Happy Fall Ya’ll

I made this candle from a kit given to me by a sweet lady. It was fun! Great idea for someone who might like fragrances stronger or weaker since it  is completely customizable to your preference.

I planned eggplant lasagna and rosemary bread for supper so spent much of the afternoon in the kitchen. I mixed the bread in my kitchenaid and then used it to whip up some suds to keep Joseph busy.

The rosemary came from my plant that I potted not long ago. So fun to be using herbs and lettuce from our backyard!

I roasted eggplant and zucchini slices with olive oil, salt and pepper. This adds a ton of flavor. Way better than standard lasagna noodles! Then layered it with savory meat mix, spaghetti sauce and mozzarella cheese. Forgot the cottage cheese, egg and parsley layer. Con-soupy lasagna. Pro-cooks WAY faster!

Took advantage of my upper and lower ovens to cook the bread and lasagna at the same time. I am going to love this stove during the holidays!

On the front of my stove is a new fall towel I crocheted. I made two and gave one to a neighbor who has been so helpful during our first month in a new neighborhood.

Upping my game: laundry room edition

Laundry is never-ending for a family of 7. It takes 1-2 loads a day just for clothes. Add towels and bedding and you could easily hit 4 loads. Take a break Sunday and you will have to catch up Monday so expect 4-6 loads. This is reality. Argue against reality and you lose.

My new home is fabulous and the laundry room is large. I can fit my sewing desk in there. We had a three shelf bookcase that was dropped in the move and barely stayed upright. I brought it into my laundry room, reinforces with some found screws and added some baskets(fro to sort small things. I added hangers to the shelf above. Now I can sort, fold, hang, mend and all in one space.

This solves one major problem. Washing and folding I got down but all too often the clean clothes are piled on the couch until I can find time to fold which could easily take half a day so I would delay until I “had time.” Then kids dig through to find something they want to wear and clothes fall on the floor. Preschooler whirlwinds scatter the items on the floor. Before you know it, you are gathering items and wondering what has been washed and what has been worn. For this momma, nothing I hate more than washing clean clothes!

So now, if I get behind on the folding and putting away, I can simply sort into baskets and fold and hang the big stuff. This takes five minutes per load. Could not be simpler! And if a boy can’t find the right pair of socks then he knows where they will be. I have three baskets for the children’s bedrooms. The older boy and little boy pairs are so close in age and size that having separate baskets is senseless. I have a basket for my husband’s underwear and one for his socks. I have a basket for outdoor wear like gloves and hats. The bottom two baskets are for bathcloths/hand towels and dish cloths/dish towels. Cleaning rags are kept in a box in the laundry room.

I try to put away the hanging and folding right away and sort the baskets once or twice a week. I can take this a stack or basket at a time. If I get sidetracked with something else like a sick child, then it isn’t a mess cluttering our living room or master bedroom.

I had kept a box of stray socks to sort through every month or so. This task has been eliminated because I can keep each bedroom’s stray socks in their basket. When a match is washed then it can be matched immediately. This eliminates a lot of sorting. Everything stays sorted.

My rollercoaster ride

I plan out blog posts in my head that never make it to the computer. I debate on whether to just stick with Facebook but then there are times when I need to expound on things to get them out of my head and post projects with links for future reference. So this is my attempt at a general update and “Hey, I’m still here,” but my days seem to go at a breath-taking speed. Greetings from my own personal rollercoaster ride!

Faith – Still enjoying Scripture Typer and well over 4000 verses now. I got a new book by Scott Hahn, Creed. It’s awesome. It begins with a discussion about Rich Mullins and his amazing song, Creed. I have to admit that I still sing the Apostles Creed sometimes.

Keeping my intentions linked to the different prayers of the rosary and appreciating the order that it provides my prayer list.

Home – We have new one! It is beautiful. Feeling more and more settled as we get things unpacked and organized. It is a bigger home with more storage so I am finding things can be organized easier. But the process of changing the order of the way things were is slow but steady.

Education –  It has been an adjustment getting the four older kids settled in school. Lots of different meetings for IEP adjustments, reviews, testings, etc. At the end of last year, a teacher recommended bringing our oldest back for eighth grade but taking him back home for high school. Kinda rocked my world because I had just become accustomed to the idea of not homeschooling which was a major grieving process. I checked with another teacher from fifth grade and she agreed that she thought that online public school would be the best decision. That in itself almost completely halted the home-buying process cause if this might be his last year in public school then we had to stay where he had a great plan set already. We had to go into a new elementary school district but was able to find the perfect house in the same middle school district.  I spoke with a teacher that he had last year and this year after a couple weeks of school. He thought that this year was showing progress for him but he would ponder more about what his best options would be. I kinda hate that the next year is a little up in the air but I am appreciating that public school teachers are discussing options for what would be best for my child rather than a one-size-fits-all plan.

Starting next Friday, I will have all five kids in school one day a week. Planning a weekly lunch date with my hubby. Looking forward to having a few hours to completely focus on some projects instead of the “Oh no, they got quiet so what are they into.” Crazy excited about grocery shopping all by myself. Pondering getting back to couponing more.

Hobbies – Haven’t been crocheting much with all the hard work of moving and painting and landscaping. As I am getting my big projects wittled down, I hope to get back to my favorite craft. Turning a glass gun cabinet into a super yarn display so hoping to have pics of that soon.

I put a break on my Ancestry subscription during the move and reactivated it a couple days ago. I had read that I could sync all the records to my Family Tree Maker software. After a couple days and some tech support, I discover that FTM 2008 is not compatible with Windows 10. Thankfully they give all owners of previous versions of FTM a $40 credit to download FTM 2014. It is completely awesome. I had found so much more info with the world access and I have to admit that it was getting overwhelming. With so many branches of the family tree, how would I ever get it fact-checked enough to make it public? With FTM 2014 and Tree Sync, I can take the different branches export them into individual trees and sync them so that changes to the original tree will automatically change on the exported tree as well. Which means that as I complete as much as possible on individual branches then those branches can be made public without portions that haven’t been fact-checked and excluding living individuals.

Health – Still working through depression episodes. I think genetics play a big factor so something that I will probably deal with for life. It really got tough about three years ago when I went off anti-seizure medicine after years of no seizure activity. I had no idea how much of a mood-altering affect some of those medicines can have. Just being aware of how I am feeling is a huge help. If it is a hard day, then I can be a bit more gentle but firm. For example, when I find it hard to move forward, I can take it one task at a time rather than trying to motivate for the whole day. Instead of trying to convince myself to be super productive, “just unload the dishwasher” or “just run one errand.” Just getting into motion is sometimes all that’s needed.

I had been on one medicine and got off of it because of the severe headaches associated with it. I ended up trying another medicine which was easier to tolerate on a daily basis but was causing weight gain. With all the excitement of fixing up our new home, I’m not really needing anything but at least I know what I can take that works for me if I need it in the future.

Productivity – To do lists are hard for me. They are crazy long just to cover the basics of seven people. It’s hard when the to do list at the end of the day is often every bit as long as it was at the beginning of the day. For every item there is to be crossed off, another needs to be added. So I have ended to do lists in the traditional sense. The calendar is important to keep track of appts and such. Otherwise I keep a more broad sense of todos like landscaping, home improvement, cooking so that I am motivated to be creative. I am way more productive when creativity is involved. That is important in just grocery shopping too so that I am keeping ingredients on hand that I can put together creatively rather than follow a set schedule of meals. I am learning why my grandmother (another mom of five) keeps paper and pencil handy cause there are things that pop into my head that I need to write down because it is so easy to get busy and forget all about what I was thinking about.

Organization – Using Google Drive alot lately. I can divide out folders as detailed as necessary. I can take pictures and save things digitally rather than hard copies. I’m way more likely to find something with a search rather than putting my hands on the hard copy anyhow.

I found some nice plastic file boxes with colorful folders at Aldi’s. I am using them for extra pics, school work, art work, certificates, etc for each child. I realized that I need just one for artwork for our second oldest. His box is already too full. But the little ones have plenty of room to grow.

*waves….good to check in.

Planning for the unexpected

There are times in life when the notion that God never gives us more than we can handle is severely called into question. We are coming out the other side, I do believe. But it has been a trying few weeks.

We stopped homeschooling. We prayed about it and discussed it and felt it was the right decision. Autism/ADHD is a challenge. Depression is a challenge. Together plus rowdy little ones and homeschooling became too much. It is a decision with deep disappointment and sadness for me. A grieving to the death of the life I imagined and desired. But maybe it is the grieving that leads to a greater appreciation of the life we have been blessed with.

My husband found a lump. Scary for anyone. Terrifying for a person hoping for continued remission from cancer. We didn’t even need to discuss it to know that we couldn’t tell our families. We couldn’t terrify them until we knew what we were dealing with. We fretted all weekend. Got an appt for Thursday. Asked prayer from a few trusted people. But that day would not be as simple as getting an answer.

Tuesday, Joseph and Katie Rose had well child appts. They were coughing and sniffling a bit. I explained that I wasn’t sure if we had a cold or mutual allergies. They got lots of medicine for ear infection and bronchitis (or something like bronchitis).

Thursday morning about 3 am, John Micah woke complaining of a headache. At 6am, he was vomiting and having trouble breathing. I was worried about missing an IEP meeting for our oldest. My husband went to work as I gave breathing treatments and tried to get him to drink a few sips. As Mike came home to allow me to attend the IEP, I had decided this was a dangerous situation so as I headed with our youngest to the IEP meeting, I instructed my husband to get JM to the ER now. He admitted later that he doubted me. He wondered if it was just a stomach bug or something. After getting to the ER and hearing the nurse practicioner’s prediction of pneumonia, he was reminded “momma knows.”

I got to the IEP meeting and resolved to sign forms and get through it as quickly as possible. I was relieved when she told me she had basically copied his IEP from last year when we had planned to go to middle school but went back to homeschooling instead.

She told me how well he was doing. He was charming and making friends. He impressed his teachers and was flourishing in honors classes. She said that she told his teachers, “That’s a lot of momma right there!”

And that’s where I lost it. All the sadness and grief and worry and pride and relief flooded me. I explained through my tears all that we were dealing with in health scares and how relieved we were that David was doing well. She printed off the forms I needed to sign, promised prayers and got me out quickly.

The rest of the day became a balancing act. How to get kids from school, get Mike to his appt, and stay with JM in the ER? JM ended up being admitted. Mike got some words of comfort but a scheduled test to confirm for the next day.

I stayed with JM in the hospital. His oxygen levels kept dropping that first night so another day in the hospital. Mike’s test was at 3pm so it had to be moved to the next morning because one had to be with JM and one had to get home for the bus. Yay for tests on Saturday. I got the kids off the bus that day when I went home to shower and nap a bit. I threw a load in the wash to work while I rested and made Rice Krispy snacks for the kids. Amazing how 1 hr in your own bed is more restful than 5 hrs in a hospital bed.

On Saturday, Mike had his test and had to get to work so I had all five children in the hospital room. Late that afternoon, we were discharged and we got medicines, donuts and Redbox movies. Came home and reveled in bubble baths and the comforts of home.

I had started with a sore throat Saturday. The headache and cough worsened. Tuesday, I walked to the mailbox and threw up when I got back home. Tuesday and Wednesday I lost my voice. Today I feel better other than a throbbing headache so I am hopeful this is the end of it.

We got the official news yesterday that the lump was just fatty tissue. Nothing to worry about. So grateful for the prayer warriors that had our backs through this.

One thing that was a great help is that I had started dividing outfits for kids into Hefty 2.5 gallon bags; shirt, pants, socks, underwear with the name and day of the week. Even doing it for myself, cleaning clothes for Monday, outting clothes for Tuesday, etc. I wondered if it was silly when everything only took a moment to grab from drawers and closets. However, my husband really appreciated the convenience of that. I couldn’t have predicted the hospital stay. But having things in order even possibly obsessively so in some areas gave our frenzied minds one less worry or challenge.

Block 5 Simple Simon

I have done the first two blocks. Then I began cutting fabric for the rest of the next five blocks. The color combo I chose for block 5 intrigued me so that is what I pieced next. I definitely need to take more time matching the seams. I end up going too fast cause I want to see the finished result. A couple pins and a minute more time would have made a big difference.


I have seen some participants using a binder for their patterns. I like that but I don’t want to print every pattern. I only need to print the ones that have a pattern piece to cut out. Those that use measurements for the squares and rectangles can be left on my iPad. But I want to keep the patterns so I set up a folder in Google Drive. I can keep them, print what I need and reference what I don’t need to print.

Loreal Extraordinary oil

No one has paid for or even suggested this post. I just love it! I saw the commercial for the shampoo and thought it sounded helpful for my hair. My hair is long and thick so I figure if nothing else it could help tame some of the stray hairs.

Couldn’t find the shampoo at Wal-Mart but did find the oil treatment that you leave in your hair. It is so marvelous! My hair is soft and shiny. My scalp doesn’t feel as dry and irritated. I had been using a deep conditioner from the ethnic aisle but it didn’t last but to the second shampoo.

The oil is fragranced and makes me think of Queen Esther. I can just imagine her putting the oil and perfume in her hair in preparation to meet the king. And now I don’t risk smelling like a salad dressing with plain olive oil.

Found the shampoo on Amazon. Bought to decide that Wal-Mart isn’t worth all the walking and headaches when they are out of stock.