Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

Artwork by Jude

Friday, March 28, 2014

Daddy/Daughter Dance

Ryan took Clare and Ellen to a Father-Daughter dance a few weekends ago.  Ellen was thrilled she was old enough to attend this year and was SO excited about her big night out.  

Waiting for Daddy...

When they saw he had roses for them...

Pretty girls! 

Such a big girl! 

Keeping her eye on her prize!

 So sweet and excited! 

 And just because he could, Ryan wore his favorite jacket....

The boys and I had our own for dinner, an early bedtime for Michael, laundry folding, and then Jude read Dr. Seuess books to me.  Pretty nice night for us, too! 

Here's to another great weekend!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Book Recommendations

Clare loves to read.  She also loves to wind down after school by listening to a chapter book on CD while she gets changed out of her uniform after school.  I try to keep her supply of reading and listening materials well stocked from our local library.  Clare will tell you she likes (loves) the Mary Kate & Ashley series, but I try to give her books with a bit more substance to them.  Here are some of her favorite books that I have checked out for her, they average about a 4th grade reading level.

Pippi Longstocking Series by Astrid Lindgren

The American Girl Series various authors

A Cricket in Times Square by Geore Selden

Doll Shop Downstairs by Yona Zeldis McDonough

No Flying in the House by Betty Brock

Kylie Jean Series by Marci Peschke

Hotel for Dogs
Movie for Dogs
News for Dogs
all by Lois Duncan

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series by Jeff Kinney

Rainbow Fairy Series by Daisy Meadows

Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne

Capital Mysteries Series by Ron Roy

The Boys Start the War by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

Fancy Nancy Chapter Books by Jane O'Connor

Bean and Ivy Series by Annie Barrows

I Survived Series by Lauren Tarshis

The Show Must Go On by Kate Klise

Emily Windsnap Series by Liz Kessler


Monday, March 10, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday Michael!

One year ago we were blessed to welcome this sweet boy into our lives! 
(OK, 1 year and 3 days ago...)  

Michael is as sweet as can be and enjoys sitting back and taking in everything around him.  He has been the best infant sleeper we have had and has never thought twice about eating whatever combination of peas and green beans I offer him.  Michael adores Jude, who can always get a giggle out of him or cheer him up when he has his moments (mostly just when he's strapped in the car at school pick up).  He loves to read.  He loves any kind of ball.  He loves being outside.  And anything with wheels - including transformers.        

We love you Bubs!  

(So glad I did this because Mr. #4's baby book was looking a little slim.  
Copying these milestones on paper for him...eventually.)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lent 2014

This boy received his first ashes today!  
(Which could be mistaken as a bruise on his 11.9 month-old head.) 

Here are some of the things we are doing this Lent...
While we were iced/snowed in on Sunday, Clare and I put together a paper chain to count down the 40 days of Lent.  She added various Lenten activities on each link to do each day.  (I was promoting things like "help Mom."  She was writing things like "do a play of Jesus on the cross."  Oh boy.)

 I printed off these Lenten countdown calendars for Clare, Jude, and Ellen and hung them on the fridge.  Although it's only day 1 and I'm not sure if we are getting the concept since Ellen has already asked several times today if Lent is over yet...

The kids were excited to get our Stations of the Cross box out.  

And are starting to earn beans for good deeds.  

One of the things I am personally looking forward to is taking part in 40 bags in 40 days this year!  
(Great posts on this here and here.)   

Have a Blessed Lent!

Friday, February 28, 2014

7 Quick Takes

Coming up out of the depths with what's been going down here...

1.  Our week started off with a Daytona 500 win from our (Ryan's) beloved Dale Earnhardt, Jr!  That's pretty much been the high of the week.  Especially since the last time Dale won that race was in 2004 after we had been married about 6 weeks.  I realized then what I had gotten myself into.  Ha ha.    

2.  It has actually been a pretty low-key week here, which I actually like.  It's nice to be home with Ellen and Michael and not rushing about.  I've actually made a few freezer meals this week (for days/weeks that are a bit more hectic), caught up on laundry, role-played Barbie in a Pony Tale more times than I care to admit, and have a full day of cleaning ahead of me today!  

3.  Michael has learned to pull himself to a standing position and now stands everywhere and anywhere.  He has also discovered the stairs which pretty much means my life is over.  I'm not looking forward to resurrecting the baby gate at the bottom of the steps, but I'm also not looking forward to rescuing him off the steps 23498758 times a day...

4.  I've made 2 batches of these muffins over the past few weeks.  Mostly because Post raisin bran was on sale for $1.77 a box...and Clare informed me after I bought 2 boxes that she only likes the grocery store's (generic) raisin bran granola.  So I've been enjoying many muffins for breakfast!  And there's still an unopened box in the pantry...   

5.  Another link to this gem that the adults in the house have watched several times...  Ryan's video editing skills are impressed by this wonder. 

6.  This girl.  

She's been into straightening her naturally curly blonde locks, and looks so different with her hair straight!  Too funny.   
(And while shopping at Target this week, we passed by this wall decor and she wanted to buy it for Ryan...because the glasses on it reminded her of her BFF.)

7.  Wrapping up with words a friend shared with us this week that I have heard a million times before but needed to hear again...

Never underestimate the power of prayer!

Go see Jen for more!

Thursday, February 20, 2014


We are being spoiled this week with a spell of warm weather.  Daily highs have reached almost 60 degrees and the snow is a-melting!  Michael, Ellen, and I have coasted around the block after lunch and my baby boy loves crawling around the deck in the sunshine.  Spring/summer (baseball!) jammies have even replaced footie pj's this week.  

Jude told me that Punxsutawney Phil was wrong and spring is here.  He also requested his summer shorts and tees be placed in his dresser while he was at school today.  (He hasn't checked the forecast for next week.)  Yesterday after school he changed into shorts and a T-Shirt, but left his dark socks on with his summer attire.  I'm hoping he looses those when summer officially arrives...  

Monday, February 17, 2014

All Things Valentine's....

Here's a quick rundown of the holiday of love at our house...

School valentine mailboxes ready to go...

Our front door...

How I made it here.
Kindergarten concert...

Best I could do with my camera and an ear infected 11 month old on my lap...
How I know my husband loves me...

Hope your day/weekend was just as sweet!

Friday, February 7, 2014

11 Months!

This sweet boy is 11 months old! 

Passes the Time: Loves to look out the window.  The view here is snow snow snow snow.  Especially loves watching older siblings playing in the snow.  

Favorite Family Member: Jude!  Daddy is becoming a close second.

New Favorite Posture: Kneeling!  A lot!  Propped up on anything he can find and even on his own! We lowered the crib a few weeks ago because of his new trick.  

Also Seen: Crawling on all fours as opposed to his fastest method of transportation, the army crawl. 

Sleeps: Morning nap and afternoon nap.  (And I love that both are uninterrupted on snow days!) Usually up once around 1AM to nurse during the night.  

Favorite Foods: Loves noodles, especially spaghetti.  

Entertainment: Likes to "dance" to music.  Loves to clap.  Can do "SO BIG!"  

Loves to: Snuggle.  Especially in the morning and after naps.  Such a sweet sweet boy.  

I can't believe we will celebrate his 1st birthday next month!  

Monday, February 3, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Dip

Of course we went to a Superbowl Shindig last night and watched the game ate yummy food with friends like good Americans.  One of the things I brought was Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Dip which was scraped clean out of the bowl.  (And who would have thought that my non-chocolate-loving husband gave it 2 thumbs up.  Go me.)  But seriously, this stuff is G-O-O-D!    

1 8oz. package of cream cheese (not fat free)
1 stick of unsalted butter
2/3 cup owdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup of mini chocolate Chips

Soften cream cheese and butter.  Mix all ingredients (except chocolate chips) on low speed with hand mixer until smooth.  Gently stir in chocolate chips.  Refrigerate for one hour.  Serve with graham crackers.  

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Superbowl Sunday Forecast

By Clare

"Are you cold?  Temperatures lately have been dropping.  It is very icy, too.  I vet you are shivering right now.  It's so cold that I think that I think that the ice will cause a freeze.  Icicles have formed on roofs.  We do have a chance of snow!  I hope so!  Snow keep your hopes up!"

It's the epitome of holidays here today - Groundhog Day AND the Superbowl on the SAME DAY?!?  That probably only happens once in a billion years.  So we are celebrating it up!  Happy Sunday!

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Mother's Prayer

Someone shared this prayer at my MOPS meeting last week and I thought I would pass it on...
Happy Monday!  
(Fingers crossed for no snow days this week!)

A Mother's Prayer

Lord, give me strength just for 
To lead my children in Your way.
Oh, give me wisdom, Lord, and grace
To show to them Your precious face!

And help me, Lord, to teach them, too,
The things of Christ so rich and true.
Just let them see in me, dear Lord,
Your holiness in life and word.

Keep me from sinning with my tongue,
From harsh, quick words that might have stung.
Their tender hearts that trust me so
And watch to see which way I go.

Dear Father, keep my thoughts so pure
That they will always know for sure
My Lord has lead me all the way.
Lord, grant my prayer just for today.

Author Unknown

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Weekend Update

Popping in for our big news this weekend...Clare made her First Reconciliation on Saturday morning!  We are so proud of how she prepared herself for the sacrament.  (She has been practicing the Act of Contrition every night since the last day of 1st grade - maybe too much because last night Ellen prayed it saying: "Oh my God I am heartly sorry for having offended anyone named Clare.")

On Saturday morning, Clare wore the same bracelet she wore on her Baptism - a gift from my parents that has a cross and miraculous medal on it.  Each child was given a book about Reconciliation to complete after they had been to confession.  The prayer that Clare wrote said, "I felt so happy when I left confession.  I want to go back again!"  

Afterwards, we celebrated the occasion with a fro-yo stop...

Next up - First Holy Communion on May 17!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Mother - Daughter

Ellen has a habit of playing with things in pairs.  A mother and a daughter combination, one big and one small.  Any small object needs a mother and any large object needs a child.  And when I say things I mean anything...  Here are some combinations I found around the house this week...

She's too funny for her own good!  
Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Microwave {Air-Popped} Popcorn

We have another snow day today and I had requests at 10 AM for our current favorite snack - popcorn.  Instead of making it on the stove, I made it quick and in a smaller portion for Jude in the microwave.  Less mess and a bit healthier than cooking with oil.

I put 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels in a brown lunch bag.  Close the bag by folding over the top a few times.  Then, for our microwave, I pop it for 2 minutes.  Add on salt and our favorite white cheddar, and it's good to go!  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Things He Says/They Say...

Jude when asked how he had such amazing (interesting) dance moves one night:
"Remember if you drink those Capri Sun waters?  Well I drank one of those..."

"Why is Michael wearing farmer clothes?"

"Is that his new pajamas?"

And from Ellen:
"I just want more of that black stuff (hot fudge)."

"Jude, if you do that again...I'm going YOU IN THE FACE!"

While wearing my glasses:
"I'm just walking on all of these hills."

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Linking up at Hallie's with some of our current favorites.

1. Kernal Seasons White Cheddar Popcorn Seasoning.


We have been on a popcorn kick lately and it was my mother-in-law who introduced us to white cheddar a few months ago.  So yummy!  

2. The Oball - by Rhino Toys.  


My 3 month old nephews introduced Michael to these balls while we were in town over Christmas and he loved them.  Once we were back home I headed to Target and picked one up for Michael.  They are the perfect size/shape and easy for even a 3 month old to play with.  We have several big Oball fans in our family!  

We made this Chex Mix for Christmas and my goodness it was delish!  (Recipe found here.)

4. Good neighbors.

We were snowed in Sunday until Tuesday of this week and ended up with several spontaneous get-togethers with our neighbors.  So thankful to have such good people living close by!

5.  This video.  (Get your kleenex out.) 

Jude and Ellen have a small obsession with baby Ward.  They can probably be credited with about half the hits this video has received.  So sweet.