Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Study in Human Behavior

We normally try to visit the library on Thursday mornings.  Today dentist appointments meant we were not able to get there until later than usual.  Typically we arrive before the toddler/preschool storytime starts and once it lets out, we are ready to head home away from the chaos.  Today we arrived shortly after storytime let out.  Mass chaos.  Enough to make me rethink visiting the library on Thursday mornings at all.

Truly, if you gather large groups of preschoolers/toddlers and their parents in a semi-enclose public place, you get a unique chance to study modern parenting behavior.  These parents seem totally focused on making sure their parenting and their children are viewed as perfect.  Let's not even imagine disciplining said children because you might damage a child's growing ego.  Who came up with this rule?  Seriously, why are adults afraid to say no and even worse, afraid to say no in front of other people. These perfect parents must watch any other child who steps near their offspring like a hawk but remains oblivious to the fact that their child is running amok, wreaking havoc, threatening other children and being destructive with others' property.

No, my kids aren't perfect. Every single child is going to be a monster and a moron at times. So I don't really take issue with the children.  They'd been taught it is ok to behave this way.  I take issue with the parents.  Get off your butt, go get your child and make a few corrections.  Heck, maybe even make them apologize to the proprietor for destroying their property and not respecting their space.  Today I had to intervene while a little girl had a large plastic container hefted over her head and was prepared to toss it at a little boy.  At first I thought perhaps she was the bully.  Watching the children for several more minutes, it became apparent that the little girl was simply defending herself from a child who was sorely lacking parenting.  It also became apparent that neither child had a parent who was aware of what their child was doing.  I never saw the boy's mom until it was time to go at which time she picked up two babies off the floor and strapped them into a stroller while begging and pleading with her older child to come with her. Pretty please.  Meanwhile the boy was jumping on the furniture, throwing toys, chasing people and being obnoxious.  I do understand it is hard to wrangle several young children at once but this was beyond out of control.  Mom had plenty of time to have a 10 minute conversation with a librarian on the way out about her older daughter while the boy continued his antics in the adult section of the library but never once attempted to correct his behavior.  Seriously lady. Give the rest of us a break.  It was one of those days where I understood why folks get that sudden look of panic in their eyes when they see our family walk in places.  Unless you know us, you expect our kids to be just as bratty.

I think we may start going to the library on Wednesday mornings when they don't have any activities scheduled.  I have a feeling it will be a tad emptier then.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Saturday Night with Robert

Take one small child, add a cowboy hat and a bit of extra energy.  End result is some rather cute pictures.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Who Are You Supporting?

Something is weighing a bit heavily on my mind right now.  If you are pro-life, do you know where your money is going?  Are you aware of all of the organizations that actively support Planned Parenthood?  You should since I firmly believe the abortion industry has become so powerful because pro-life folks have done nothing while silently supporting abortion providers.  If you support the Susan G Komen foundation, the March of Dimes, UNICEF, Girl Scouts or the United Way, you support Planned Parenthood. If shop at Carrabba's, Outback Steak House, purchase Johnson and Johnson products or eat Ben and Jerry's, you support Planned Parenthood. The list is extensive and is available if you are interested.  It's time we started paying more attention to where we shop, bank and donate our money.  We are responsible for abortions if we continue to give money to these groups.  It takes much less than actually paying for, encouraging or participating in an abortion to be responsible for the strength of the abortion industry.  Please take a moment to reconsider where your money is going.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Another Money Saver

Just a reminder. When you have a problem with a product, don't forget to make those phone calls and send those emails about your experience.  Every time I have called a company to express dissatisfaction with one of their products, I have received coupons in the mail for replacements or for use on anything in their store.  Earlier this week a can of cooking spray from Wegmans suddenly started leaking out of the bottom of the can and spraying out of the top.  The day after calling the company, I received a coupon for a new can of spray for free.  This is the second time I've had to call Wegmans with a complaint and both times they were very quick to rectify the situation.  So don't forget to call.  And don't forget to ask for rainchecks when a store is out of an item on sale. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Star Wars at the Library

Alan took the kids to a meet and greet at the library.  They were able to get autographs and take pictures with some of their favorite Star Wars characters.

Just a Vent

Seriously, I am starting to really reconsider our son's involvement in our parish youth group.  We thought it would be a fairly safe holistic environment but I am thinking we were wrong.  I think the final straw for me was the fund raiser form that came home last night.  A fund raiser sponsored by United Way. United Way is among those organizations that we boycott due to their active support of Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in this country.  They also actively promote and support "family planning" in the form of artificial birth control.  Both abortion and artificial birth control are considered mortal sins so I have no idea how a Catholic youth group could be ok raising money for such a group.  An email has been sent to the youth group leader but I have to say I am not looking forward to a decent response. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Time to Start Working on the Freezer

Ok, not working on it but it is time to start working on clearing out some of the frozen produce from last summer that is still in our freezer.  I placed a large order from the commissary case lot sale that I have to pick up in about 10 days and I will need room for the frozen stuff in there.  And the veggies and fruit will soon start growing again so I'll need room to store them.  Which means it is time to make a few more batches of jam (I'm thinking at least 3), maybe strawberry shortcake to go with dinner tonight, we'll be having chicken and asparagus casserole tonight.  I need to ask Alan how he wants to use up the last of the rhubarb.  Amazingly enough we already used up all the spinach and I have resorted to buying it frozen from the store.  But I have absolutely no plans to turn it into spinach balls ever.  They just seem rather wrong to me.  Now I need ideas for how to use frozen squash.  It's not shredded, just sliced.  Any ideas?  I will admit that I am half tempted to just feed some of it to the chickens but somehow that seems like cheating.

It's Been Found

The missing check has been found. It was on the floor underneath a bunch of muck boots. I guess it had gotten knocked off the counter on Sunday.  Yes, I long ago stopped questioning the hows and whys of where things end up in this house.  I'm just super grateful that it's been found.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Catholic Daily Planners

I have to share this wonderful resource.  Catholic Daily Planners from Family-Centered Press. They list feast days, liturgical colors, prayers, information regarding both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Liturgy.  You can add-on meal planning pages and lesson planning pages or just get a plain planner.  Lots of new cover choices.  Love them.  Hopefully you'll like them, too.  And don't forget to check out their other products. Nature journals, books for kids and talks from conferences in mp3 format. 

St. Anthony is Needed Again

A check has gone missing. Not a big one but still, it's missing. Yup, that's why it hasn't been cashed yet in case you are wondering. :)  I am starting to think St. Anthony needs to take up permanent residence in my home.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Student Exhibition

The kids participated in our group's Student Exhibition yesterday.  This event gives all of the kids a chance to show everyone something they are particularly proud of.  Some kids put together art projects, others did research reports, some did science projects, some kids showed us their lapbooks and other kids shared their musical and dancing talents.  It was a wonderful afternoon and everyone enjoyed the chance to share with friends.  (And the pizza didn't hurt either.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Chickens Playing Chicken

Have you ever seen a chicken playing a game of chicken with a car?  I did today and it was quite funny.  The little birds can move rather quickly when they feel a car barreling towards them on the road.  One of the chickens decided to wander out onto the road.  Car comes from the other end of the street and suddenly I see the chicken running as quickly as possible back into the yard.  Yes, small things amuse me.

Art Education Major Meets Homeschooled Kids

The kids are participating in a wonderful art program at a local college.  Once a week they take classes that are taught by various art education students.  They rotate through new teachers every 4 weeks or so.  Today everyone got new teachers.  The lady teaching the 1st and 2nd grade class has obviously never had much experience with homeschooled kids before. Especially not with younger ones.  There are certain things homeschooled kids simply do not do.  It is not a part of their daily life to stand in lines so most of them really don't understand that concept.  The teacher was heard saying "Don't you know how to stand in a line?"  Well, frankly my dear, you have here a class of 15 or so kids who don't.  I think this next session will be rather interesting. I'm laughing at the notion that she has Liam and Kieran in this class together. 

Since 1773

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lesson Learned Today

We had our final gym class of the season today which means the kids spend the time in the pool.  After class the boys' locker room quickly degenerates into mass chaos since there seem to never be any fathers at these things and the male teacher chose to exit stage left as quickly as possible.  Not that I can blame him.  I think almost 2/3rds of the class was boys so he was a bit outnumbered.

One of the smaller boys decided to test the theory of going through doors that are meant to be locked.  Security guards had to be called to free the poor boy who was really rather freaked out when he realized the door locked behind him and he was stuck.  This led to me being a bit thankful that on this occasion it was not one of my boys who got into trouble.  It also led to a lecture on how you should never climb into lockers or other things that are meant to lock.  It also led me to threaten to come into the locker room if the boys did not get their butts in gear and get out NOW.  Yup, a whole slew of moms were hanging out in the hall waiting for the hoodlums, um, I mean boys, to exit the locker room.  Next time we pack a father along with us.  And they say girls take forever to get ready.  This has not been my experience in dealing with waiting outside locker rooms after swimming lessons at all.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Free BumGenius AIO Diaper

Did you know there are coupons out right now for a free BumGenius sized AIO diaper?  I love the ease of AIO's even if fitteds and prefolds are so much cheaper.  And AIO's are much easier for our older kids to manage when we are gone. Head over to Abby's Lane for more information.  Anyone want to buy a couple for my boys? :)  Just kidding, I swear.

Are We There Yet?: Those Duggars!

All I can say to what is said so eloquently here is yeah, that.

Are We There Yet?: Those Duggars!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Science Projects

The science fair projects are in progress.  Things are looking rather interesting.  Katie and Liam are attempting to peel eggs without using their hands. The older 3 boys are attempting to make a batch of home brewed root beer.  And Alan is making a batch of honey mead. 
I decided long ago that the science fair would pretty much always be something that Alan handles and I pretty much have the job of just giving a few ideas and then staying the heck out of the way.  So I will have further details and pictures after the fair on Saturday. Wish us luck.

Happy Birthday Abby!

Abby turned 4 today.  When I came downstairs this morning, she greeted me with "I'm the birthday girl! Say happy birthday to me!" which frankly is quite in line with her rather persistent and somewhat demanding personality.  Sadly Abby did not quite realize that after about an hour, folks were quite tired of hearing her announce that she was the birthday girl and you should tell her happy birthday.  I guess you just can't blame a girl for trying.
Abby requested a butterfly birthday cake and I had grand plans of making one for her but we ended up with a doctored up store bought cake instead.  Notice the giant butterfly cookies?  Abby was very happy.
We ate macaroni and cheese, cake and ice cream.  Presents were opened, games were played.  Small children were packed off to bed hyped up on sugar and artificial coloring.  Overall a great birthday, if you ask me.
Happy birthday Abby! I hope you had a wonderful day.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Swinging

I went upstairs to do some laundry and came down to find Liam pushing Abby and Gabe on the swings.  Yes, the child is wearing just a shirt and a diaper. The weather is nice, we have no neighbors and it cuts down on the laundry.  Any other questions?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Question of the Day

Question I am pondering as I am browsing Craigslist looking for a new lawn tractor.  Since we've been told we really need a larger (meaning much more expensive) tractor to mow 5 acres and the riding mowers we've purchased in the past are dead (engine died or something), wouldn't it be cheaper to just buy a goat or two?  Yup, I may have officially crossed over the line when I start thinking that way.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

When Stomach Bugs Strike. . .

When a stomach bug strikes a large family, the results simply are not pretty.  Especially when you are too sick to make it off the top bunk quickly enough.  Or when you have kids getting sick at the same time in more than one location.  And one parent is starting to get sick and the other one frankly can't afford to get sick because of a commitment that can't be changed.  So please pray that the washer can keep up with us for the rest of the week.  We'll be back as soon as we can be.

Free Samples

Yet another strange way to help keep your budget in check.  Fill out those forms for free samples.  In the past few weeks, I've received samples of dog food, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, granola bars, cereal, laundry detergent, diapers, coupons for free pizzas, body wash, baby wipes, drink mixes, books, movies and toothbrushes.  Sure, one sample won't make a difference really but if you add them all up and actually make sure you use them, they will make a difference.  And even after requesting all of these samples I have not seen an increase in the amount of spam that is showing up in my inbox.  Just might be worth a try.

Inchbug Name Labels

A must in our home would the Inchbug Name Labels for the kids' cups. In the battle to keep the amount of daily dishes to a minimum, the kids are required to put a name tag on their cup in the morning and use the same cup all day. Does it work perfectly? Well, of course not. But it does greatly cut down on the amount of cups used in a day.

Over time various labels have gone missing or gotten ripped from use. The company has also recently come out with several new colors so I can now actually get labels that are all different colors for each child. And if you order this month they have a 15% off discount code. Use the code "newcolors" and get these labels at a nice discount. Can you guess what I'll be ordering once Alan gets paid again?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

On The Homeschool Front

I do believe it is time to break out the School House Rock DVDs again.  And Liberty's Kids.  The older boys are memorizing the preamble to the constitution this week and studying a bit about the bill of rights.  Yes, we still have quite a way to go but we've got plenty of time.

Just a bit of a flash back for some of you.

We are also doing a little review work with math at the moment. One of the blessings of homeschooling is that you can put the breaks on and review something until a child truly gets it rather than having to keep plowing ahead to keep up with everyone else. So we are doing some review on fractions, decimals and percents. I guess it's one of those concepts you either grasp or you don't. I found these super cool manipulatives to help demonstrate how the three are linked. Have I mentioned that I just love hands-on stuff?

So we are still plugging along and hanging in. Hopefully we'll order some caterpillars this year so we can watch butterflies grow now that the middle and younger kids would get more out of it.

Sleep, We Need Sleep

Abby decided to get sick last night in the middle of the night.  I guess she started coughing which led to puking which then I guess set off her gag relflex.  Starting at 3 am, this process repeated itself about every 30 minutes.   Two beds are now missing sheets.  Yup, lots of extra laundry today.  But I am incredibly grateful for a husband who takes seriously the agreement we have that I get up with the babies when they are still in our room/needing to eat at night and he handles the ones who are out of our room.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bonding Time

Yup, bonding time.  And it didn't include super glue.
Liam and Katie spent close to 30 minutes sitting together coloring in Katie's new coloring book on Sunday.  No fighting, no fussing, they even shared the same book.  Amazing how sweet they can look when they are getting along.

Family Traditions

One of the things we try to do for our family is to have a few simple, concrete traditions to build our family life around.  Nothing major or expensive.  Simple stuff like a weekly family movie night, an attempt at saying the rosary as a family on a regular basis and ice cream sundaes on Sunday nights.  May I admit the last one was an attempt to declare a weekly "clean out the fridge before the leftovers start mutating in there" night with ice cream as in incentive.  Maybe that part doesn't always work but the kids do look forward to having their sundaes on Sunday.

This past Sunday was Robert's first time to have his very own sundae.  The boy was thrilled.
Look at that smile.  Nothing beats a chocolate covered sugar rush right before bed time.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Free Groceries

Yup, I'm on a bit of a free grocery kick lately.  Last week I managed to get 2 board games and 2 card games for $5 total.  Today I managed to get 4 boxes of pasta, 1 bag of chips, 1 box of cookies, 1 package of peanut butter cups and a box of bisquick for free.  This list is not representative of what we eat necessarily but I'm rather happy to get it all for free.  Since I have a ton of laundry piled up from the child who got sick last night and at least one other child who is acting sick already (and a husband who says he feels sick as well), I'll take my happy moments when I can find them.

Just Playing Around

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Egg Hunt

After Mass this morning we had an Easter Egg Hunt on the front lawn.  Just wanted to share a few of the before pictures.  As in before the chocolate coma sets in.

Alleluia! Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Resurrection Eggs

Have you seen these before?
While searching for a hands-on way to help the younger children truly grasp the meaning of Easter, I found Resurrection Eggs last year.  Yes, they've been sitting on a shelf for a year because life got crazy last Lent and many things went undone.  But Robert was worth all the extra chaos. 

This year I actually pulled them out and showed them to the kids.  Each egg contains an item that has something to do with the Easter story and the Passion of Christ.  Egg 1 contains a donkey and egg 12 is empty to signify the empty tomb on Easter morning.  Yes, all of the younger kids were able to glean something from this activity and I was able to see exactly how much of the real meaning of Easter they understood.  Yup, it's much more than the Easter Bunny, too much candy, hunting for eggs and a special dinner.  Something important for the kids (and grown-ups) to realize.

Dying Easter Eggs

One of these years I will get my act together and remember that it is not a good idea to dye eggs with the boys the night before they have to serve.  But this was not the year for me to remember that.  Sigh. I'll get with the program eventually.  But everyone had fun, there was minimal mess, little fuss, no fighting and the kids are looking forward to eating their eggs tomorrow.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

When Children Adore

Who can resist a picture of little girls stopping to say hi to Jesus?