Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey Day Art

Happy Thanksgiving!!
Here's a show-and-tell of the kids artwork, actually it's more of a show and none of the tell, I'm too tired :-)

Thanksgiving Recipe

How To Cook A Turkey!

Step 1: Go buy a turkey

Step 2: Take a drink of whiskey, scotch, or JD

Step 3: Put turkey in the oven

Step 4: Take another 2 drinks of whiskey

Step 5: Set the degree at 375 ovens

Step 6: Take 3 more whiskeys of drink

Step 7:Turn oven the on

Step 8: Take 4 whisks of drinky

Step 9: Turk the bastey

Step 10: Whiskey another bottle of get

Step 11: Stick a turkey in the thermometer

Step 12: Glass yourself a pour of whiskey

Step 13: Bake the whiskey for 4 hours

Step 14: Take the oven out of the turkey

Step 15: Take the oven out of the turkey

Step 16: Floor the turkey up off the pick

Step 17: Turk the carvey

Step 18: Get yourself another scottle of botch

Step 19: Tet the sable and pour yourself a glass of turkey

Step 20: Bless the saying, pass and eat out

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turkey Dilemma

This Thanksgiving, my whole family (minus one brother who is an ER doc and has to work) will gather at my sister "S" house. There will be 13 adults and 17 kids (14 under the age of 6)! My job is to make the mashed potatoes and the manly buns.

The dilemma is that when I went to the store, I saw the most beautiful, exquisite, delicious looking turkey. I just had to have it. See for yourself if this isn't the most wonderful butterball you've ever seen:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Scary Story

On Thursday evenings, Phil and I take ALL the kids for swimming lessons at the YMCA. Phil and I get in the pool with Eamon & Maggie, and John-Paul & Andrew each go to their respective swimming classes.

Throughout the lessons, I am able to keep my eye on everyone, and each class has an instructor, a lifeguard and five kids max. So I have always felt that the kids were very safe...until last Thursday.

At the end of the older boys' lessons, they get to jump into the deep end of the pool. I was still in the shallow end of the pool when I saw John-Paul getting ready to jump in. He told the instructor that he didn't need any help (he likes to jump in by himself instead of jumping into the instructor's arms), so she told him to jump. He did a nice twisting jump right in and then came up to the surface and started swimming to the side of the pool.

The instructor turned to the next student and had her get ready to jump in. Meanwhile, I saw John-Paul struggling in the water and start bobbing up and down. I yelled "Somebody help him, he's going underwater!" but nobody could hear me. I frantically turned to Phil and yelled at him to "GO HELP JOHN-PAUL" but he was holding Maggie and hadn't seen anything that was happening, so it took him a minute to process what was going on as he started to walk towards him.

It was the worst feeling in the world, I was helpless. I couldn't swim to him fast enough, and nobody could hear my screams. There were about 15 parents standing around the pool, two instructors in the deep end of the pool, and two lifeguards looking on, and NOBODY COULD SEE what was happening. It was only about 30 seconds but felt like slow motion, it was awful.

Finally, as I was running towards him, he started to go under, and his little hand popped up above his head and the teacher happened to turn his way and saw him and pulled him out. He sputtered and coughed for a minute and was embarrassed. I gave him a big hug and told him it was okay and that he was so brave.
Then I talked to the teacher, who obviously felt terrible about the whole thing. She thought when he said he didn't need any help, that he could do it all himself (including getting out of the pool). Next week, I will reinforce that she needs to make sure the child is out of the pool before the next child jumps in.
Thank God everything worked out okay, and thank God for Guardian Angels!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Welcome Baby!

My little sister, "M" and her husband "W" proudly announce the birth of their second daughter, Abigail Grace.
She was born on Friday, Nov. 21 and was 20 inches long and 9 pounds (wow!).
She's beautiful, and her big sister, Lilly adores her :-)
This is the luckiest little girl in the world because she has the best Godmother EVER (me, of course!).
Congratulations little sis, ya done good!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Colleen's Cooking Class

Here's a great Moist MEATBALL Recipe
Crack two eggs in a large bowl
Mix with 1 cup of warm water
Add 2 boxes of this:
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup milk

Throw in 2 1/2 pounds of lean hamburger meat

Mix all together (get your hands dirty!!) and roll into balls.

Yell at two-year-old a bunch of times for trying to touch the raw meat, although I can't really blame him, it is fun!

Place in casserole dish (I made about 45 meatballs and used two dishes)

Top with tomato sauce (about a jar and a half)

Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes or until cooked through.

Serve with pasta (we use whole wheat).

Yummy, these are a favorite amongst all of my kids, even my picky 4 year old likes these, and it's the only red meat he'll eat!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Maggie's First Steps!!

(Sorry the video is so dark, she decided to walk at night!)

and another one...this time she looks like a drunk :-)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Exciting Maggie Post

coming soon...

Cute kid talk

The Heavenly One:
Eamon: (Hears a siren from an ambulance) Mommy, pray, need to pray. Hail mary...
The Worldly One:
John-Paul(5): I have a hole in my jeans.
Andrew(4): That's okay, you look like a rock star.
Eamon(2): Yeah, rock star, so cool.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Price of Having Children

The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from
Birth to 18 and came up with $160,140 for a middle income family.
Talk about sticker shock! That doesn't even touch college tuition.

But $160,140 isn't so bad if you break it down. It translates into:
$8,896.66 a year,
$741.38 a month, or
$171.08 a week.
That's a mere $24.24 a day!
Just over a dollar an hour.

Still, you might think the best financial advice is don't have
Children if you want to be "rich." Actually, it is just the opposite,

What do you get for your $160,140?
Naming rights. First, middle, and last!
Glimpses of God every day.
Giggles under the covers every night.
More love than your heart can hold.
Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.
Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies.
A hand to hold, usually covered with jelly or chocolate.
A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites
Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said
Or how your stocks performed that day.

For $160,140, you never have to grow up. You get to:
Carve pumpkins,
Play hide-and-seek,
Catch lightning bugs, and
Never stop believing in Santa Claus.
You have an excuse to:
Keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh,
Watching Saturday morning cartoons,
Going to Disney movies, and
Wishing on stars.

You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator
Magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand
Prints set in clay or Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters
For Father's Day.

For $160,140, there is no greater bang for your buck. You get to be
A hero just for:
Retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof,
Taking the training wheels off a bike,
Removing a splinter,
Filling a wading pool,
Coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and coaching a baseball team
That never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.

You get a front row seat to history to witness the:
First step,
First word,
First bra,
First date, and
First time behind the wheel.

You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your family
Tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary
Called grandchildren and great grandchildren. You get an education
In psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human
Sexuality that no college can match.
In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there under God. You have
All the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the
Bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them
Forever, and love them without limits, So one day they will, like
You, love without counting the cost. That is quite a deal!!!!!!!

Love & enjoy your children & grandchildren. It's priceless!!!!!!!

(thanks to Jamie for passing this on)

Prayers, please

My sister, "M" who is 37 weeks pregnant with her second baby, is trying to hold off labor until Friday (when she has a scheduled C-section). Her water was leaking and she is having contractions, but they sent her home to rest for as long as possible...which will be very difficult since she has a three-year-old to care for as well.

Oh, and this baby will be my godchild, so I am really excited for everything to go smoothly.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Oh the irony of it all

Yesterday while I was using my 30% coupon at Old Navy (see Thursday's post), Maggie was getting fussy in the stroller. So I gave her my cell phone to keep her entertained. She was chewing on it a little, but it has a cover so I didn't think much of it.

When I got in the car and tried to call Phil, it wouldn't work. And it still doesn't. So last night I went to my T-Mobile store to get it replaced, and of course, my name isn't on the account (I mean really, why should it be, I'm only the wife of the person on the account, can recite his SS# by heart, and I pay the bills, but whatever).

So I come home and let Phil go to the store to get it replaced/fixed and the guy working there decided to let him in on a little secret. He said that if we just went to Target and bought a prepaid phone, I could put my SIM card in it, and use it like my regular phone.

This morning I packed up all the kids, braved the pouring rain (Phil is helping my parents move today) and went to Target. I picked out a phone for only $30, checked with the guy there to make sure it would work with my SIM card (he said it would). Got back home and plugged it in and put my SIM card in, and it's asking me to put my SIM card in. But I already did. So I took it out and tried again...still not working.

So now I have two phones that are probably okay, and one SIM card that is dead. Now what do I do?? (Seriously, any advice would be appreciated.)

Oh, and as for the ironic part of this whole story:

Last month, in order to save money, we decided to shut off our home phone service. We never used it and doing so would save us about $40 per month. So it was a no-brainer (at the time).

Friday, November 14, 2008

Good read

While a student at Franciscan University of Steubenville, I had the privilege of taking a course called Mariology by Dr. Mark Miravalle. He is an awesome, faithful man, and I thought his view on the results of the election deserved to be reprinted here:

STEUBENVILLE, OH (NOVEMBER 6, 2008) - On the day following the election, Dr. Mark Miravalle, Professor of Theology and Mariology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, offered the following statement on the election of Sen. Barack Obama.

It is Wednesday, November 5, 2008, the day after the election of the United States President.

I believe that for Catholics, for Christians, for people of sincerely good will, that whether it be in a few days, a few weeks, a few months, or in the not too distant future, those who cast a vote for the pro-abortion candidate, our President-elect, are going to wake up at some point with the shocking question and the realization, “What have I done?” I say that without judgment of heart, but I say it with objectivity of mind, in light of the President-elect that now will be guiding the United States of America and all its worldwide outreaches, in terms of both public policy and moral policy.

Evidently, based on exit polls, more than half of the Catholics in the United States voted for a candidate who has voiced the following positions:

1. The immediate putting forth and ratifying into law the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). This is an act which removes all bans on any form of abortion, including partial-birth abortion. Since that is now public policy, it is important that you know precisely what that is. That means giving partial birth to a human being, and getting the head out of the womb, and then literally sucking the brain out of his or her tiny human head.

2. This president elect, and the policies that he will advance, do not protect a child who survives an abortion. Based on legislation in Illinois previously backed by the President-elect, if a child does survive an abortion, the child has no rights, and therefore the child could be strangled or drowned, as has been the grisly case in some of these particular instances.

3. This country has elected a president elect, who has said that children a young as 13 years old can have an abortion without parental consent. This means a new undermining of the basic authority of father and mother in the family.

4. This president elect has expressed his intention to revoke the Defense of Marriage Act, which translates into the removal of any limitations of marriage in terms of being exclusively between a man and a woman. This was a policy given in an open letter in February 2008 to a gay, lesbian, and transsexual organization. There every reason to believe that this will also be enacted.

Sadly, the list goes on and on and on, as the president-elect will be promulgating a policy of moral degeneration which puts at risk most every foundational Judeo-Christian moral code or basic principle of the natural law.

My friends, if you feel a certain sense of violation in the coming days and weeks, it is understandable. The dignity, the goodness, the history of America in some real sense has been violated through the election of an individual who is so clearly against the dignity of the human person and so against the culture of life.

Many U.S. Catholics fatally decided to vote economy over morals. Now, tragically, we shall be losing both.

Where do we go from here?

There is a new call for Catholics who still put their faith first and foremost in Jesus Christ, in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in the Holy Father, in the Magisterium, for people who understand what the President-elect’s policy stands for. It is a call to spiritual action. Now is not a time of despair. It is a time to come forward like never before with the deepest conviction of the human heart that our faith does not lie first in our government or in any government. It lies first in the power of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in the mercy that comes to us through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and in the eternal and inestimable graces that come to us through the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of Jesus Christ under the appropriate leadership by the power of the Holy Spirit through the leadership of Pope Benedict (who is not elected by man, but by God).

While it is justified to feel the great loss of what we have done as a country in the United States, there’s no time to lose in terms of responding in a way that disciples of Jesus Christ should respond. What precisely is that? More courage, more hope, more prayer.

I would invite each of you, if you are not already in the practice, to consider adding to the end of each Rosary three Hail Marys for the end of the horrific scourge of abortion (we must never grow accustomed to its horrific face), and also in reparation for culture of death policies which our new administration will soon be implementing.. We are called to a new level of prayer and dedication. The Rosary is an indescribably powerful pro-life prayer. Greater Eucharistic Adoration, where possible, is, along with the Mass, of the greatest possible spiritual benefits and spiritual weapons for these upcoming times. We can also exponentially add to the power of our prayers for life and family but adding some form of fasting to our prayers, typically offered on Wednesdays and Fridays as traditional Christian days of penance.

Spiritually, we must increase are generosity, our efficacy, and our protection in light of the serious new challenges we will be facing in our country.

Secondly, we keep our joy. Why joy? Because joy is a sign that the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts. Joy is a sign that Jesus Christ will be the ultimate victor and in the full Catholic understanding through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Our Lady of America, who wants to return this land to a land of purity, even though now it will be an even greater uphill battle. Ultimately, the Immaculate Heart will triumph and we indeed will be the country we are called to be.

In these difficult times, we must convey the light of Christ and the hope that only can come through Him by being living icons of his joy. Bl. Teresa of Calcutta put it very clearly and succinctly when she said to her sisters that if they could not leave the convent with joy, with smiles on their faces, then they should not go out at all.

Joy during the great trials ahead is more important now than ever. Ten people will be standing in a row in some public forum. Nine of those ten people will show the difficulties and despair of these times in their faces, their attitudes, their demeanors. Then they will see you, and you will have joy. They will see you with a smile on your face and peace of heart, and realize that in spite of all these grave crises inflicting our country, you can still smile. Then they will say, “I want what that person has.” And they are going to come to you, and you will let them know, by actions or by words, that it is Jesus Christ who gives you this supernatural Christian joy, regardless what happens in this world and in this country. This joy comes only through the Holy Spirit.

Thirdly, we must take as our platform “no moral compromise.” No moral compromise on a personal level, in an environment where I’m afraid we will be soon be ubiquitously surrounded by moral compromise on a national level.

Yes, in a true sense, our country has compromised by electing an individual whose policies are so antithetical to the moral teachings of Jesus Christ and Judeo-Christian tradition. At the same time, we are going to be called upon to be witnesses of no moral compromise, a position which will call for sacrifice on an ever-increasing level. We can do it because of Jesus and Mary. We can do it because of the graces of the sacraments. We can do it because we can see our brothers and sisters in places like China and India who are uncompromisingly loyal to Christ and the Church in the midst of the greatest persecutions and sacrifices, including, for some, their lives.

We are called to be people of prayer, especially through the Rosary. We are called to have joy. We are called to be people who will not morally compromise based on faith in Christ and the conviction of hope that one day this country will ultimately return to its Judeo-Christian roots.

Have hope. Have peace. The Immaculate Heart will triumph. Our country will be transformed to its original greatness and much more.

Dr. Mark Miravalle
Professor of Theology and Mariology
Franciscan University of Steubenville

(shout-out to Laura for sending me this)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Frugal Friday (one day early)

Want to save 30% at the Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic? Click here

Want a free appetizer at Longhorn's Restaurant? Click here

You're welcome :-)

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's the thought that counts????

The elementary school my boys go to just had their Holiday Fair this past weekend, which means that this week, the kids get to go buy Christmas gifts from the leftover stuff that didn't sell.

This is one of my favorite things they do each year. I send the boys in with a list of who to buy for and how much to spend on each person. Usually I just name off everyone in our immediate family, so they buy presents for their parents and siblings, and I only allow up to $3 each.

Some nice volunteers help them shop, and then wrap their gifts up for them right there. The boys come home with a big bag full of presents that we have to WAIT to open until Christmas. You would think that would be the hardest part; waiting to open their gifts. But nope, the hardest part for them is keeping what they bought a secret.

Andrew will say things like "Mom, I bought you something that you're gonna really love, but you can't eat it, and you can't wear it, but you CAN use it to make yourself smell pretty, but I'm NOT gonna tell you what it is."

John-Paul is a little more clever and ends up telling me what he bought for everybody except me, and then tells Phil what he bought for everybody except Phil so that way he has spilled all the secrets but not ruined anyone's suprise.

Hmmmmm, they have a hard-time keeping secrets?? And they get super excited about giving gifts to people?? I wonder where they get that from ;-)

Anyway, here's my gift from John-Paul last Christmas (earrings). He was THRILLED to give me jewelry, and so I wore these all Christmas day that year. And yeah, they sorta made me look like a lady-of-the-night, but it made him happy, so that was worth it.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Uncomfortably Comfortable

I'm at a point in my life that I feel comfortable. The older boys are doing well in school, I love staying at home with Maggie and Eamon, work is great, Phil loves his job, and we love each other.

So why is it that whenever life seems to be going great, I get this uncomfortable feeling that something is going to go wrong? I worry about what the future holds, if/when we should have another baby, how to decrease our expenses, the physical health of my extended family, and what I need to do to get to Heaven one day.

I really wish I could be happy and just enjoy what God has given me, enjoy my life to the fullest and live each day as if it could be my last. But I can't. I'm a worry-wart, and I know I shouldn't be, for the Bible says:

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

This is a GREAT BIG FAT reminder of how I should be living, and I will strive to be more like this...but only with God's grace :-)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Swimming Lessons

Even before I became a mother, I knew I wanted my kids to be able to swim, and swim well. This is partly because I am not a great swimmer, and mostly because we live near the beach.

I want to be able to take all the kids to the beach on hot summer day and {relax in my beach chair}, um, I mean relax knowing they are competent in the water.

Last night, I took John-Paul and Andrew to swim lessons at the YMCA.

They. were. super. excited. (to say the least)

Andrew thinks swimming is the funniest thing ever, he just laughed through the whole lesson. He won't put his face in the water, but he's trying to learn the strokes.

John-Paul takes his lessons very seriously. He has no fear of the water, loves to jump in and swim underwater, but is a little less-coordinated.

I'm thinking that by the time it is summer, they'll be ready for the beach. And I'll be ready for that beach chair...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A little secret

Here's one of my frugal tips:

At the beginning of the month, go to Walgreens and pick up an Easy Saver Catalog. It is filled with coupons and rebates, and always has a bunch of items that you can get for free after the mail-in-rebate.

I seriously get so much free toothpaste, shampoo, makeup, etc. each month that I hardly ever have to buy it.

You can thank me later :-)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's a sad day

And it's especially sad for the future of the unborn babies :-(

We tried our best, now we just need to pray for Obama's conversion.

"Let Go and Let God"

Monday, November 3, 2008

Why can't anybody hear me?

Oh yeah, because I've lost my voice...AGAIN.

I have a cold, and for the last 5 years or so, whenever I get a bad cold, I lose my voice. Why does this happen???

At least Phil and the kids are benefiting from it, though, because Mommy can't nag as much ;) or raise her voice.

It is funny to see how people react when I whisper instead of talk. Almost EVERYBODY whispers back, it cracks me up!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Running Errands

Saturday mornings usually mean it's time to run errands. And that usually means I take the older boys with me while Phil stays home with the little ones.

Before I leave, I feel really good about my decision to take John-Paul & Andrew; they can have big-boy-time, Phil doesn't deserve to be left alone with all 4 kiddos, and I can spoil them just a little.

The boys are the first store. But by the second store, it's all a downward spiral straight to Whineyville. "I'm hungry", "I'm thirsty", "I have to go poop" (said loudly for all to hear), "I want that toy".

By the third store, they've built up to chaotic running around like little madmen on drugs. By now, they've already had warnings, threats, and punishments, so I give time-outs in the store chairs, which works...for a couple minutes.

We pile in the van to head home, and just as I'm at my wits-end, one of them will inevitably say "That was fun, Mom. Thank you". Oh those devils sure know how to melt their mother's heart.