Friday, March 27, 2020

7QT: The I Feel Lucky and Grateful Edition

TGIF and Quarantine Week Two under our belts.  I don't know if it's the sunshine or what, but I'm feeling very lucky and grateful this week.  Linking up with Kelly, and away we go...


My sister-in-law sent this, and it gave me a good chuckle.  I actually have been thinking a lot about single people during this time.  It must be so hard to live alone, and not be able to hang out with friends or go on dates.  I feel so lucky to already be married and have a family!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Self Care in Times Like These

Even though I feel Self Care can easily become an excuse for Selfish Care (when one's wants are prioritized over other's needs), we are truly trying to order our day to make sure our family's needs are being met during this Coronavirus Quarantine.  The five main pillars of Self Care are Physical, Social, Mental, Spiritual and Emotional.  Let's break it down.


This is normally an easy one to check off for us.  Get enough sleep.  Check.  Eat nutritious foods, and not too much.  Check.  Drink lots of water.  Check.  Move your body every day.  Check.   The challenge is continuing to do all of this when we are stuck at home (no gym! no kids sports!) with limited groceries (no bread!  no flour!).  For starters, I've been using each morning to walk the dog and then bake a snack.  I've made bread, definitely want to try Rosie's recipe next), homemade granola - where has this been all my life?, pumpkin bread and loads of banana muffins, thanks to our freezer stash of overly ripe bananas.

No raisins, no cashews, just doubled up on the slivered almonds.

Runners Gotta Run

Bare bread aisle!

Pioneer Woman's Tomato Soup

Every day after online school, we take the kids out to the track or tennis courts and they run and play in the fresh air.  When the weather is rainy (why so much now that we're all home?) we do workout videos or live Zoom classes when available.  The dog is getting lots of long walks too.

My Kindergartner can run 3 miles!  Get this kid a coach!

 I challenged Phil to drink a gallon of water a day with me this week, and that is definitely keeping us full.  We're eating so much less processed foods without having to pack lunches and snacks.  Turns out being home is much more conducive to healthy eating, though we all struggle with wanting to snack all the time because it's available.  

Friday, March 20, 2020

7QT: Week One of the Coronavirus Quarantine

Joining with Kelly today at the end of the craziest week ever?!?!


I saw this on twitter and had to laugh.  We just made the cutoff with our family of nine!!


"No gatherings of 10 or more people"

Big Families:

"One of you has to go"

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Schooling and Working from Home

We are currently in the first week of our three-week home-spension.  It's going well...and not so well.  Let's discuss.


1) We get to start our day later!  Instead of rushing out the door at 6:45 am, we don't need to report to work and school until 8:00.  In addition, we don't need to dress up or wear uniforms.

2) The school day is shorter.  The highschool kids (and their teacher Dad) are done at 1 each day.  The middleschoolers and elementary kids do their work by lunch time. 

Friday, March 13, 2020

7QT Friday: Toilet Paper, Mother's Rings, and an Easter GIVEAWAY!

What a weird week!  Linking up with Kelly because I need some normalcy this week.


 I ordered groceries from Walmart (so nice to NOT have to go into the store during this viral outbreak), including toilet paper, and when Phil went to pick it up, they said the toilet paper was out of stock.  I thought they meant they didn't have the brand/size I had ordered (I don't watch the news) and asked him to go inside and get some other kind.  He went inside (which defeats the whole grocery pick up) and sent me this picture:

I immediately get on amazon and start looking for toilet paper, which was impossible to find in stock!  I was thiiiiiis close to buying industrial huge rolls when Phil called to say the Walmart closer to our house had some in stock.  So I sent JP out to buy some, and he came home with five 4 packs of toilet paper. It's amazing how a store being out of something sends us into a panic for that item!

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Things I Don't Want to Remember, March 2020

Just in case you thought our life was perfectly happy and's not.  And while every day is a gift, sometimes you want to exchange it for a different one, ya know?

Phil and I had a crazy schedule this week, with the peak being five events in one night.  We had two playoff basketball games, Freshman Orientation at our high school (Phil and I both had to work the event), our weekly Adoration hour, and a Christopher West talk that we had bought four tickets for a long time ago (for Phil and I and the two oldest boys).  All of that in one night!  We had to call in reinforcements, have family pick up kids, get our Adoration hour covered, and miss the Christopher West talk.  Ugh, the logistics can be such a nightmare in our family!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Things I Want to Remember, March 2020

Eamon (7th grade) and Maggie (6th grade) are in the middle of CYO basketball playoffs.  Maggie's team is very good, as they have played together for three years and she's quite certain they will take home the trophy.  Maggie is so tall, strong, smart, and fears nobody on the court.  She's a beast and I love to watch her play.  Eamon hasn't hit his growth spurt yet (late bloomer!) but that doesn't stop him from dominating on the court.  He is an incredibly smart, generous point guard with a nice shot.  He scored three three's in the game last night and his coach told him after the game, "That's why I always tell you to shoot more!!"  Gosh, I love watching him play too.  Total basketball mom over here, I admit it, and I'll continue screaming from the stands to prove it.

We've been watching old home videos of the oldest three boys (back when we had a gigantic video camera) and it has been a good reminder of how we need to be raising our youngest set of boys.  The older boys were so innocent and easy to please!  We didn't have much, they didn't expect much, and they were so sheltered from the world.  I've been having lots of conversations with the older kids about being good examples for the younger ones, and trying to dial back what we allow them to watch on tv.  It's a weird transition to go from raising only littles who watch VeggieTales, to raising all ages, because suddenly our 3 year old can use an ipad and watches the Avengers.  Our eldest wasn't allowed to touch screens, or watch anything slightly questionable until he was so much older.  Anyway, it's been a good reminder to try and keep the littles little as much as possible.  We've been praying the family rosary and watching old episodes of Dora the Explorer :)  Brendan has been telling me how much he wants to marry me when he's a man, and even though I explain that I'm married to Dad and he will find his own lady to marry, he insists it will be me.  My little motherboy.

Brendan's 1st swim lesson!

Friday, February 28, 2020

7QT: Time Wasters, High Jumpers, and Essay Winners

Linking up with Kelly for 7 Quick Takes...


I have some decluttering I want to do in the house, and I figured Lent would be a good a time as any (maybe even better) to get it done.  Usually I attack a project in one big swoop, but I drag my feet and complain about it for a long time first.  "Oh I have to clean out my whole closet and I hate doing that chore and it takes so long and maybe I'll just wait until we have a snow day."  But so far, that snow day hasn't come, and my closet still isn't cleaned and picked through.  So for Lent, my aim is to just DO SMALL ACTIONS ALL THE TIME towards my goal and not postpone until I have the time to do it all at once.  It's not the job that is my Lenten sacrifice, it's working on my attitude, obedience and not procrastinating that is my Lenten goal.  I am just working on small portions of my closet each day, and then I hope to inventory and clean out the freezers and fridge and pantries.  Then move on to the next task.  It's a weird feeling for me to stop cleaning the closet without it being finished, but it's way better than not to start at all, ya know?

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Party Hearty or is it Hardy? Either Way, We Partied Hard!

On Tuesday, we celebrated not only Mardi Gras, but also the aniversaries of the birth of myself and John-Paul.

Most people call them bithdays.

I am not most people.

I turned 41 and JP turned 17and Phil placed the candles (on the beautiful and delicious cake he made!) oh so strategically :)

Friday, February 21, 2020

7QT: Lent Prepping, College Searching, and Rosary Praying

TGIF and all that jazz...


Lent is coming next week!  I am going to read this book throughout lent, do you want to join me?

This book is broken up into short daily readings, with a weekly theme, that will be so easy to pick up and read.  I need easy!  Right at the beginning of his book, Fr. Looney says not to worry if you miss a day here and there, which immediatley put me at ease.  I always miss a day during my Leneten deeds, and then feel like I can't go back and catch up, and I just stop all together.  He's giving us permission to be human!  I'm excited to discover how to make my examinations of conscience more fruitful; learn powerful new methods of prayer; and gain an unwavering trust in Our Lord’s love and mercy.
From the Sophia Institute website, this book promises to teach:

The keys to praying silently so you can hear God’s voice
The three ways Mary works to convert sinners
How specifically to pray for the healing of a broken heart
Why and how you should pray the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows of Mary
How a Marian apparition is judged to be worthy of belief
What Mary teaches us about praying for the dead
And, finally, Our Lady’s wise and consoling words for persons with debilitating diseases, for families struggling to conceive, and for couples struggling to heal their marriages.

I'm excited to dive in!

Friday, February 14, 2020

A Trip Down Memory Lane: 7 Dating Stories on This Valentine's Day


The One Where I Trick Him Into Asking Me to the Dance

Me, Anne and Buddy - hatching a plan!

When Phil and I first met, in Austria in January 2000, I was dating a boy from home.  I told Phil about him pretty quickly, and didn't think much of it, as Phil and I were friends but I didn't think there were any romantic feelings involved.  A few days later, I heard myself telling my roommate that I wanted to marry a guy like Phil.  It shocked me, as the guy I was dating was very unlike Phil.  I realized that I had to break up with him, because if he was not marriage material, then what was I doing?  So I did, by phone, because I was in Austria and he was in college in Maine (one of my biggest regrets in life was ending a 3 year relationship over the phone - mea culpa).  I definitely hoped deep down that something would develop with Phil, and I made sure he knew that I was now single.  Phil's a shy guy, and there was a Valentine's dance coming up, so my roommate and I hatched a plan to get Phil to ask me.  We would have another guy friend ask her in front of Phil and I, and she would say "Well, I don't want to go if Colleen doesn't go" and then Phil would have the opportunity to jump in and ask me.  It worked like a charm!  (Ummm, after typing this out I'm not sure if Phil even knows he was tricked into asking me to the dance?  Sorry Phil!)  He did bring me a dozen red roses before the dance (he didn't know that red roses = love but all the girls did!) so I'm pretty sure he wanted to go with me ;)

Our first Valentine's Day together - twenty years ago!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Being a Mom: From Pimples to Pampers and Everything In Between

While I will always and forever tell young mothers, busy juggling babies and toddlers, that "It gets easier", I am realizing that what gets easier is the physical part of parenting.  The emotional part of parenting never gets easier, and in my humble opinion, only gets harder.

But that's not what an exhausted, hungry, struggling mom wants to hear.  She wants to hear that these days that she is finding so hard to get through, the nights of broken sleep that feel torturous, the hours spent changing diapers and wiping drool, will indeed get better.  She wants to know that she will sleep through the night again, her kids will become potty trained and physically independent, and her days will be much smoother.  

So that's why I say "It gets easier!  You're in the trenches right now!  What you are doing is hard work and sacrifice, and it will pay off!  You're doing great!"

That's what young moms NEED to hear.  They need to feel understood and not like they're unfit for the job thrust upon them.  

Time marches on, and those busy toddlers turn into busier teens, who now have us worrying about their choices in life, their safety on the road, the friends with whom they keep company.  We watch them succeed and fail, get heartbroken and break hearts, be smart and be stupid.  And we feel it all too.  As much as you empathize with your baby's cry when they skin their knee for the first time, you literally ache for your grown children's pains. Their hearts are still united to yours.

I think older moms NEED to hear that they are not alone, that as the physical dependency lessens as kids grow...the worry and emotional stress grows as well.  It's normal.  It's not you, it's them. Somebody give me a hug and tell me this, please ;)

Monday, February 3, 2020

The Struggle of a Nosy Oversharer

I want to write about every detail in my life.  Ever since I was a little girl, I loved writing in a diary, keeping a memory book, or making photo albums.  I love to record memories.  

I'm a oversharer, most likely.  

I need to write or talk in order to process.  Sometimes I wish I could just be a thinker and stay in my own head, but the written/spoken word is a necessity to help me move on from anything.

And I need to know everything from you, as well.  

In real life, if you told me you went on a date, had a baby, just came back from vacation, saw an old frenemy...I would say "Tell me EVERYTHING!"  My husband likes to imitate this line of mine with a dramatic hand flair for effect.  I like to ask a lot of questions and get a lot of answers.  Some may consider that nosy.  I tend to think I'm just an empathetic soul.

I want my kids to share all of their thoughts, feelings, hardships and joys with me.  I am lucky so far that they seem to communicate well with me.  Maybe because I ask so many questions?  Maybe because they know they can't get away with just a "fine" answer.

And then when they do share with me...I want to talk about it.  I want to write about what's going on in their lives, what we're all learning as they grow up.  I want to understand them better by collecting my thoughts on paper.

But the older they get, the less right I have to share their tales.  I don't want to embarrass them on a deep level.  I don't want them to not trust me.  I don't want them to think they are just fuel for my fodder.

So I keep it inside, ponder it in my heart and head, and talk to my husband only.

Because of this, you'll mostly hear cute and funny stories about my little guys and approved highlight reels about my oldest ones.  I want to write more!  I want to read about it more!  I want the wisdom from moms who have dealt with teenager issues.  

I've just realized that I can't find that here.  Those relationships happen face to face, not over social media, in comments, on blog posts.  

My relationship cup that used to fill up with every story shared, or photo needs a more intentional growing of friendships.  The introvert in me who was happy to stay at home and communicate via screens, now longs for deeper relationships that require me to leave the house.  

I'm trying to figure all of this out, while realizing that the blogs I used to follow for mothering advice, got increasingly quiet as the kids aged up.  I get it now.  I do.  As much as I would love to hear from them on raising teens and young adults, those stories aren't necessarily theirs to share anymore.  

But gosh, I'd love to go grab a cup of coffee with one of them and chit chat for hours.  Maybe I am just nosy after all.

Hopefully one day, after these babies of mine are grown and having babies of their own, they will welcome my stories and enjoy reminiscing with me.  I don't want to chance ruining that future relationship by oversharing in the present.  I love them too much.

Friday, January 31, 2020

7QT: Taxes, Crazy Hair, Kobe Bryant #girldad, Science Fair and Superbowl


It's the last day of January!!  That means it's time to start your taxes!  Woo-hoo!!  I love using TaxAct to file our taxes.  It's easy and cheap and stress-free.  I used to do taxes for a living, and they're not scary to do yourself, unless you're self-employed, then you should go see a professional.  But if you're just dealing with W2s, it's fun and simple.  Try it and see :)


This week was Catholic School's Week, which meant a lot of dressing down and thanking God for the normal uniform routine.  Picking clothes out is stressful!  Maggie's hair for crazy hair day was my fave look of the week:

Thank you Google for that idea!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

January 2020: Book, Cook, Look

Here's what I've been reading, eating, and wearing lately!


The St. Paul Company (Dr. Scott Hahn's company) sent me a copy of The Attic Saint to review, and it was a big hit.  

I must admit, even my 8 year old kept walking back and forth as I was reading to the little guys, trying to listen in without appearing to want to.  My 12 year old gladly sat nearby and listened as well.  Even I was intrigued about the story, not something you can say about most children's books!  The story is about a boy, whose family moves into an old convent, and he finds an icon of St. Ambrose in the attic that helps make his new house feel like a home.  The best part was that once the book was over, I told 5-year-old Declan (who was reeeeeally into the story) that I had something special for him, and handed him the St. Ambrose icon prayer card, and he was thrilled!  We went up to his bedroom and hung it up right away in a spot that he can look at when he falls asleep.  I have purchased icons from this online store before, and can't wait to reread this book as it gets closer to Easter, and have icons for the kids in the Easter basket this year. 


After Jen Fulwiler suggested this cookbook, we have been trying to make a couple new soups each month.

Phil and I eat soup every workday during the school year, so I make a big pot on the weekend, divide it up into these glass containers, and we grab them each morning, along with a greek yogurt.  It's a great way to get in our veggies, homemade bone broth, dairy and protein.  Recently I discovered these protein chips that taste very similar to Doritos, and if a soup recipe doesn't contain much protein, then I will eat it with the protein chips as well.  For the month of January, I've been having a daily shake as an afternoon snack, made up of protein powder, collagen, psylium husk powder, spinach, blueberries and vanilla unsweetened almond milk.  It hits the spot and helps me from snacking on crackers before dinner. Why are crackers always calling my name at 4pm?


I bought this cute dress for the Spring for less than $17 and a sweet rose colored cardigan to wear now for only $13.  

I just love Loft Outlet sales.  I am looking at rice cookers as well, as we seem to be eating it more often as a side, but I do have an Instapot already, so I'm wondering if it's worth having another appliance?  Or does the Instapot do a good job of cooking rice?  I'm just sick of it sticking to the pot when I cook it on the stove.  Any rice advice appreciated :)

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Friday, January 24, 2020

7QT: Health Apps, ProLife Kids, Dinner Recipes, College Plans, Workout Buddies and Rosary Parties


I had my last scheduled doctor's visit this week, to the Orthopedic Surgeon because of my shoulder pain that occurs when I perform certain movements.  They took an xray and he moved my arm certain ways, and said I had impingement syndrome (or bursitis of the shoulder).  I was like:

He actually spoke quite a bit, and by the time I left, I could barely remember any of it.  I researched medical apps after that appointment, seeing if any existed to help you record and understand doctors visits, and they do!  This Health/Doctor App would have been very helpful after all the appointments I've had recently.  I'm going to start using it during my kid's appointments as well, since *someone* is not a big detail guy, and I feel I never get the full story when that *someone* brings our child to the doctor :)  Anyway, I now have a month's supply of anti-inflammatory pills to take, and physical therapy to start.  How wonderful to get old ;)


My four oldest babies are on the March for Life today!!

 I miss them so much, but I'm so proud of them for being pro-life.  Maggie waffled about going this year (her first time) and finally decided to go at the last minute after some reassurance from us.  She's with her three big brothers, best friends, two cousins, parents of friends, our pastor, and the rest of the good people from our parish.  Since we don't allow sleepovers, this is like a chance in a lifetime for her and her besties :)  Besides, I set them up with some good snack packs:

The soy sauce and salad dressing were for me, not them!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

I'm the Mother Runner of the Month!

I found out last month, that somebody (who??) nominated me to be the Mother Runner of the Month over at The Mother Runners website.  I am COMPLETELY out of my league with the really awesome, really fast, really committed moms over there, but am honored nonetheless.

Mother Runner of the Month: Colleen Martin

It’s kind of impossible to not be inspired and amazed by this month’s Mother Runner of the Month, Colleen Martin.

Here’s a quick recap of Colleen: she is a mom to 7 (7!) kids (pre-k to 16), works full-time as a business manager at a Catholic high school, has been consistently running since high school, has run-dates with her husband, and writes for her own blog and a Catholic women running blog. Her nominator is in awe of how Colleen manages to stay in shape when it is hard for her with just two kids (let alone 7)! I think most of you will find Colleen’s take on exercise and health refreshing and moving.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

My White Kitchen Cabinet Reveal

Let's take a quicksie look back at the history of our kitchen, shall we?  

When we moved into our house in 2004, this is what it looked like.  We had a tiny kitchen with a big kitchen table in it to fit our growing crew.  Back then, I was just beyond grateful to have a place to call HOME after having moved ten times in the first 3 years of marriage.  I wasn't born with design skills or a DIY attitude, and our kitchen stayed just like this until 2016.

In 2016, while pregnant with our seventh baby, and feeling very cramped in that kitchen as the boys got bigger and took up much more physical space, we decided to renovate.  We were able to knock down a wall, and move our bedroom, to create a bigger kitchen with a big dining room beside it.  We added an island with white cabinets, hoping that one day, we would be able to afford white cabinets to replace the brown ones on the wall.  Our kitchen remodel post is here, if anyone's interested.

Friday, January 17, 2020

7QT: Just Life Lately


I went to the ObGyn for a healthy checkup for the first time in my married life without being pregnant!  When you're having a baby every couple of years, your gynecological exams just get thrown in there, but once your baby is three, you actually need to schedule these things!  Who knew?

  Ok, I actually knew, but I was not in a rush to do it, until my general practitioner reminded me.  That's a good doc.  So in the last few months, I've gone to the dentist, oral surgeon, had my yearly physical, my first mammogram, a dermatologist checkup, the ObGyn visit, and next week I'm seeing the orthopedic doc about my shoulder pain.  Guys, if medical visits were a sport, I'd so be winning.  I'm a huge believer in preventative maintenance, mostly because my family is filled with doctors and nurses, but also because so many things are easily treatable WHEN DETECTED EARLY!  So, if you're putting off that appointment, then stop it!  Be good to yourself, even if you have to shave your legs and let your belly fat hang out in the open.

Friday, January 10, 2020

7QT: Life Since Christmas

Helloooooo!  It's been a minute or two since I last checked in here.  I hope you are all settling into 2020 with perfect vision :)

Here's what we've been up to:


Behind my parent's ice cream shop on Cape Cod was a little restaurant that served THE BEST fish chowder in all the land.  The owner was Chef Sigmund, an immigrant from Poland, who rented the building from my Dad and was the source of my lunches a couple times each week in the summer.  I could eat a pint of chowder with two packages of oyster crackers like it was nobody's business.  When Mr. Gajowniczek (the man St. Maximilian Kolbe saved) came to stay at our home, it was Chef Sigmund who lovingly prepared a traditional dish from his homeland and shared the meal with us.  Long story short, an old friend of mine let me know that Chef Sigmund's son had reopened a shop selling his dad's chowder in a different town on the Cape.  I was able to pick up a couple quarts while we were down before Christmas, and the memories tasted so good!