year (2 years-old going on three!), and she’s VERY excited to do it again this year.  She will pick up Geography, History, Art, Music, Latin, and more in Year 1 this year, and I love that she loves it!

(Disclaimer:  If your 3 year-old does not want anything to do with school, let it go, and don’t freak out.  I’ve had moms tell me that starting the kids too early ruins them, but all I’m doing is going with what their interests are.  If E decides she’s done in a few weeks or months, I will not be pushing her.  For now, she’s excited, and I’m running with it.)

 

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D (5): First grade

Modern Curriculum Press Phonics Level A.

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Here’s the deal.  I la-la-la-LOVED the Little Angel Readers and workbooks for my first son.  He loved them, I loved them–they were great.  My second born, however, decided that the “g” and the “a” in the Little Angel Readers were NOT real letters because that was not how he wrote them.

Sigh.

So, the search was on to find some readers and Phonics workbooks that showed the “g” and the “a” in a normal font that resembled how he wrote the letters.

As for readers?  I think I’m just going to type up the stories out of Little Angel Readers using a better font.  For Phonics, enter MCP’s Phonics Level A book.  Guess what?  Regular letters.

The word “playing” below illustrates what I’m talking about:

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Case closed.  Problem solved.  He hugged me when I showed him the book, so I will take that as a positive sign.

 

Our Lady of Victory’s Living in God’s Love, Book 1:  Our Heavenly Father for religion along with Catholic Schoolhouse’s religion.

Why do we like Our Lady of Victory?  Way back when we decided to go with Mother of Divine Grace as a curriculum (what?  Three years ago?  Feels like forever ago.), we were unsure if  the religion books could possibly start confusing our kids as they have attended the Traditional Latin Mass as opposed to the Novus Ordo Mass.  So, we came upon Our Lady of Victory who bases all of their religion books on the Traditional Latin Mass.

Once again, case closed.  Problem solved.

D will be working with the “Living in God’s Love” book this year as it is based on the St. Joseph’s First Holy Communion catechism, which is what we prep our kids with before receiving their First Holy Communion.   At this point, D will be able to memorize the answers, however, we’re pretty sure the maturity level he’s at right now might mean he will be seven before he receives for the first time.

 

Saxon Math 1.  He is halfway through this book/workbook already, so our pattern seems to be ordering new math books around January.

 

Maps, Charts, and Graphs:  Neighborhoods, Book B.   He enjoys maps, and we look at maps so often with Catholic Schoolhouse, so we thought this would be a great way for him to work on basic map skills.  It’s his favorite book to work in.

 

Catholic Heritage Curricula’s My VeryFirst Catholic Speller.  No, I’m not giving the child spelling tests yet.  This CHC book works on short vowel sounds at first and then goes to long vowel sounds, and guess what?  No weird fonts that confuse him.  It’s basically a good reinforcement for his reading.

 

Catholic Heritage Curricula’s Handwriting:  Level 1.  Working on printing his lowercase letters better this year, and this book is perfect for it.

 

Catholic Schoolhouse.  He is VERY excited to learn what’s going down in Year 1 this year:  American History from the 1400′s to modern day.  He has seen the art and science projects, talked about fieldtrips with me–he’s excited.  He loves the songs on the CD’s and can still sing them from last year.

 

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P (7):  Third grade

Seton’s English 2 and 3 for Young Catholics.  We started English 2 this last January when I noticed that he had memorized all of the Catholic Schoolhouse Memory Work when it came to Language Arts.  He could tell me that “a noun is a word that names a person, place, thing, or idea,” or the rules for capitalizing letters or the different types of sentences.  When I would ask him to apply that, however, he struggled.  So, I bought him English 2 in January to start applying everything he was learning in CSH.  He is FLYING through this book, and now he knows not only the rules (thanks to CSH) but how to actually use them when writing.  He will start English 3 whenever he finishes English 2.

 

While perusing the Seton table and trying to explain to the nice man working there that I did NOT wish to enroll, but thank you, I noticed they had a book entitled “The Catholic Faith Comes to the Americas.”  In Catholic Schoolhouse this year, we will definitely be talking about this exact topic, so I thought this would be a great little supplemental book he could do every once in awhile since he is my kid who will sit down with workbooks and actually LIKES them.

 

Catholic Heritage Curricula’s My Catholic Speller Levels A and B.  When he finishes Level A, we’ll head right on into Level B.  I really like the way CHC does their spelling books.

 

Cursive handwriting book.  I can’t remember off the top of my head which one I bought, but the kid wanted to learn cursive last year, so we bought a book.  He’s ready for another one to keep going.  First born, much?

 

Saxon Math 2/3.  Once again, we ordered Saxon Math 2 around January, and he’s halfway through.  He’ll be ready for Saxon Math 3 probably around January.

 

Our Lady of Victory’s Living in God’s Grace.  This is what we will be doing to add to the Catholic Schoolhouse religion, and he will also be attending catechism class each week taught by our priest who uses the Baltimore Catechism as his basis.  This book from OLOV is based on questions from the Baltimore Catechism, it’s definitely easy for him to read, and there are great stories in the book to reinforce the catechism questions.

 

Catholic Schoolhouse for art, music, science, latin, geography, etc.  He is so excited and asks if we can start already every…single…day.

 

As for a book list, here is a list I’m currently compiling.  Most are historical fiction because they go perfectly with what we will be learning in Catholic Schoolhouse.  Some will be read-alouds at breakfast, lunch, and after dinnner, and some will be books for P to read on his own as they are right up his reading alley at the moment.

  • Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha by Father Lovasik, S.V.D.
  • Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton by Father Lovasik, S.V.D.
  • Father Marquette and the Great Rivers by August Derleth
  • Christopher Columbus:  Discoverer by Alberta Powell Graham
  • Mother Seton and the Sisters of Charity by Alma Power-Waters
  • George Washington:  Boy Leader by Augusta Stevenson
  • The Story of Thomas Alva Edison by Enid Lamont Meadowcroft
  • Mother Cabrini:  Missionary to the World by Frances Parkinson Keyes
  • Phoebe the Spy by Judith Berry Griffin
  • Kit Carson and the Wild Frontier by Ralph Moody
  • The Muddy Road to Glory by Stephen W. Meader
  • The Building of the First Transcontinental Railroad by Adele Nathan
  • St. Katharine Drexel:  Friend of the Neglected by Ellen Tarry
  • The Story of George Washington by Enid Lamont Meadowcroft
  • The Story of Robert E. Lee by Iris Vinton
  • The Story of Ulysses S. Grant by Jeannette Covert Nolan
  • The Wright Brothers:  Pioneers of American Aviation by Quentin Reynolds
  • The Lewis and Clark Expedition by Richard L. Neuberger
  • John James Audobon by Margaret and John Kieran
  • Everyday Things in American Life, 1776-1876 by William Chauncy Langdon
  • Everyday Things in American Life, 1607-1776 by William Chauncy Langdon
  • All About Electricity by Ira M. Freeman
  • Great Men of Science by Sanford Simmons

 

 

 

‘Round here…

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Because clearly this is how you play chess.

E:  “I moved my pope.”

Me:  “It’s called a ‘bishop.’”

E:  “Yep.  I moved my pope.”

Me:

E:  “What does this castle guy do?”

Me:  “That’s called a rook.”  (Sometimes I look back and realize why my kids are so frustrated with me:  answering their questions with responses that don’t answer their questions.)

E:  “Oh.  A roast.  What does a roast do?”

 

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(After I walked out of our room, fully dressed in a skirt and long-sleeved maternity shirt)

D:  “Your armpits look GREAT today, Mom!”

Me:  “…Thanks, son.  I feel like a princess.”

 

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(Husband had to work from home on Monday due to power outage at work.)

Me, racing into bedroom:  “Want to see the squirrel in our bush?!”

Him:  “This is why I stayed home.”

 

I read aloud a few chapters from “Happy Times in Noisy Village” last night after dinner.  One of the chapters was about an April Fool’s joke the kids played on their teacher.  I saw the wheels spinning in D’s head after the chapter ended.

D:  “DAD!  DAD!  COME HERE!  THERE’S A SQUIRREL IN THE BUSH!  COME LOOK!”

Husband (knowing what they were up to):  “Where?”

D:  “APRIL FOOL’S JOKE!”

Husband, pointing:  “Oh, there it is!  Right there!”

(All the kids run to the window)

Kids:  “WHERE?!  WHERE?!  I DON’T SEE HIM!”

Husband:  “JUNE 10th!”

I nearly fell out of my chair laughing.  The kids were not nearly as amused.

 

 

My husband called from work yesterday.

Him: “How is your day going?”

Me (whispering): “I may or may not be standing on a chair, videotaping the birds at the feeder right now.”

Him:

Me: “I think you married a crazy bird lady.”

Him: “Yes. Yes, I did.”

Me:

Him: “Well, I’m gonna go now…”

 

Well, crazy or not, guess what I saw at the feeder yesterday?  A White-Breasted Nuthatch.

Yeah.

I know.

Let me bowl you over with my amazing knowledge of birds now.

It’s the little black and white bird that flies up to the feeder in–TA-DA!!!!!–this professional-looking (pause here for laughter) video I captured yesterday.

And in the video below (hey–where are you going?!  COME BACK!)  you can see two oh-so-elusive female house finches at first until either a Eurasian Tree Sparrow or a House Sparrow bullies his way in there.

So far, we have seen the following birds at the feeder:

  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • House Finch
  • Eurasian Tree Sparrow OR House Sparrow (can’t tell yet)
  • Mourning Dove (it landed on top of the feeder, and it had no idea what to do–it was hilarious…and a huge fattie compared to the other birds hangin’ out)
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Cardinal
  • Squirrel (yesterday, one jumped from the roof to the top of the feeder, and it had the “deer-in-the-headlights” look while the feeder swung wildly all over the place.  It finally launched itself straight toward our window and then fell backwards into the bushes.  It was the most exciting 10 seconds of our day, and I thought B was going to die of excitement.  Did I call my husband at work to tell him about it?  Yes.  Yes, I did.  Lucky guy!)

My goal is to see this bird:

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The Painted Bunting.

My dreams will be complete once I see this bird in real life.

And then you get to quit reading about birds on this blog and can continue reading about them over at ol’ Father Z’s blog.

 

Today the kids and I went to the library for “Legos at the Library.”  I thought this was going to be a session where they taught kids to build different things with legos, but it instead turned into a one-hour-free-for-all-play-with-legos session.  The boys played with the miniatures, E played with the duplo size, and B played with the Mega Blocks on the floor.  Everyone had a great time (minus B who needed a nap and wanted everyone to know).  We then had to go to the UPS store and ship some things.  “Taylor,” the guy helping us was shocked that I had four kids with another one on the way and told us a GREAT little story about how his parents wanted, like, six kids, but then they had three and decided enough was enough.

Thanks, Tay.  Great story for the kids.

Then an older woman came in who said, “FOUR KIDS?!”  while holding a large box.

“With one on the way,” I said, smiling.

“Good luck, everyone, with THAT,” she said as she walked out of the store.

Ahhh.  Thanks, Random Elderly Lady.  Great memory for the kids.

(Note to self:  next time the elderly lady says, “FOUR KIDS?!” I need to say, “Well, the other sixteen are out in the car…”  just to see the look on her face.)

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So, I then heard a voice from above–

WAIT!  Where are you going?  I was just kidding!

–telling me that we made it through Legos at the Library and the UPS store without any major issues, and now it was lunchtime, so Chick-fil-a for everyone to celebrate.  Hurrah!

 

And if you read this whole post to the very end, you, too, should reward yourself with Chick-fil-a to celebrate.

 

Happy Wednesday.

 

 

 

After the Rain…

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(One of these days I should really just grab my GOOD digital camera before walking outside.

For now, the iPhone will have to do.)

It has been raining for several days in a row.  Not torrential downpours that cause our basement to leak and our blood pressure to rise, but a nice rain.

The kind that makes it seem like autumn.  

The kind that is good for the garden.

The kind that reminds us of all the beauty around us.

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Just a few water droplets hanging out with the chives…

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Proof that fungus can still be beautiful…

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An all-too-often overlooked weed that reminds me to pause and see beauty in everything…

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A most perfect tendril from a cucumber plant…

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The smallest of maple trees goes unnoticed most of the time…

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Plenty to drink after feasting on the flowers of a strawberry plant…

 

“The earth has music for those who listen…”  –George Santayana

 

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