Friday, October 31

Pumpkin Night for Grownups...

After carving the pumpkin yesterday afternoon, my husband suggested that we have some pumpkin pie to keep with the theme (he's obviously been married to me for awhile!). Happily, I remembered that I had a recipe that we both liked from Monica. I whipped it out of my recipe box and made a quick trip to the market with one child while my husband read to the other. A few hours later, we enjoyed this while watching The Office. It doesn't get much better than that!

Thursday, October 30

Pumpkin Night...

We did a few pumpkin activities as a family tonight that were really fun!
First, Papa carved a pumpkin.

While Papa got our design figured out, we read The Pumpkin Patch Parable. It was a book that we had already read before, but I think that our daughter got a lot out of this reading since she could see the steps of carving a pumpkin and see the slimy insides and seeds as we were reading.

Papa drew a cross on our pumpkin and then carved it.

While he drew and carved, our little girl colored her own paper version of the inspiration for our design.

Once it was craved, we put in a candle.


Tuesday, October 28

Menu Planning...

I've been continually inspired by the meals that Hannah comes up with for her family - she even plans hot breakfasts. I've been trying to do the same here (french bread toast with butter and jam, pancakes and sausage, eggs, french toast, cream of wheat with brown sugar and bananas, and apple crisp). Some mornings are easier than others, but I have noticed that we have a better morning with a good breakfast filling our bellies that we (my little girl and I) prepare together.

Here's the rest of this week's menu plan:

Lunch: Grilled Chicken over Garden Salad with Balsamic Vinegar Dressing
Dinner: Chicken Parmesan and Spaghetti

Lunch: Pepperoni Pizza
Dinner: Sloppy Joes

Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, and Green Beans

Lunch: Black Bean Soup and Bread
Dinner: Shrimp Scampi, Salad, and Garlic Bread

Brunch: Pancakes and Sausage
Dinner: Chicken, Broccoli and Cheese Casserole and Applesauce

Lunch: Tuna fish sandwiches, chips, and pickles
Dinner: Baked Fish, Oven Baked potatoes, and Salad

Lunch: Sandwiches, chips, and pickles
Dinner: Burgers

Lunch: Sandwiches, chips, and pickles
Dinner: Chicken Pot Pie and Salad

Saturday, October 25

Saturday's Feminine Tip...

As the weather gets cooler, most of us are putting away out sandals and forgetting about taking care of chipped polish or rough skin on our feet. After all, socks just cover it all up! Remember though, it doesn't take much time to smooth a little lotion on before you put don your socks! You will be thankful that you did when the weather warms up in the spring and you head off to do some shoe shopping!

Thursday, October 23

Revised Daily Routines...

Lately, I've felt that our daily routine has not been working as well for us as it could be. I am a procrastinator by nature, but it seems like fewer of the things on my list are getting done each day. I had a little time this morning to tweak things and I hope this little routine will work a little better for us! I'm hoping that it will help us with our tendency to aimlessly wander around wondering what to do next! Of course there will be days when we have to go out in the morning or will have a church service, are entertaining guests, etc. This is just a guide for our days and I try to not obsess if things don't get done when I want them to!

Daily Routine

Early Morning (before 9 am)

  • Rise and Shine (getting dressed, teeth, faces, hair)
  • Breakfast and Vitamins
  • Walk
  • Homeschooling Activities
  • Lunch and Dinner Prep.


  • Morning Prayers (We do this as a family, so we need to wait for Papa to be ready.)
  • Tidy Up and Laundry
  • Reading Time
  • Organizing and Daily Projects
  • Bible Stories and Nap


  • Lunch
  • Tidy Up and Laundry
  • Cleaning
  • Outside Adventure or Playtime and Tea
  • Gardening


  • Dinner
  • Walk (we'll do this before dinner in the Autumn and Winter b/c it is too dark once dinner is done)
  • Evening Prayers
  • Reading Time
  • Bedtime Routine

Late Evenings (Once the children are asleep)

  • Tidy House, Garbage, and Recycling
  • Wash Kitchen Linens or Diapers
  • Bathtime for Mama
  • Lay Out Clothing (So that we can go on a walk in the morning without waking Papa Bear!)
  • Evening Relaxing Time

Cleaning Schedule

  • Monday: Clean Bathrooms, Wash Towels, Garbage
  • Tuesday: Clean Bedrooms and Wash Bedding
  • Wednesday: Clean Office, Laundry Room, Hall, and Steps
  • Thursday: Clean the Reading Room and Family Room
  • Friday: Clean the Kitchen and Dining Room
  • Saturday: Clean the Porches, Tidy the Garden, and Car

Wednesday, October 22

Sweet-Smelling Crafts...

I found instructions for Cinnamon Ornaments in my issue of Martha Stewart Holiday Crafts magazine so my little girlfriend and I decided to try them out this afternoon. They were surprisingly easy to put together (I've had issues with making homemade salt dough ornaments before) though the process takes a long time (between waiting an hour for the dough to sit after its made, making the ornaments, and then baking them for two hours). Our little girl lost interest after they went in the oven, but I expect that she'll be excited when she sees them hanging from the cabinet doors in the morning! The smell is absolutely wonderful! Even the oven smells good hours later!

Tuesday, October 21

My New Favorite Kitchen Tool...

A few weeks ago I splurged at Babies'r'Us and bought this little baby food maker. I think that it is my absolute favorite baby item for the older baby. Instead of buying tons of little, expensive jars of baby food (Earth's Best, usually), I just spoon a little of whatever we're eating into the container and whir it up for our son. It takes about three minutes to set it up and make the food and I feel like my boy is eating like a little prince (though the finished product doesn't look too appetizing)!

We had Beef Stroganoff, by the way...

Monday, October 20

Helping Mama...

I found a great website that lists some of the things that children can do to help their parents at different ages. I printed up one for our two year old and one for our ten month old (though he is not even close to being able to do what they suggest!). I put them up on the fridge for easy referral so that I can continually remind myself to direct our daughter to help me throughout the day. She seems to enjoy her little jobs quite a bit and I love the idea of everyone working together to make our home life beautiful!

How do you handle chores in your home?

Sunday, October 19

Congratulations, Phoebe and Andrew!

My cousin married her high school sweetheart on Saturday! She's a beautiful bride, isn't she?

Saturday, October 18

Apple Pie for Breakfast...

My little girl suggested sweetly that we have apple pie this morning for breakfast. Sure, twist my arm, Kid! We made Sour Cream Apple Pie on Thursday and the recipe is definitly a keeper!

Friday, October 17

Creating Montessori Activities for My Little One...

I came across the blog, Chasing Cheerios a few days ago and was absolutely thrilled at the huge number of wonderful activities Melissa has posted (if you want to look for them quickly, go to the labels section on the side and click Montessori)! After browsing around for awhile, I set to work to fill our little cart up with ten different "games" for our daughter to try. Starting from the top shelf I have sorting shapes and jars and lids. On the second shelf there is pouring beans, water transfer with a sponge, and bead stringing. Our third shelf holds color matching and ice cube transfer. The last shelf has a puzzle 2D/3D matching, and sorting rubber bands by color (red, yellow, and blue).

I literally spent $5 on this project (I wanted to get the pill box and hair bands for the color matching activity) and our daughter is THRILLED with the different activities. She sits on the couch or at the table (depending on the activity). I model the activity and she does it for as long as she wants. When she's done, we put it away and take out the next one and so on until she wants to do something else.

I think that you'll like this blog! Check it out!

Thursday, October 16

Using the Nursery for Sleeping...

Up until this week, the nursery hasn't been used for sleeping... though we didn't mean to be a co-sleeping family, we became one and loved it! The time has come for at lease one of our peeps (this biggest, kicking one) to go to her own bed. God must be in agreement, because after we discussed the matter on Saturday night, Sunday morning we were offered this toddler bed from parishioners who found it in a house they just bought. The plan is to put the railing onto the crib and pop the baby in the nursery for at least part of the night too. We'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, October 15

Brambly Hedge...

After reading that Bethgem liked these books, I inter-library loan them... Hello! I need to OWN them! You will love them... even if you are an adult. I actually continued reading the rest of the seasons in the collection of four after the babies fell asleep. Poppy's Babies is the first book my daughter refers to by name!

Tuesday, October 14

Little Man is Ten Months Old...

Little Man turned ten months old on Sunday and in honor of this, here are ten things about him:

1. He can stand and most recently learned to walk if he is holding on to his sister tricycle (see photo).
2. He cries and whines a lot more than his sister ever did.
3. He smiles and laughs a lot more than his sister ever did.
4. He likes to be held.
5. He does not like it if you eat in front of him without offering him a bite... it doesn't matter one bit if he *just* ate!
6. He has eaten dirt a lot more than I care to admit.
7. He love, love, loves his father! He will literally push me away if Papa enters the room and crawl at warp speed over to him. It's particularly cute when we are at church and he tries to do this:)
8. He likes to wrestle his stuffed caterpillar.
9. He uses a pacifier.
10. He has no teeth yet!

Monday, October 13

Delicious Banana Bread...

Run over here and try this recipe! It is pretty much the best banana bread I've ever made!

Note: Watch the cook time though... mine was done about 5 minutes earlier that the recipe says.


As we were heading downstairs to go on a walk this afternoon, I spotted my cross on the carpet by my dresser! Thank you so much for your prayers! Now I know who to come to when I loose something... your prayers are wonderful!

Sunday, October 12

Harvest Festival...

The babies and I headed to a local harvest festival (everything except food was FREE!!) and had a blast! We rode the carousel, took a hay ride (where they told us some local history), got our hands and feet painted, bobbed for apples, and listened to some live music! What a fun Saturday!

Lost Cross...

Please say a prayer that I find my lost cross! It is particularly dear to me as it was the cross I wore on my wedding day. Thank you!

Saturday, October 11

The Good Wife....

"The advice in all of those books ran along the same lines: keep a well ordered home; be a cheerful helpmeet; be tuned in to his need for physical affection. I've read volumes on submission and volumes on traditional roles. Lots and lots of good advice."

I needed to hear those words today!! Read more from the wonderful article at Elizabeth Foss's blog, In the Heart of My Home.

A Good Day for Warm Food...

Some of the warm foods we'll enjoy today: Cream of Wheat with brown sugar and bananas for breakfast and Apple Crisp for tonight's dessert. Next on the kitchen agenda is Sour Cream Apple Pie...

Friday, October 10

Real Life...

New Mom recently asked:

Your house is always so neat and tidy! Are you a natural born neat-freak/organizer so that your house stays like this, or does it get messy like mine? I'm really curious how you keep it so neat with the two kiddos.

Well New Mom, normally, I tidy things up a bit before I take photos of things to show on the blog. I like organizing things and having a tidy house, but having a perfect house just isn't reality with a two year old and a ten month old. Here are some photos that prove that we are messy:

We had naptime on the futon this morning (note that it is now almost dinnertime!).

Yes, that is literally dirt on the floor. My little boy likes to dig in the plants and I'm not always as quick at keeping him away from the pots as he is getting there!

Toys (this is actually not as bad as it was! I had my daughter pick up the baby toys before we went on a walk)...

Dishes waiting to be put away... and they've been there since breakfast!

Some clean laundry waiting to be folded and put away... there are diapers that need to be hung to finish drying in the dryer and whites that need to be dried and at least one more load waiting to be washed!!

If I took pictures after dinner, you'd see how heinous things can really get around here!! I generally don't finish cleaning up from the day for an hour after the children are asleep!

Wednesday, October 8

A Busy Weekend...

We went on a little vacation/family visit this past weekend. On our way back to our home state of New Jersey, we stopped in Pennsylvania to visit Longwood Gardens. We had a great time checking out the grounds, gardens, tree houses, conservatory, Children's Garden, and miniature train!

We went to my brother's soccer game on Saturday morning and our daughter is so enamored with the sport that she has been "playing" it ever since!

After Liturgy on Sunday, my father-in-law's parish threw a party for him in honor of the anniversary of his thirtieth year as the priest of their parish - my husband was three months old when they arrived from Alaska! It was a lot of fun!

After the party, Fr. James took us to on a train ride to Pumpkin Junction... since trains and pumpkins are our daughter's favorite things right now, this trip was a big hit!

Monday was my husband's namesday and we celebrated by taking a trip to New York City. We spent most of our time at the Central Park Zoo, but also got in a little sightseeing and cupcake eating before going back to New Jersey.

After a big breakfast and visit with my mom, dad, and one sister, we headed back home. It was a great visit!
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