Sunday, February 28, 2010

i love my home... a little bit more!

I was inspired by a month long challenge that started on feb. 1, over at a fresh start.  It was called 28 days to love your home.  You all know, I LOVE our new home. But as of today, we have lived in it for 8 and a half months and at the beginning of this month it still looked pretty much the same as when we first moved in(minus the Valentine's decorations).  Not for lack of ideas rolling around in my head!   So I decided to spend February implementing some of those ideas...

Nothing big. (for now)

I was inspired by this closet redo.


1) I didn't have the extra $100 right now to buy the supplies.


2) My hallway closet currently houses my big ol' Dyson and a folding card table and four chairs.

Then I was in Walmart and saw a four pack of those boxes in a smaller size for just $6, so I grabbed them.  I used one right away for the growing pile of colored socks thrown on top of the older girls' bureau. 

That's much better.

They think it's cool to wear mismatched colored socks now.  They thought they made that up.  Then I told them about the 80's and how I used to wear four socks every day- criss crossed the colors and slouched them all down.  They think that sounds ugly. Hmph.

I digress.

I slowly but steadily added to my eclectic mug collection...

and I finally bought the covered cake stand I've had my eye on...

unfortunately, the cake didn't last the time it took to find my camera. ;)

I spotted this cute little bowl on etsy and planned to buy it (along with an all scarlet one)...

which inspired the color theme for my kitchen this Spring...

(I'll be throwing in a little aqua too.)

I found a fun use for some funky scarves the ladies had lying around...

window mistreatments.

Then I finally stopped waiting-

 for more money,
more time,
and more space

and just addressed my creative needs...

turns out I don't need much space right now anyways, lol.

So it was on to find that space.

A little space that could be my space.

It's funny what you find when you look hard enough.

And see that the bottom two shelves here...

could easily become this...


Last, but not least,

I embraced the roses John bought us...

(we girls split a dozen)

even though I can't arrange flowers to save my life.

But I do know how to enjoy them.

And my home. A little bit more than before!

Could you enjoy your home a little bit more in March?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

this week has been NUTS!

if it wasn't for scheduled posting, I wouldn't have posted anything.

lots of doctors appointments for the ladies-
some scheduled, some unplanned but neccessary.

one whole day spent in the er.

such is life.

I was overwhelmed by your thoughtful responses and support to my a call to religion posts.  I was dissappointed in my lack of of time to respond to each and every one of them and visit of your blogs. I missed taking pictures and resorted to this...

getting quick fixes in public restrooms.

(Who says blogging isn't addictive? You might see my family on INTERVENTION some day soon.)

to give you a small idea of the chaos,

this was breakfast yesterday...

Yup, I had to make an Australian flag before setting off  to the er,

because I had committed on Wednesday to bringing it to the GS leader on Friday afternoon. 

Thankfully John was able to actually deliver it for me. (Thanks honey, you rock!)

And for those of you who might be interested...

Mackenna is scheduled to get her adnoids out.

Shaye is scheduled to get her tonsils and adnoids out.

We ruled some stuff out for Gianna,
now she needs to follow up with a GI doctor for more tests - and hopefully a diagnosis?!?

all in March.

Along with Shaye's brithday, Shaye's birthday party,  Girl Scout Sunday,  Little House on the Prairie day, 
and more that I am sure I am forgetting as I type this.

Nothing to complain about, in fact I am thankful at how (relatively)minor everything is.

And I am looking forward to Spring!

Now comment away
and I promise to find time to visit each and every person who does!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

a call to religion. part three

How do you explain abortion to a seven year old?!??

I took a deep breath and then, very calmy, said, "It's when a woman decides that she can not or does not want to have the baby growing in her stomach, so a doctor takes the baby out early and, because it is not done growing, it can not live, so it  goes straight to Heaven."  I realized I was still holding my breath.

With a baffled look on her face,  she looked straight into my eyes and asked , "Why can't the Mommy just have the baby and give it to someone who can or does want it?"

"That, my sweet Shaye, would make you a pro-lifer." was what I said out loud.  I was thinking, "But sometimes it's not that simple."

Then I looked at her in all of her innocence...

 and thought, "Or is it?"

For so long, I have held the belief that our brains and what we know to be true,  must, in all common sense, overrule  our hearts and what we feel and what we believe to be true. 

So what that organized religion had more to do with power when it came to be, if, today, it can bring my family a sense of belonging and comfort and stability in these crazy modern times.  If the Catholic powers-that-were created rules and scripture to conviently support their views and ambitions. Don't I technically do the same thing when I comfort my daughters, and myself, with the words -  Papa is in Heaven? When I pray for the health of my friend's baby?  When I bless myself when I hear an ambulance siren? When I thank God, every night, after my girls are in bed and I am lying in the arms of a man who gave me and shares the life I have today, for all that I do have?

Is it so wrong to formally, publicly, acknowledge my Faith? Faith that there is something, someone, out there greater than I?  Can't I agree to disagree with some of the points that the Church and I don't see eye to eye on? Although, the older I get and the more I see, I certainly disagree with some of those teachings less and less.

These are the things that I can't get out of my mind right now.

Girl Scout Sunday is being hosted at a local Catholic church in a few weeks.

We plan on attending. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

a call to religion. part two

This past Christmas season, my very bright seven year old was reading a book about Kwanzaa while we were heading somewhere in the minivan.  She likes to learn more about things often mentioned briefly to or in front of her... and her school was doing the PC thing of mentioning Kwanzaa, but not really teaching anything about it. 

This is the same girl who at six, took me saying that voting is a  responsibility not to be taken lightly, especially for women, as a cue to learn everything she could about the election process, the presidency, former presidents and first ladies (who she can now name by sight), the women's sufferage movement, and Susan B. Anthony.  Did I mention she was 6 at the time?!  It wasn't too long after that we started homeschooling.

 But I digress.

So, Shaye speaks up from the backseat, "This book has printed incorrect information."  Her spotting something like that wouldn't have surprised me. So I asked her what it said.  And she read something along the lines of  Kwanzaa, unlike Christmas and Hanukkah, is not a religious holiday. Then she says, "Christmas isn't a religious holiday."  I told her that, actually, it was.  And then she says, "But we celebrate Christmas and we're not religious.  And how is it religious?"

Startled, I replied, "Well honey, we celebrate the commercial form of Christmas- presents, joy, peace on Earth, good will to men, lights, trees, wreaths, sleigh rides, carolling..." and sort of faded out into a shamed quietHow could my daughter not even know the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. Granted, I know that Christmas isn't technically his birth day, but still, she's seven and she has never even heard the story?!??

Which led to me telling her the story of the birth of Jesus Christ, sprinkling it with words like "some people believe" and "even though the date's not accurate".

Which led to the question,  "How do you know all of this?" and my answer set of a flurry of questions, whose answers led to more questions, until suddenly it was three days later and my seven year old had just asked me "What is abortion?"


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

a call to... religion?! part one

I am not a religious person.  I was born and raised Roman Catholic, like all good little Italian boys and girls.  I  LOVED Mass and wanted to be a priest. For reals.  I practiced in my bathroom mirror. I would have been good!  But, alas, I was to told women were not allowed to hold such postions of power in the Catholic Church. I could be a nun. And feed the poor or spank naughty children with a ruler in school.  No thanks, it's Glory or nothing for this chick.

Then I suffered a fall from Grace. In the eyes of the Church.  I had a baby out of wedlock, and a priest who tried to discourage me from baptizing her. (Um, hello? The whole point of Baptism is to erase original Sin- and the sins of the mother and father, right?  See, I was doing more than filing my nails in the back of CCD class.)  Then, the same priest tried to discourage her father and me from getting married in the Church because we didn't "practice" our Religion. There were a lot of things I wasn't practing then - birth control being one of them (hey, isn't that in line with Catholic teachings?),  as I was 28 weeks pregnant when he finally, begrudgingly, married us. I do not hold his displeasure in that task against him, as we were seperated just over one year later.  It's the fact that I was not welcomed back into the fold, because I was now a >gasp< divorcee.   That really gets my goat. At 23, with two little girls to raise, hello, I could have used God's help.  And yet,  if I had had some odd hundred dollars and the cooperation of my ex-husband, the same Church would have said the whole marriage thing never happened, despite the fact I would still be left with two girls who again, for all intents and purposes, would go back to being born to an unwed mother.

Confused? I was. Bitter? I might still be.

And yet, I let my oldest daughter pursue and receive her First Communion (with the help of her grandmother) and watched her interest wain as soon as she did.  I spent the rest of my twenties and early thirties on the very liberal side of the fence and defended my family's lack of practicing any organized religion by sighting the political and bloody  history of organized religion and the Church's views and hypocrisy on so many rights I believe(ed) in.  When Shaye and Mackenna were born and when my husband wanted to baptize them, I protested, stating that I didn't want our daughters' views and morals shaped by anyone but us and if they wanted to, they could "find" religion when they were adults.

The only time I have stepped in a church since, was for my father's funeral Mass - just over five years ago.  And despite all of my years of indignity and distaste, I found the (still!) familiar service soothing. The sights and sounds of my old Church... comforting.

And then life went on.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

i've lost my mind- and i have proof!


What do you have to say?!

Monday, February 22, 2010

everyone needs a little WhiMSy in their life...

and many of you have it,

 judging by the amount of followers Nikki's blog has!

Last week, Nikki shared the exciting news that she was to have a regular column in her local newspaper called

WhiMSy love (in print).

How cool it that?!

And while I totally plan on getting my own out-of-state subscription, I asked if she could autograph her first column for me and send it this way. (And send the bill via PayPal.) I was completely serious, and thankfully she realized that...

Forget wanting a sewing machine for practical reasons like learning to make the girls summer clothes,  now I want one just to make my own awesome packaging, so when people see my mail in their mailbox, they say, "That Nikki  Gina is so freakin' creative, everything she does rocks!"

And the best part of all...

Congratulations Nikki - you rock!

(still need more WhiMSy in your life?! Check out WhiMSy love - the etsy shop!)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

adapting to a diagnosis of fructose intolerance

Not easy when you are talking about the diet of a 7 year old.

In a family of six.

We are going to have to overhaul our whole way of shopping.

Of cooking.

I don't even know where to begin...

Saturday, February 20, 2010


wherrrrre are you ?!??

in our mailbox?!??

 Our package from the Trendy Owl arrived just two days after I placed our order!  The girls were so excited that they tore right in, never mind that they were still in their jammies when I whipped out my camera...

Oh, yeah! Spring blossomed early around here.

February 19th to be exact...

and Jocelyn was cool enough to through in some extra little goodies...


Which was thrilling to Shaye...

because apparently there is no such thing as overkill to an almost eight year old.   ;)

Has spring blossomed in your home yet?

Friday, February 19, 2010

february this and that

my easy reading recommendation:

The Slippery Year
A Meditation on Happily Ever After

by Melanie Gideon

Funny, and extremely relatable.

My slightly deeper, but very engrossing read recommendation:

the possiblity of everything
a memoir

by Hope Edelman

Thought it might be too heavy for me this month,
but I found it to be a very unique subject matter for a mom to be writing about
and she kept my interest from the first page to the last.

my biggest dissappoint, don't waste your time on this book tip:

No Time to Wave Goodbye

by Jacquelyn Mitchard

A huge disappointment. 

 Felt like it was written just to be a sequel movie to The Deep End of the Ocean.
Took me foreverrrrr to get through it. But once I start a book I can't just stop reading it.

cutest picture taken this month:


taken at the winter carnival

by brielle

Thursday, February 18, 2010

you've got to see her in action to believe it


She's 7...

a double bubble map - to compare and contrast


Inspired by her sister's HONORS 10th grade English assignment- to create a Facebook page for an author, which I thought was a pretty clever way to engage teenagers- Gianna had Alice Hoffman.   

Shaye asked for the unused half of the poster board and created  this...


Still the sweetest little almost 8 year old you can imagine...

*proud mommy moment*

thanks for sharing it with me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

wordless wednesday: love notes

a.k.a. using what you've got, creatively.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

chocolate ROLO cookies

preheat oven to 350 degrees


1 box of Devil's Food cake
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil


roll mix around ROLOS - forming  little balls

Bake for 9 minutes.

makes about 30 cookies...

we doubled the recipe.

You probably should too.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Magic Tree House: Midnight on the Moon

decorations and props for dramatic play

I created the props for dramatic play for this book, for the least amount of money than any of the other books I've done so far!

I went to Walmart and bought only a block of styrofoam (less than $6) and a 2 pack of flags (they didn't have any singles this time of year) were less than $3. I'll save the other one for my 4th of July decorating.  I "cratered" the styrofoam "moon" with my mini ice cream scoop from Pampered Chef and my fingers.  The rest of the items I photocopied from the book and enlarged.  Since we are using these for personal use and not selling them,  I am assuming it's not a copyright issue.  After laminating the items for durabilty, you can use simple Velcro tape to fasten the OPEN button to a wall or bookcase. 

For a decorations, I'm thinking a bulletin board covered with black construction paper and some white out "stars", with these cutouts...

and then cutting a picture of each child's face and pasting it to these smaller versions....


and then cutting the astronauts out and hanging them around the bigger figures. 
I also made some copies of astronauts to cut out and hang from white yarn from the ceiling and I'm hoping to paint some styrofoam balls to look like planets to also hang from the ceiling.   And make stars somehow- realistic stars not the five point kind. Any ideas for that?

I am also going to look for a simple moon helmet craft to make a couple of helmets for the kids to wear.

You will need to supply a dry erase marker so the kids can connect the "stars" on the "star map" to learn the the last clue.  You will also need to have the toy mouse, the "mammoth bone"(aka $ store flute spray painted bone white) flute, the "moon"stone, and a mango (props from earlier books) on hand for them to perform the ceremony that undoes the spell and sets Morgan free.

To put a birthday party twist on this, the invites could read "It's Midnight on the Moon and we're celebrating __________'s birthday"  or "Join us for a party that's out of this world". 

Any ideas or links that you want to add?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

from our home...

 to yours ~

Happy Valentine's Day!