Monday, November 24, 2014

Four Books to Read Before Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is only a few days away. I have no idea what I will be cooking to bring to the family dinner at my sister-in-law's house.

But I do know what books I will be reading out loud to Thomas and Ralph this week.

In November is a beautifully written and illustrated book. With its descriptive prose and stunning pictures, the changes of the season are brought to life.

I have been reading This First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Story to my boys since my oldest was in elementary school. All three of my boys have loved hearing the story and finding the turkey and tiny bunnies that are present in almost all of the illustrations.

Thanksgiving Is Here! is my favorite book about Thanksgiving. It reminds me of our large multi-generational family gathering with adults and lots of children. The illustrations are warm and beg to be studied and discussed. I look forward to reading it with the boys every year. 

The Thanksgiving Story is a chapter book with pictures. It tells the story of the Hopkins family and their adventures as they cross the sea, live in a new land, meet new people, and give thanks to God for all he has given them.  

All links are Amazon Associate links. If you make a purchase at Amazon through one of the links, I will earn a few cents to use towards buying my family more books. Thanks for your support!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Lip Scrub

Cracked and dry lips are not fun! I have tried many different exfoliates for my lips through the years, but my favorite is one that I make myself with ingredients that are always in my pantry. It works beautifully and tastes good, too! Brown sugar is a natural, gentle exfoliate. It helps remove dead skin, but it will not irritate sensitive skin. Apricot seed oil is a lightweight moisturizer that is safe for all skin types. I always keep it on hand to use on my face and body. *I recommend purchasing one that is food grade for this scrub. Cinnamon draws blood to the surface of the skin, causing it to plump and swell. Cinnamon adds the "wow" factor to a lip scrub. Vanilla extract has a soothing scent and antioxidants that may help to improve skin tone.  

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Scrub 

1 cup brown sugar 
1/3 cup apricot seed oil
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract 

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and store in an airtight container. Gently rub onto lips in a circular motion for a minute or two and rinse with warm water. Use on lips a few times a week to help lips stay smooth and soft. May also be used on your body to exfoliate dry skin.  

*I use NOW Foods Apricot Kernel Oil (Liquid), 16 oz (Amazon Associates link) for over a year now in my oil cleanser and as a moisturizer on my body. It is considered food grade. My skin is sensitive, and it has never irritated it. It is lightweight and absorbs well. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Week in My Life 2014 {Saturday and Sunday} and 10 More Things About Me {a Liebster}

I fell behind on documenting a Week in My Life 2014 and linking-up with Kathryn at Team Whitaker.

My weekend was busy. I spent Saturday morning preparing my science lesson for co-op on Monday. I ended up with six pages of notes, one video to show, and four demonstrations. It was worth the work because the kids enjoyed it! 

Classically Catholic Memory for the win!

Then the boys and I went to Maryland for a family birthday party. Sunday I spent the day winding balls of wool to felt for dryer balls. 
Felted and ready to use! 

We went to the Sunday evening Mass. After Mass, Chris and the boys went home, but I visited my mother-in-law for a little conversation and ice cream. 

I am so happy that I documented my week! 

Since I took so long to finish up my weekend post, I am going to combine it with another one that has been sitting in my drafts folder. 

 Laura at String of Pearls picked me for a Liebster award many weeks ago. She is the sweetest! 

1. Do you have a favorite saint, and what drew you to him or her? 

I do! I am fond of St. Rita, St. Gerard, and St. Anthony

2. Do you have a best loved book that you have read multiple times? (And will  you probably read it again?) Or do you always just read a book once and pass it on to others? 

Absolutely! I reread my favorite stories. Rereading them is like visiting with old friends. My best-loved book is Jane Eyre. It is a favorite of mine to reread and to listen on audio while I knit or stitch. 

3. What is your family's Christmas Eve tradition? 

We spend Christmas Eve with my side of the family. My mother, her siblings, and their children. It is one of the only days that we all spend together. It is fun!

4. When you dress up in heels, do you wear panty hose/tights, or do you go bare legged?

In the summer, I go bare legged, but during the cooler months I wear tights and panty-hose. Although, I rarely wear regular sheer panty-hose. For example, yesterday I wore a pair of dark grey hose with a small pattern on them. They are fun, but also tasteful, in my opinion. 

5. How did you and your husband meet? 

We met in high school. A mutual friend introduced us. Although, I had known who he was for awhile because he had a bit of a notorious personality. You can read about how we met here.

6.What is your go to prayer in time of distress? 

I love to pray the Hail Mary or ten when I am worried or feeling scared (like after waking up from a nightmare). When I say that I am praying for you I usually ask Our Lady to intercede on your behalf. 

7.Where is the one place in the world you would visit if you could? 

For some reason, this question is proving hard for me to answer. There are a lot of places that I want to visit, but nowhere that I feel like I HAVE to visit, so they are all equal in desire. Honestly, some places that I feel I should want to visit, are low on my list because they are so foreign and/or crowded. World traveler, I am not. I want to see the Northern Lights in person, so anywhere I can see them in a quiet manner would be good for me. 
8. How many siblings do you have? 

I am an only child. 

9. Are you a worrier? 

I am a worrier, especially at 3:00 in the morning. 

10. What if any sport do you enjoy watching the most? 


Great questions, Laura. Now it is my turn to ask questions and tag a couple other bloggers to answer them. 

I tag Christina @ A Catholic Reversal and Bobbi @ Revolution of Love Blog

As for my questions, I am cheating a little. I asked these questions earlier in the year, but no one played along, so I am asking them again. 

1. How old were you when you first learned how to read?

2. What was your favorite book when you were ten years old? 

3. What was your favorite song when you were thirteen years old? 

4. Which do you prefer to watch Star Wars or Star Trek?

5.  Do you know what fictional character felt "thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread" and do you ever feel that way?

6. Do you prefer heels or flats? 

7. What is the craziest color that you have dyed your hair? 

8. If someone gave you $1000 and told you had two hours to spend it (but not to pay your bills) what would you buy? 

9. If you had to choose between fighting an alien or a zombie, which one would you pick? 

10. Who is the better cook you or your husband? 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Week in My Life 2014 {Friday}

Joining Kathryn at Team Whitaker for the Week in My Life 2014 link-up.

on our way to our meeting

where we pray

visiting with a friend on her birthday

view from her backyard

Every month we meet up with our homeschool support group on the second Friday, so it being the second Friday of November we spent the morning with our friends at a local church. This month we met for rosary, snacks, and social time. I brought the jumbo sized box of Cheez-Its. It is always a hit! After the meeting, the boys and I visited the grocery store for cat food and a single serving of cake. Then we went home; they ate a quick lunch of nachos (leftovers truly are wonderful), and they packed their overnight bags for a stay with my mother. She picked them up, and they happily left with smiles on their faces. I cleaned the kitchen, and then wrote my post for Thursday. Then I grabbed the cake and headed on over to visit my friend for her birthday. We spend several hours laughing and talking, and she fed me a delicious dinner (on her birthday, she is super sweet). Then I came home and cooked a little dinner for Chris. We had the house to ourselves. It was nice to talk to him without any interruptions. Finally, we turned on season 5 of Walking Dead because he was behind on a few episodes, and we made it through a couple before we fell asleep. 

Friday was a great day!

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Week in My Life 2014 {Thursday}

Joining Kathryn at Team Whitaker for the Week in My Life 2014 link-up

Thursday morning we enjoyed hot apple oatmeal for breakfast. Then my sister-in-law, Kelly, left two of her children with me to watch while she took her two-month-old twins to the doctor's office for a check-up. 

Ralph and Thomas love when their cousins come for a visit. They used to live four houses up the street, but now they live about an hour away. We miss them a bunch! 

The babies got shots while at the doctor's office and they were not happy. Poor guys! 

My sister-in-law brought the items to make this recipe, Baked Brie with Apples and Salted Caramel. Yum! 

Then a friend of ours came over with her youngest daughter and brought us donuts. I had donuts twice in four days. That is unusual for me! 

 We spent several hours enjoying each other's company. They left, and I cleaned for about two hours and finished preparing dinner. We ate pulled pork sandwiches, cooked carrots and a dill pickle on the side. Not my most creative dinner, but everyone was happy. Then we watched the Biggest Loser, and I read part of our current chapter book to Thomas and Ralph before they went to bed. I was tired and ready for bed, but I had forgot to put our sheets in the dryer. We only have one set of sheets. Thankfully, sheets dry quickly. I made myself a cup a tea, checked Facebook and Pinterest, and before I knew it our sheets were dry. I made the bed, and then quickly fell asleep. 

Thursday was a day spent with family and friends. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Week in My Life 2014 {Wednesday}

Joining Kathryn at Team Whitaker for the Week in My Life 2014 link-up.

Wednesday I woke an hour earlier than I usually do. I knew that we had a busy day ahead of us, so I got all of us moving early. Schoolwork was started and finished in record time, although, in all honesty, I did raise my voice a couple times. Then we all took showers and got dressed for the day and loaded into our minivan. Our first stop was the bank. Our second and last stop was Sam's Club. 


When we got home, we unloaded the trunk and then started putting our things away. Although some of the items stayed on the kitchen table for hours.

The perk of making a large crock-pot full of soup on Monday is that we get to eat it for lunch several days in a row! Yum!

After the boys ate lunch, my friend and her son stopped by for a visit. We sat and chatted for hours while Ralph and her son had fun fighting bad guys in the backyard.

Thomas ate dinner at a friend's house. Chris had to work the closing shift at one of the stores he supervises so he wouldn't be home until after midnight. Holden worked the closing shift at his job, as well. That meant that I only needed to cook dinner for Ralph and myself, so leftover nachos from the night before it was! Once Thomas came home from his friend's house, we watched the Voice (final show of the week), and I read a section of our chapter book before putting the boys to bed. Then I climbed into my bed with plans to read an actual book for a couple hours. So, of course, I looked at Facebook and Pinterest. At 11:15 I went down to the kitchen to make an apple oatmeal recipe that I found on Pinterest.

Fifteen minutes later I was back in bed. I read for about 30 minutes, then sent a good-night text to Chris, and turned off the light. 

Wednesday was fun! 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Week in My Life 2014 {Tuesday}

I am joining Kathryn at Team Whitaker for Week in My Life 2014

I am loving taking pictures throughout our day. And let me tell you, I didn't realize how much we did until I starting taking pictures of everything! 

Here are the highlights!

I started my day with a cup of black coffee and read the Blessed is She daily devotion.
Then the boys and I ate a quick breakfast and started their schoolwork. They listened and did their work without complaining. It was a good school day. 

There are days when homeschooling is the hardest thing that I do, but I love teaching my boys. I LOVE spending my day with them. I can not imagine doing anything else with my life. Maybe one day I will have a job outside of my home, but not yet. 

The boys stayed on task and finished their work early. Then we had a quick lunch of leftover soup. 

After lunch, Ralph and Thomas played games while Holden watched them for me. First I went to Kohl's armed with a stack of coupons. I bought Ralph, the boy that is growing too fast, a new MineCraft t-shirt and a sweater. I saved a total of $51! Awesome! 

Next I stopped by my mother's house for a 10 minute chat before I headed to my doctor's appointment. She is a public transportation driver, and she had just finished her shift. She looked cute in her uniform. 

My doctor's appointment went okay. I have to have a few more tests, but hopefully I will know more in two weeks. After my appointment, I made a quick stop at the grocery store for a few items, drove home, made dinner, cleaned the kitchen, and finally sat down to knit and watch the Voice. 

Finally, exhausted, I went to bed. Tuesday was a productive day. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Week in My Life 2014 {Monday}

Well, hello there! It has been almost two weeks since I last posted anything here. I have been busy, and I haven't been feeling well. Time just kept moving forward, but I didn't make time to sit down and write about any of it.

Kathryn of Team Whitaker is hosting A Week in My Life. Kathryn writes, "Feel free to share your life in photos, words or videos. Trust me, no matter what you share you will look back on this week and BE GLAD you did it."

I need some glad feelings; everyday blessings to look back on and be thankful for, so I am going to join her. Too often, I move through my day, accomplishing tasks, but not noticing. Then I go to bed and wake up the next morning to do it all again. I think slowing down through the day to take pictures will help me to see that my day to day life is full and beautiful. 

This was not our Monday for co-op, so we stayed home all day. We did our school work in our pajamas. Okay, I was the one that stayed in pajamas. Thomas and Ralph wore regular clothes. Thomas did his math by himself, while I helped Ralph with his math, language arts, and reading. Then Thomas and I went over his spelling lesson, and we discussed grammar. Then the three of us sat or sprawled in the back room for history, science, and memory work. 

I threw together a very easy dinner, Spicy Chicken and Bean Soup in the crock-pot. I just bought my crock-pot last Monday after not having one for many years. I am so happy that I purchased this one. I have used it three times in a week. I love it! 

In afternoon, Thomas and Ralph watched The Hobbit, and I tidied up around the house. Then Holden came home from his early afternoon class. He bought me a donut and a diet soda (it is on Instagram);  I enjoyed them both.  We talked about his English class, and then he left for work. I felt a little guilty about my indulgence, so I poured myself a large glass of ice water and tripped my way through a very old Biggest Loser workout DVD. I kept it low impact because of pain that I have been experiencing on and off lately (I see my doctor today).  

Chris came home from work while I was bouncing around and asked me, "Why are you working out in your pajamas?" I replied, "Why not?" I finished about 30 minutes of the workout and then took a shower. 

Then we ate dinner as a family, watched a little of The Voice, and I worked on my new knitting project, which is another scarf knit with lovely alpaca yarn. Then Chris and the boys went to bed, and I watched The Walking Dead. Then I finally went to bed myself. 

Monday was a great day! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My Fall and Winter Wardrobe {2014}

I knew I needed to clean my closet and get rid of a lot of stuff that I was never going to wear again.

I finally got the kick in the pants I needed first, by Kendra's daily devotion at Blessed is She and then again by Kendra's post, An Inspired Capsule Wardrobe. Kendra was my first inspiration, but there is a ton of information about capsule wardrobes and simple, clutter-free closets on the internet. 

I filled two trash bags full of clothes and shoes to donate. Then I separated the rest of my clothes in a Fall/Winter pile and a Spring/Summer pile. The latter was put into Ralph's closet because all of his clothes fit in one small dresser, so it was an empty closet. My goal was to make getting dressed as quick and easy as possible, so I didn't want the out of season clothes getting in the way. The Fall/Winter wardrobe has a total of 49 pieces (including shoes and house/workout clothes). The Spring/Summer wardrobe is similar in size. Although, when I pull them back out some of those pieces will be donated, and I will purchase a few essential pieces (I know I need new black sandals to name one thing). 

Before I put the clothes that I will wear for the next six months back into my closet, I took pictures of them so I could share them here for your viewing pleasure. After all, someone out there must be interested in the clothing choices of a homeschooling, thirty-eight year chubby mom! Right? 

a pair of jeans and six skirts

eleven cardigans

nine blouses

eight t-shirts

workout/house clothes: two sweatpants, one cotton skirt, two sweaters, four tops

shoes: boots, sneakers, and three casual flats  

Several of these items are a few years old, and I will probably discard them after this winter. They are still in decent shape, though, so I didn't want to get rid of them yet. Looking at my skirts lined up like that, I had to laugh. There is a lot of denim, but I like what I like. And I do not like the print skirt, but I think I need a choice other than solid. My goal is to look nice but not flashy. I also strive to look classic, not trendy, but also current. Does that make sense? I am not sure if I am successful at it, but I am happy with the way I dress. I think it is important to feel happy and comfortable and presentable. 

My everyday look.
One last thought, I know I look heavier in my skirts and my cardigans (plus, I am actually heavier this fall than I have been the last couple of years). Several people have informed me that I look about ten pounds heavier in skirts than I do in my jeans. I think it is because I have an apple shape, so I carry my weight above my legs. But after years of trying to feel happy in pants and without my adored cardigans, I just don't care anymore. I used to care, but I think I cared because of my low self-esteem and my desire to be pretty. Now, I wear what makes me feel good. Plus, Chris always tells me I look beautiful, and that is the only complement I need!  
Cleaning out my closet, getting rid of a lot, and separating what I have into two separate wardrobes has been a freeing experience. My closet is open and clutter-free, and I know exactly what I have to wear and can easily find what I want to wear. Plus, knowing what makes me happy and what I have to wear means that I won't impulse shop. I can wear what I have until it wears out and then purchase an item to replace it. 

Have you cleaned out your closet and created a capsule wardrobe? Or are you thinking about doing? Or do you think it is silly and not worth the effort? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Linking up at Catholic All Year.