Friday, January 31, 2014

Thank God It's Friday!

#1: Health Update
Luke woke up fever free today!  Hooray!  I hope the vitamin D I picked up added to his vitamins will help to kick his cold and maybe even keep him healthy!

#2:  Happy Visit
Since Luke was sick yesterday I had to cancel book club...again!  We try to meet weekly and we have only met once since the week before Thanksgiving!  My friend, Kim, didn't get the text message that I sent but, since she doesn't have young kids, braved a visit.  I was so grateful to talk to a grown-up!

 #3:  Waxing Poetic

During our visit, Kim and I covered a large range of topics, including making family memories and having fun.  Something I said sticks in my mind and seems like a life goal:
"I don't want to live life saying I wish I had.....
I want to be able to look back at my life when I'm old and say I'm glad I did!"
I definitely need to work on that!

#4-6: How Many Hats Can I Wear At Once?
Today brought me to the brink of multi-tasking breakdown.  I feel like I'm being pulled in 8 different directions and there's just not enough of me to go around!  To top it off, I have to bounce back and forth between so many different age groups with so many different needs!  There is drama over changing a major, drama over birthdays coming up in the next week that need to be planned, drama over college transfer applications that need to be submitted.  Then, I needed to finish cleaning the house and make some cupcakes for Sarah who is throwing a birthday party for one of her friend from school tonight.  I was trying to scramble to make plans for Ellie after a play date she was supposed to have wasn't going to happen because of a mix up between us moms.  Luke just kept asking me to play with him  And, Kate, being Kate, wanted to be attached to my hip!  Argghhh!  

If only I were an octopus!  Then, I would be all set!  (As long as my kids weren't an octopus because then they would just have more arms to make more messes!)

#7:  Super Bowl Weekend!
I know our team missed out on the Super bowl, but I honestly enjoy the game a lot more when our team isn't in it.  (Especially when they lose in the Super bowl...thanks a lot, Eli!)  When the Pats are in the big game, Jay gets so uptight that he can't even watch most of the game.  The older boys get all stressed and it isn't any fun!  This year, we can just focus on the food and enjoy the game!:)

Have a wonderful, tasty weekend!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Better Perspective

Luke started with a cold on Monday night.  This poor kid cannot catch a break!  Last night, he was sporting a low grade fever to accompany said cold.


Despite the vitamins he takes, Luke is a germ magnet!   I'm going to try some cod liver oil and vitamin D at the suggestion of my friend, Anne-Marie.  I need to boost this poor child's immune system.  I know the first year at school is usually rough, but this is ridiculous!

I started to slip and slide into a nice little pity party with myself.  The dark clouds from last week blew back in really quickly!  I had to cancel the weekly book club....again!  We have only met once since the week before Thanksgiving!

My exact words to Jay this morning were, "This house has become like a prison." was a little melodramatic, but it's where I was at in the moment!

Thankfully, I read one of the blogs that I subscribe to this morning....A Knotted Life.  The woman that writes the blog, Bonnie, has a huge devotion to Fulton Sheen because her son is one of the miracles being investigated to use for his canonization.  Because Bonnie frequently mentions Fulton Sheen, a 6th grade teacher that reads her posts sent her a prayer request for one of her students, Samantha.  Samantha was just diagnosed with stage 4 bone cancer that has spread all over her body.  Needless to say, she needs a miracle....and Samantha's family, class, and friends are praying to God through Fulton Sheen's intercession.

Well, after reading that, even a winter full of colds, fevers, strep throat and stomach viruses really aren't that important.  I needed a better, thank-you, God, for providing one.  Bonnie included a prayer for Samantha that I will share here.  If you feel so inclined, please join in.  Of course, we pray for her healing...but also the peace for Samantha, her family and loved ones to find peace in whatever God's will is.  Sometimes life is really hard...thankfully we don't have to do it alone!

Eternal Father, You alone grant us every blessing in Heaven and on earth, through the redemptive mission of Your Divine Son, Jesus Christ, and by the working of the Holy Spirit. 
If it be according to Your Will, glorify Your servant, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, by granting the favor I now request through his prayerful intercession: 
the complete healing of Samantha from cancer and the return of her health. 
I make this prayer confidently through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

He Said, She Said

He Said, She Said

Me:(to Kate) "How old are you?"
Kate:  "Good"

Mike and I in the kitchen...
Mike has a gross sneeze
Me:  "I'm not wiping your boogies!"

Luke playing in the tub and sees Sarah's special Bath and Body soap
Luke(to Jay):  "What's that?"
Jay:  "That's special soap that makes girls smell pretty."
Luke:  "Can I have some?"
Jay:  "Boys don't want to smell pretty.  Boys want to smell like dirt, and sawdust, and..."
Luke:  "Poop!?!"  (Laughing maniacally)

Kate was throwing a fit because she didn't want to wear a coat over her sweatshirt.....
Andrew:(to Kate)  "Sometimes fashion hurts."

Luke giving his cousin Brayden a present for his birthday..
Brayden: "Is that a present for me?"
Luke:  "Yeah, it's a 'minja' turtle!"
(Luke proceeds to take one of the 'minja' turtles out of the gift bag...)
"I want to play with this one"

Ugh...guess we have some work to do about present etiquette!

Luke was being ultra silly and teasing Andrew.  Brotherly "love" follows...
Andrew:  (to Luke) "You're being a butt head."
Luke: (laughing maniacally)  "No, you're a butt head!"
Kate: (in her cute, squeaky voice)  "Butt head"
Andrew: (shaking his head)  "You are all horrible children."

Moments after the 'butt head' incident...
Me:  (emailing myself the previous exchange so I don't forget it.)
Jon:  (watching me type)  "Oh, ho, she's gonna blog it!!!"(all excited and animated and silly)
Me:  "Yep, and I'm going to blog about you, too!"

Happy hump day!

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Healthy Weekend!

Oh my goodness!  It finally happened!  We had....wait for it(!).... A HEALTHY WEEKEND!

I can't believe it actually happened!

Jay spent time over the weekend making our laundry room more functional.  He cleaned out the items that belonged in the garage and then built large wooden shelves that doubled our storage space.  That room needed some serious help and this was a good start!  Now if only I can convince him to strip the wallpaper and paint it!

We got together with our friends, The Martins, on Saturday night.  It was so nice to talk to grown-ups!  (Jay and I kept commenting on that after they left.  It's amazing what isolation does to you!)  Our kiddos all had fun playing together, too!  Fun times all around:)

Sunday was Mass...and we all got to go together for the first time in a while.  Sunday night was supposed to be dinner out for our future brother-in-law's birthday, but his mom was sick so they had to cancel.  My in-laws still wanted to go out so we kept the dinner reservations.  Great food and more talking to grown-ups.

Today is much warmer and sporting some sunshine.  My friend, Carol, should be by any minute so we can get in a walk outside.  I know that this weather won't be staying, but I am taking advantage of it while it's here.

It's amazing how some sunshine and the ability to walk outside without your teeth chattering make such a big difference in one's mood!

I need to set up walking times with my friends once spring comes to get some exercise in!  I do not enjoy exercise but I know it's important.  I don't mind walking...especially with hopefully when the weather warms up I can make walking times a permanent part of my schedule!

I hope your week is off to a good start!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Another Crazy Week!

We made it to Friday!  What a weird week this has been!  

1. Fever Free!
I am thrilled to report that for the first time in a week our entire house is fever free!  With cautious optimism, I am hoping to remain illness free through the weekend!  After the last 7 weeks, that feels like a monumental task!  We even....wait for it...have plans(!).  My sister-in-law texted me last night and invited Jay and I out to dinner to celebrate her fiance's birthday at my favorite restaurant. 

Fever free and a date night...idk, seems too good to be true!

2. Pretend Play
You know your house has been sick a lot when...

the 2 year old is doing pretend play with her toy kitty saying the kitty is sick and having it 'throw up' in a bucket!  Then she comforts the kitty by rubbing its back and saying, "good, kitty".  

At least she has empathy!

3. Cute Moments Captured
Luke was "reading" How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Kate wanted to be close to Luke and listen to the story more than she wanted to get dressed!

4.  Back to School
Mike headed back to Assumption on Monday.  For the most part, his visit went really well!  I am actually sad that he is gone and miss having him around.  Having him away at school is such a change....and we are still wondering how many of our older boys will be living at their colleges come September!

5.  College News
Speaking of college, Jon has heard from two of the colleges he got into regarding financial aid.  He got a package that covered about half of the tuition at his dream school.  (Unfortunately, that 'other half' is still around $30,000!  ugh!)  

He also found out that he got a merit scholarship from our local state university that he applied to that gives him pretty much a free ride for four years as long as he maintains a 3.2 GPA!  We are very proud of him!

Now, we are waiting for school #3 to send us their information.  

Andrew is still working on his transfer applications, (bc he is very unhappy where he is this year), and then we will be waiting for answers for him, too!  

Exciting and overwhelming all at the same time!

6 & 7.  Before and After
So, way back in November, I mentioned that we were repainting our kitchen cabinets and adding a backsplash and painting our family room.  The cabinets got painted pretty quickly, but the backsplash took longer to get up.(Thanks to my sister and her friend for doing the backsplash!)  Then, I measured wrong so we ran out of tile and I had to order more.  

I have been waiting to share the pics until it was completely finished, but realistically, if I wait until the moldings are up or I order the big stencil that I want for a feature wall in the family room we will be ready to re-do the kitchen again! are some before and afters.(please ignore the dirty dishes in the sink!)   




I love the new cabinet color!  It brightens up the space a lot!
The back splash is fun and brings in sage green in the glass tiles:)


I should have looked at the original camera angle that I took!
We painted the island a shade of green for a "pop" of color.
The color ties into the backsplash, too!
See, honey, all those hours watching HGTV aren't wasted!

Have a fun..and healthy...weekend!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

With God, All Things Are Possible!

What a crazy week!  Strep throat, snow storm, no school because of snow storm, a cancelled trip to D.C. to attend the March for Life for Jay and the older kids....This week has felt more like a month than a week!

There's been lots of disappointment to go around!

We are mostly on the mend here, but Ellie is having a hard time kicking this strep throat.  I'm going to try some natural treatments along with her antibiotic.  I proclaim war on illness!
Today, bedding will be washed(again), and I will wipe down every handle in the house(again)!

I just want everyone to be healthy!

Winter blues seem to have taken up residence in our house.  Having their much anticipated trip cancelled was very discouraging to Jay, Andrew, Jon and Sarah.  Jay has spent many, many hours working on talks to give to the youth group at different points of the long bus ride down to D.C.  It's a very inspiring trip...and of course lots of fun for the kids to spend many hours with their closest friends.  Sarah probably took it the hardest.  She is very driven by the pro-life cause and going to the March was very important to her.

I did not do a very good job trying to foster a positive atmosphere in my home this week.  In fact, I may have won the "Queen Negativity" crown for the week.  That's not exactly the crown I am after:(  Never is it more evident at the effect's of mom's mood than when I'm cranky and it spreads to everyone on the house faster than....well, strep throat!

It's hard to be a mom in the midst of many illnesses.  Just that alone is a lot to handle...and this winter has been a tough one for us!  Strep is not our first rodeo of the winter!

My tolerance to deal with it just isn't as high as it usually is.  (Although, even in my best emotional year, a winter like this would have me crying in a corner at some point!)

I've got a few kinks in my emotional armor this year.  The all over the place emotions make it easy to keep my focus down and small and negative.  I feel like positive change won't happen, or that it is too hard and there's no way that I can actually do it so why even bother trying.

My word for the year is "Wish", yet even thinking about creating goals and having dreams just seems overwhelming and pointless.  I know I need goals and dreams...beyond getting the laundry done each day(because, really, that's such a fruitless dream because the laundry is never done!)

The other day, I received an invitation to a webinar in my inbox from the Women of Grace Benedicta Leadership Institute for Women..."Successfully Navigating Through a Mid-life Crisis."  I actually almost laughed out loud when I opened the email.

I'm thinking it would be a good thing for me to log into!  (stop nodding enthusiastically in agreement, Honey!)

Here's to hoping that Ellie can kick the strep and we can have a healthy weekend!  (I won't be holding my breath!...)

Oh, wait...that was negative.  With God, all things are possible!


Monday, January 20, 2014

Trying To Stay Positive

I had half of my Friday post already written but never got a chance to finish it.  It had been a whirlwind morning of grocery shopping and picking up things for the baby shower that I was supposed to host on Saturday.

Did you notice I said 'supposed to'?

Well, Friday afternoon, Luke didn't look good.  Kate already had a miserable cold,(and had been queen cranky for several days), which wasn't a huge deal since Jay was bringing all the little kids out of the house for the baby shower.  But, Luke...he just continued to fade as the day went on.  And Andrew started running a fever.  Then Luke's fever started...and he vomited right before dinner.

"Not Again!" was all I could think.

I hadn't been feeling good for most of the day either and figured I was catching the nasty cold Kate so generously shared!

I started to freak out...a lot!  I had a house full of people coming the next day, food to prep, a house to clean, and I was feeling completely discouraged that our family was getting sick....AGAIN!  I called my close friend, Mary, and tried not to completely freak out as I told her what was occurring in my house.  She generously offered to host the shower!  That took all the cleaning off my list and, with Sarah's help, I finished the desserts and prepped the food to go to Mary's house the next morning.

By Saturday morning, I was still sporting a fever and now a sore throat.  I asked Andrew if his throat hurt and it did.  Luke said his throat didn't hurt, buy when I looked at it I was 99% sure he had strep.  I got them all appointments and the strep test came out positive for everyone.

Jay and Sarah took all the food and decorations to Mary's while I was at the doctor's.  They were all lifesavers.  I called my own doctor on the way home from the pediatrician's and, thankfully, she called in an antibiotic for me!  I was dreading having to wait at urgent care with everyone so sick at home and feeling so lousy myself.

Sunday was spent on the couch or doling out antibiotics and advil!  Ellie started with a fever Saturday night, so Jay had to bring her to the doctor's after church.  She had the worst case of all:(  She is still running a fever today, but much lower than yesterday!

Ugh!  Lots of laughs around here!

I had my share of pity parties this weekend.  We have just had so many illnesses come through our house since the beginning of December.  We have had to cancel so many plans!  This weekend was supposed to be the baby shower on Saturday, then we were getting together with the Martin Family on Sunday morning for breakfast after Mass, and then my nephew's birthday party at lunch time.

I was supposed to get to talk to grown ups multiple times this weekend!

There are some years that are like this.  Sometimes there are so many viruses passed around...and so many people to get sick...that it feels like we will never be better!  I know that isn't true....but caring for sick kids, and getting sick yourself, multiple times over a winter is definitely a challenging part of motherhood!

I'm feeling like just locking us all in the house, sticking a "quarantined" sign on the door, and not coming out until spring!

I'm grateful for friends' prayers and well wishes, gifts of popsicles for the sick people and Air borne to hopefully keep the rest of the family from getting sick from my friend, Kim, and some homemade soup from my friend, Michelle.

Staying positive isn't easy right now.

I'm trying!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Selfie Photo Shoot

Jay got me an iphone for Christmas.  Most of my kids know how to work it better than I do.  Kate enjoyed her own little photo session the other day.  I'm not sharing all 114 pictures she took in less than a minute(!), but here are a few of Kate's first attempt at 'selfie's'......

What a goober...but a cute goober:)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Celebrating Babies!

Fevers are gone...hooray!  Of course, Kate was up a lot last night because she now has the cold that Luke had.  Sigh.....two steps forward and one step back!  But I'm glad the fevers are gone and no one is puking!

At least for now.....

Is is spring yet?  We have had two days of unusually warm weather.  I'm not pulling out the swim suits or anything, but 50 degrees in the middle of January is pretty darn good.  I'm not even looking at the weather channel to find out if we are turning arctic again tomorrow...I'm just enjoying the temperature today!

I have several friends that are having babies soon.  My friend, Pam, who I had the gender reveal party for back in September, is due in two weeks but possibly any time the way she's been feeling the last 24 hours!

On Saturday, I'm holding a little baby shower for another friend, Shelby, whose baby is due February 9th.  It's her 5th it's not the giant baby shower for a first time mom!  It will be much smaller scale, but it's still nice to pamper a mom-to-be and help get ready for a new little one in the house.

When I was pregnant with both Luke and Kate, my closest friends threw me a little baby shower each time!  It was really helpful to have outfits and diapers ready to go.  Since it was 6 years between Ellie and Luke, we had given everything away thinking we wouldn't be having more children.

Obviously God had other ideas:)

Even though Luke and Kate are only two years apart, being different genders and born in different seasons(Luke was summer, Kate was winter), I didn't have many clothes that would work.  So, the surprise shower that my friends threw for me before Kate was born was super helpful!

Plus, what women don't want an excuse to hang out with her close friends and eat desserts?  (Oohing and aawing over cute baby clothes just makes it even better!)

My friend knows she is having a it's a lot of fun throwing a 'pretty in pink' party!  It's been fun making lists and figuring out the menu.  (Planning the party has also been a good distraction.  It's good having something positive to focus on!)

Tomorrow, Mike has graciously agreed to drag himself out of bed at an un-Godly hour to come with me and Kate to get supplies.  (He's 20 and on college 8am is un-Godly to him!)

Since pregnancies usually happen in three' the old saying goes...I am off the hook because my friend, Colleen, is having a baby towards the end of March.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Not a Stellar Weekend

I feel like I am arriving at Monday battered and bruised.

It was not a stellar weekend...and that is an understatement!

We found out late Friday afternoon that our pastor is being transferred in June.  That is a big blow for our parish and for our family.  Msgr. O'Connor arrived at our parish almost six years ago and has been a faithful and strong leader for our parish and school.  He has become like part of our own family, so having him transferred has left all of us grieving and hurting.

Luke has had a terrible sinus cold and cough since Wednesday.  He has spent most nights coughing and waking himself...and me...up multiple times.  He was running a fever overnight on Friday, so I ended up taking him to the doctor's Saturday morning to check his lungs.  (Mike is getting over pneumonia, so I wanted to make sure Luke was ok.)  Thankfully, his lungs were clear.

Kate, who has been SUPER clingy lately, started running a fever on Saturday afternoon.  She and Luke were both miserable all through Saturday night and all day Sunday.  I spent most of both days on the couch just holding Kate because that's the only thing she wanted to do.

It was a very.long.weekend.

Today is a new day.  Thankfully, the sun is out and Kate's fever broke.  Luke is coughing less and seems filled with extra energy today(!) so I think he should be all set for school tomorrow!

Emotionally, I'm still reeling a lot a bit.  There were lots of tears and somber faces at Mass yesterday.  Lots of people are hurting over the upcoming change and loss we are facing.  I feel overwhelmed by it because of all the changes in our own lives that we are already facing this year!  I already felt back-logged by all my feelings for the coming year....and now I feel really overwhelmed!


Life and changes are going to happen whether I want them to or not!  I've had past experience with just sticking my head 'in the sand' and hoping things go away and I know it doesn't work!  You just end up getting battered by the waves of life that roll in anyway!

So, I am working through my feelings...even the messy ones.  I am praying to find God's peace for myself, my family and all my friends and fellow parishioners that are hurting right now.

Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday Already!?!

Wow did this week go by fast!  Unfortunately, this is Jay's weekend to work:(  I'm praying he doesn't have many patients to see!

To wrap up the week......

1.  Earthquake
Apparently there was a small earthquake(1.9) that happened yesterday while I was enjoying book club with my friends.  We didn't even feel it!  I think that's because we are so used to crazy kids jumping around the house, and teenagers who don't know how to close the front door without shaking the house, that it takes way more than that for us to take notice!

2.  Winter
Seriously, I am such a baby about this weather.  I don't like the cold.  It makes me want to hibernate!  I go out as little as possible!  I'm daydreaming about Florida and wishing for a long vacation to soak up some sun!  I probably mentioned this before, but one of my was a Disney trip we took during February vacation several years ago.  I remember eating dinner by the pool in our bathing suits at 6:30 pm.... in the middle of February!  It was was still light was the best!    

3.  Hats
Winter is definitely not my favorite, but Kate does look super cute in her hat:)

4. Fashionista
Kate like clothes...and shoes.  Especially shoes!  In the morning, we have to give her 2 shirts to choose from otherwise there is an 85% chance of a tantrum.  Same on the shoes.  The other day she found random accessories and "dolled herself up".  Stylin'!

5.  More on Shoes
Like I just mentioned, Kate loves shoes and boots.  Jay still has a picture of Kate holding the first pair of shoes we bought her so lovingly!

That love has continued to grow!  After Christmas, Sarah and I had a girls afternoon of returning/shopping and I found a super cute pair of boots for Kate.(on sale:)  When we got home, I told Kate I had something for her.  She walked over and looked in the box.  Her eyes lit up, her voice got extra squeaky and she started clapping her hands saying, "Yay, boots!!!"

The older boys that were in the room looked over at Jay and said, "Yah, Dad, you're screwed!" 

6.  Resolutions
I still haven't spent a whole lot of time reflecting on New Year's resolutions.  This is a big year with more big changes decisions, family dynamics changing depending on who goes away to school and who stays local, the big '4-0' looming sooner that I want, Jay's big '4-0', a high school graduation, a son turning 18 and a son turning 21. wonder I want to avoid pondering the year!:)

7. Word of the Year
Last year around this time, it was all the buzz to choose a word that would be a focus for the year.  I wasn't going to do it, then I started thinking about it, and felt God put the word enough on my heart.  It has been a word that has come up all throughout the year!  In some ways, I'm still working on 'being enough' and 'loving enough' and feelings of 'having enough'.  

2014 is a new year! (Although I keep writing 2013 on my checks!)  I got a new word when I wasn't even expecting it.  My friend, Mary, gave me a super cute angel ornament that held a word in her hands....
To explain all that the word is already making me think about would be a whole other blog I will save it for another day!  The word is already helping me to look at the new year with a positive perspective!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Meal Planning

I still can't get back into a post holiday rhythm!  Trying....and failing...but I'm going to keep working at it!

Today, I decided to talk about meal planning.  Over the last several months, multiple people have happened to bring up the subject of struggling most days to figure out 'what's for dinner'.

The whole concept of unplanned meals is pretty foreign...and really me!  With 9 other people to feed in this house, including a somewhat picky eater and a VERY picky eater, having planned meals is a really important part of my job as mom/home organizer.  I would be so stressed out if I arrived at 4pm each day trying to figure out what to make for dinner with a whiny toddler and preschooler and the knowledge that a hungry husband and several hungry 'man sized' teens/young adult would be walking through the door soon "starving!" and ready to start eating someone's arm if dinner isn't ready!

While there are lots of areas where putting 'organizer' next to my name as a job description would have my husband and children raising a cynical eyebrow at me, meal planning would not be one of them.  Not counting the occasional hiccup, I plan and shop for a week's worth of meals every Friday.  (Or Saturday morning if I absolutely can't get it done on Friday...but generally I try to avoid Saturday shopping.  It is just way too busy!)

Here's the way I organize our family's meal planning....

To save money, I plan my meals around the sales circular of the local grocery store I shop at.  I do the bulk of my shopping at one store.  (For some of Peter's specialty food, I have to go to a second store where I will also pick up whatever "super sale" items are on sale that week that we use.)

Every Thursday, I pull out the circular.  I figure out what meat is on sale and then I start brainstorming what I want to cook that week.  I grab a piece of white lined paper(or back of a 8x11 sheet of computer paper or an unimportant used school paper...recycling is good:)  and write Saturday through Thursday on the upper right hand side.  Like so.....

Where's Friday, you might be asking?  Well, on Friday my parents invite us for a take out dinner of either pizza or Chinese I get the night off from cooking:)  It makes the end of the week even sweeter for me!

Quick side note.....I also cross reference our calendar for the following week so I know if there are any games for the kids or meetings we need to attend where I need to make something easy for a quick clean up, or a crock pot meal if I will be out at night....or schedule a leftover(or whatever) night if Jay will be out.  Knowing what I'm looking at for the week helps make planning easier!

To give you a real time example, and kill 2 birds with 1 stone, I will create my list for the week while sharing my step by step method for menu planning.  (I always, always shop with a list!)

So, this week at Stop and Shop, there are boneless chicken breasts and a beef roast on sale that catch my eye.  Thinking through the meals (most) of my family enjoys, I'm filling in Sunday's dinner as a roast, Monday's as lemon chicken, and Thursday as 'awesome chicken'.  (Awesome chicken is baked chicken in a homemade ketchup based sauce...and it's great served over mashed potatoes!  yum:)

I had a request for cheeseburgers....that will be Saturday's meal.  It's supposed to be 54 degrees on Saturday...heatwave! grilling is a good option!  Plus, it's game day....Patriot's are in the playoffs Saturday night, so burgers with homemade french fries are a good choice!

I always do one pasta dish a week because it's something my pickiest eater will definitely eat!  (And he has the leftovers on some of the other I know he won't starve!)  Usually Wednesdays will be spaghetti and meatballs...and some weeks I make lasagna.  But this week, spag and meatballs it is!)

That leaves Tuesday.  I have frozen scallops I need to use in the freezer and I will make homemade Black Dog chowder to go with it.

That's it!  One week of meals.  Now I think about what ingredients i need to make each meal and the sides and add them to the list.  Then I add any paper products we are out of and any really good sale items that I want to pick up.  I also add in our 'regular' snack items and any food staples we are out of.

Quick side note.....I set up my list mostly based on the aisles of the store.  It helps me to move through the store quickly without having to back track for items....a real necessity when you have the ticking time bomb of a toddler who will only sit still for so long!(and that takes into account the piece of cheese she gets at the deli and the fruit snacks I open for her a couple aisles later!)

And here is the final product that includes the short list for the second grocery store.(bottom right)

My friend, Laura, inspired this post with her New Year's resolution to "plan meals better".(Thanks, Laura:)
Happy shopping!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Back to Routine

Anyone else have a hard time getting going this morning?

After more than 2 weeks off with just one "regular" day last Thursday before the snow storm rolled in, it is not easy to get back into the school routine!

It was a little ugly around here....and I'm thinking that Jay didn't get Ellie and Luke to school in time for the bell!

We will have to do better tomorrow!  Back to 'early to bed, early to rise'!

Poor Kate cried when Luke walked out the door to school.  She followed him to the door and stood there crying pitifully, "Lukie....Lukie...want play Lukie".  :(  Poor baby....her big brother is her buddy.  Luckily, he only goes to preschool for half a day so they will have plenty of play time this afternoon!

What a crazy month it has been!  It's going to take me a while to find some kind of normal and sort through all my back-logged emotions.

Doesn't that sound like fun?!? :\

Today's goal is to fold laundry, take down the Christmas tree, clean the kitchen, and try to spend some time thinking about some goals for this year.  That's a hefty list for me!

A special birthday shout out to my nephew, Brayden, who turns four today!  Luke and Brayden are best buddies!  It's great having a cousin who is the same age and lives close by!

Best buds and partners in crime!  Happy Birthday, Brayden! 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy Friday!

Linking up with Jen for 7 Quick Takes Friday!  I have lots of pictures to share:)

1.  What a Difference a Year Makes!
Christmas 2012
Christmas 2013

2.  An Even Bigger Difference!

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2013
3.  And Once Again....

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2013

4.  Funny Pic

Christmas Eve Silliness!
I wanted to take a pic of Jay with his older boys and this is what happened!
(Jay is feeding Jon cheesecake in case you were wondering!)

5.  More Sibling Silliness!
These pics need a little background.  Our kids exchange names with each other for secret Santa.  Andrew got Jon, and as part of his gift, Andrew framed some 'original artwork' that he found stuffed in one of his Pearls Before Swine books.  The paper is a drawing that Jon, Sarah, and Mike created on the plane ride on our way to Disney in April.  Of all the silly things they drew on the paper, one particular stood out and has become a household "legend"....the flying butt, created by Jon.(shocking isn't it....not!)
Jon was completely surprised...and overjoyed....with his gift!
Being the tease he is, Jon's gift to Sarah a few minutes later caused a few more laughs.  Jon wrapped up his man flops and, with all seriousness, told Sarah he was giving them to her.  A moment later, he started laughing at the look of confusion on Sarah's face and Sarah realized it was just a joke...and threw the sandal at him!  It's never dull at our house!  (His real gift to her was a special edition Sherlock Holmes book:)
Mike got Andrew a bacon bobble head...because he is crazy about bacon!

6.  New Year's Eve
So New Year's Eve was supposed to be pretty big in our house.  Jon had invited about 10 teens over and we had a few friends and their kids plus my sister and one of her friends coming over....about 38 people including us.  At 4pm, Jon started feeling sick.  At 5, we were all regretting that he had eaten bbq chicken pizza for lunch:(  So, we had to cancel everyone last minute:(

I tried to salvage the night and Sarah and I tagged team to still make some special food....coconut chicken, buffalo chicken taquitos, and piggies in a blanket.  We played Pandemic and Loaded Questions, but everyone fizzled out at 11.  Andrew went to bed, Sarah and Jay fell asleep on the couch, and Mike, Ellie and I were passing time to get to midnight.  Luke started fussing at 11:45, and I fell asleep getting him settled.   Only Mike and Ellie watched the ball drop!  A bit of a bummer to begin 2014:(

Kate looked really cute making piggies, though:)

7.  January 1, 2014
My mom has an open house every year on New Year's Day.  Jon stayed home and Andrew had to work, but the rest of us headed over.  I got some cute shots...

Kate with my grandfather, 'Pepere'

Luke and my nephew, Brayden

Luke being silly
I love(!) this pic of Luke!

Kate and my niece, Mya

Pretty girls!
And, last but not least......Daddy with his baby girl!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Welcome to January

Blog wise I feel like I fell off the face of the earth....

....but I haven't!

I've just been completely wrapped up, (and occasionally overwhelmed), at having a full house, working through my grandmother's death, all the holiday prep, dealing with the stomach bug that continues to go through our house every few days, and then the actual holidays themselves.  Oh, and now it's a new year and I haven't really had the chance to reflect on the old one or consider my own personal focus and goals for 2014.'s definitely been a little overwhelming.

Not all overwhelming, though!  There have been some really nice moments, too.  There is just a lot to process and no time to actually spend processing.

Ever feel like that!?!  I know most moms do after a vacation!  (or at the end of every day!)

Today, most of my kiddos are back at school.  Except the college boys who have 3 more weeks off....and Jon who is still recovering from the stomach bug he started with on New Year's Eve!  (More on that later, but it changed our plans of 20+ extra people in our house...not including 'just us' in the blink of an eye late that afternoon!)

I need hours,and more realistically days, to reorganize after the post Christmas chaos.  I will start it today, but with an impending snow storm tomorrow and the likelihood that everyone will be home again....and the dread that I will have to drag out all of the snow clothes(!!!!)...I'm not sure how successful I will be.

As usual, the phrase 'a day late and a dollar short' sounds like my life motto!  As I attempt to settle back into some kind of normal routine, I will be catching up, (probably slowly), with everything I've fallen behind on!  (Either that or I will just give up all together and just move!  Honestly, that sounds like a better options right now!  I have dreams of building a house with lots and lots of closets....)

Stay tuned for some cute pics, silly stories, and all the other chaos that happens around here on a daily basis!

Happy New Year:)