Friday, February 26, 2016

Leap Day 2016

Monday is Leap Day!

I haven't figured out what all we'll do-hopefully I can make a plan.  Once every four years can't pass without a celebration!

Here are a few ideas from around the web:

29 fun things to do on Leap Day

29 activities that require little to no planning

Really involved Leap Day things-if you have a lot of time and motivation and energy.

I'm really liking the idea that it's an extra day-with a free, bonus, absolutely extra day, what would I want to do?  So we'll do some jumping activities, but also maybe something along those lines.  We'll see!

Let me know if you have things planned-I'd love some more ideas!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

"The numbers match!"

Remember when Jimmy was getting up in the middle of the night to play with puzzles?  We solved that!  And it was really easy, and I wanted to share it with you in case you know someone who doesn't sleep enough.

I remembered reading this blog post a long time ago-I probably saw it on Pinterest or something, and so I googled something about kids sleeping longer and found it right away.

How to Teach your Children to Sleep Longer

In a nutshell-you tape a number (in our case a 7) over the minutes on a digital clock in the room, and tell the child that he or she has to stay in bed until the numbers match.  I'd say it took two or three days of asking Jimmy in the morning if the numbers matched, and putting him back in bed if they didn't, and after that, easy peasy!  He stays in bed until the numbers match, and then happily gets up.

Sunday during our weekly meeting (that's another new thing I'll tell about sometime) his contribution was that the numbers were always matching-when he went to bed and when he woke up-as his good thing about the week.  That means we're getting to bed on time, and he's waking up later, and not needing to wait in bed for the numbers to match.

It was such an easy solution-and that is a joy.

Please let me know about solutions you've found!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Katie's Conference

I asked Katie "What will your teacher say to us at conferences?"

Here is her wonderful answer. (She moves back and forth, hope it doesn't make you seasick!)

P.S.-I'm beyond annoyed with the difficulties I'm having editing videos.  I used to always use Windows Movie Maker, and it was easy and quick, but my last couple of cameras shoot video in .mov, which I can't use with Movie Maker.  AND, I've been using Zamzar for a free file converter for years, but it's an annoying extra step and this movie was too big anyway.  Grrr...  I love having videos of the kids, but I don't have time for nonsense.

I need a simple video editor for .mov files.  Can anyone help me out?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Audrey Assad ~ Inheritance

MJL gave Jules a new CD for Valentines Day, because Jules can hear now (20 weeks).


Inheritance by Audrey Assad.  It's a collection of hymns.

I've been playing it on repeat in the kitchen.

I give it my highest recommendation.  I'd buy one for all of you if I could.  Available on itunes and Amazon and probably your friendly local bookstore could order you one.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Ingleside 2/2/2016

I took these pictures a long time ago...

This is one of the first quilts I made.  It came back to me, and the girls are enjoying having it on their bed.  I'm still working out the happy/sad mix I feel when I see it.  I guess in a divorce you don't take the things your sister-in-law made for you.  

Puzzles on the floor ALL THE TIME.

I made MJL this blanket from old flannel work shirts and jammies for his birthday.  He likes it!  And I like seeing the familiar fabrics and having more homemade things in the house, and gifts that are free and use up "trash" are my favorite things ever. 

These are supplies for the bathroom downstairs!

This is where the bathroom is going to be!  It still mostly looks like this though.  

We were incredibly fortunate to have this great couch given to us!  I would never, in a million years, have thought to spend money on nice furniture for the basement, but it is amazing what a huge difference it makes.  Who knew?  Nice furniture makes a place really a lot nicer to be in!

We cleaned up MJL's office, and some days, when it is the only tidy spot in the house, I'll just go in there to look at it and take a deep breath and enjoy it.  

I set these pumpkins back here the day after Thanksgiving to toss outside.  They were still there until Mid February, when I finally took the 30 seconds necessary to toss them into the bushes.  

I "finished" Teddy's baby book!  That means I did enough to say 'OK-good enough' and put it on the shelf.  None of them are completely filled out, and that's just fine with me.  Done(ish) is better than perfect.  

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Jimmy language answers

Here's what it all means!

1.  Banana
2.  Police
3.  Giraffe
4.  Pillow
5.  Airplane
6.  Airport
7.  Penguin
8.  Pray
9.  Play
10.  Alert

How'd you do?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Jimmy language from long ago

We had a list on the fridge of great Jimmy words, but the sun has faded it to almost nothing, and tonight somehow Teddy got it and brought it to me in a mangled state.  So I'm recording it because this piece of paper is not going to last.

Can you guess these words?

  1. Dabana
  2. Taquise
  3. Dagraff
  4. Quiwoah
  5. Aequane
  6. Oarport
  7. Quenguin
  8. Kray
  9. Quay
  10. Awerp

I'll post answers in a couple of days.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Modern love problem

Have you seen this around?

it's a gift you can make quickly and inexpensively - and keep all year long to show your love to your husband or kids!:

It's everywhere!  In this Valentine's book-it's the main theme.

 Each page lists a different friend and a different reason.

This book lists more and more reasons. 

This drives me crazy because that's NOT LOVE.  Love is not utilitarian.  We don't love people for what they do for us.  If Pig falls down and breaks both of her legs, is she out in the cold because she can't dance anymore?  NO!    We love people because they are unique and beautiful creations with inherent human dignity, not because they bake us cookies or make us laugh.   

Why is the world trying so hard to teach this weird wrong lesson?  

Am I alone in this crazy rant?  Have any of you noticed it?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Overheard in the Elementary School

We're incubating eggs in Science class (which is in the library) right now, so I get to hear all about the life cycle of a chicken.  Last week 3rd graders were discussing the age old question "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"  One student answered-

"We do too know the answer to that question!  It was probably like a Jesus chicken or something, that came down and started all the other chickens".

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ash Wednesday

Every year I look for a video or something for Ash Wednesday, and every year this video wins.

Every year I feel vaguely bad posting since the illustrator is not the one who made the video, but I just found a link to purchase a book of the drawings.  So at least that's something I can share to give credit where credit is due.


Monday, February 08, 2016

2015 Year in Review

I forgot about these, and then ran into them today when looking for something else.  Every year we print them out from 30HandmadeDays and fill them out on New Years Eve.  Then every year I forget to do something with them.  Hmph.  This year, at least, I printed pictures to put in the photo album, and if nothing else, we can find them here next year.  

Friday, February 05, 2016

Katie is five.

Tomorrow this sweet girl is five.

I had fun looking back at these posts from when she was new.

Katie Comes Home

Katie Lesson #1

Katie Lesson #2

Katie Lesson #3

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Lent 2016

Next Wednesday, February 10, is Ash Wednesday.  Early this year-but-big win-Valentine's Day is on a Sunday, so even if you give up candy, you're ok as long as you view each Sunday as a little mini-Easter.  There are both sides to that, of course, but it's so sad when Valentines Day is during Lent, so at least for that Sunday, we'll be feasting.

Here are a few posts with some interesting ideas about what to do for Lent:

Outside the Box: 66 Things to Give Up or Take Up for Lent (in beginner, intermediate, and advanced)

The most "successful" lent we've ever had, MJL and I both only drank milk and water.  It was horrible, and we're never ever doing that again, but we did learn that we're most likely to stick with something if we do it together.  So we have to agree on something.

We will trade our usual TV after the kids are in bed for something else.  MJL got Robert Barron DVD's for Christmas, and we'll probably watch those.  We watched the Catholicism series last year and it was fantastic.  Honestly, I think anyone would love it-it was fascinating, and I think would be interesting and thought provoking for all Christians.   It's mostly Christian Theology that everyone agrees with, I think.  I'd be happy to lend our set to anyone who wants to watch it.  

Last year we had a box for the Emmaus House, and we took turns taking something out of the pantry every day and putting it in.  It was a simple thing that even the littlest kids could do, so I think we'll do that again.  

Anna wants to go to confession weekly.  I don't know if we can get to town for that, but we're going to try.  

Katie loves to pray the Rosary and it is hard hard hard with all of these wiggly people and busy schedules, so we're going to try to pray a Rosary every week.  Hopefully we can manage a decade a day on most days.  

I'm putting away some toys-we'll just have the basket of Magna-Tiles out upstairs.  They've been away since Christmas, and I'm hoping having them out alone will inspire some new kinds of play.  

What are you thinking about for Lent this year?

Monday, February 01, 2016

Thoughts on Energy

I haven't been getting much done lately.

I've been feeling awfully tired in the afternoons, and in the evenings after the kids go to bed, and I don't like it, because I don't trust it.  It doesn't quite feel like actual fatigue, more like laziness, and not doing things that I know will help me to feel better, and giving in to grouchiness instead of taking a deep breath and being kind.  

So I've been thinking about what to do about it.  

My strategies in the past have been to take a deep breath, say to myself "I have so much energy!" instead of "I'm so tired" (thanks Dylan via Chelsea!), to have a drink of water, to go to the bathroom (I'm so bad about that) and to go outside for a little bit.  All of those things are good, but they're not quite enough right now.  

I know that I get energy from getting things done.  Making something, tidying up, crossing something off of a list, sorting through something, taking out the trash, doing the dishes, all of these things, some much more fun than others, give me energy.  I feel happier and more energetic the more productive I am. 

I read an article last week, while sitting by the fire, that really got me thinking.  Take Action! starts with the interesting correlation between increased time watching cooking shows and decreased time actually cooking.  People experience vicarious satisfaction just by watching or seeing or reading about something, and have less motivation to actually do it.  It's the same idea I was talking about at the beginning of the month in my Winter 2016 post.  

Then the article shifts into one of my favorite things, what I think of as pop culture brain research (Not that it's not real research, it's just that it's brain research about things like how people learn, or motivation, or impulse control, the sorts of things that I'm interested in).  

"This isn’t just my own crazy idea, either. It’s backed up by the science of mirror neuronsMirror neurons describe a phenomenon that happens in our brains whenever we watch someone else completing a task; to an extent, our brain fires in the same way as though we ourselves have completed that task."

And what do I do when I'm "tired" and can't manage to do the things I ought to do?  Or the things that I know will give me energy, like making something, or getting something done and crossing it off of a list?  I'm looking at pinterest by the fire, or reading a blog about what someone else has done, or reading about a new recipe or cooking technique, or looking at instagram pictures of what's going on in other people's lives.  It's fun, sure!  And I don't think it's evil or anything, but I do think it's what's sucking my energy.  Whatever part of the brain gets pleasure from seeing those things, it's not the same part of my brain that gives me energy.  Maybe it's the sitting that's the problem!   

A few days later I read this article about How to Read 100 Books a Year and I've decided to apply some of the ideas-but in a different context-sewing.  I love to sew, it makes me happy and gives me energy and when I make it happen I'm always glad.  His five big tips are:

1. Buy In Bulk--I already have enough fabric, patterns, and ideas to sew forever, so I think this is already covered.  
2. A(always) B(e) R(eading)--Always have a project going.  Usually I finish one, and then clean up, and then feel like I ought to do something else first, something more "important" or less fun for some reason.  I'm going to try to stop that.  I can spend a little time each day on something fun.  Certainly more fun than looking at my phone anyway.  
3. Read Relevant Books Only--He's talking about not reading a book because you think you "should" or because someone else liked it.  I'm applying that to mean that if a project isn't working, I can just let it go.  I love to finish things, but sometimes that gets in the way of making new things-sometimes things don't work.  Failure is fun! Nothing new happens without some failure.  
4. Read Multiple Books Simultaneously--I don't know about having more than one sewing project going on at a time.  I think that might make me feel a little crazy.  But I can remember, and try to work on, all of the other things I like to do and have going-little crochet projects, embroidery projects, etc.  Those are things I can do when I'm upstairs, or out of the house, or anytime I can't be down in my office. 
5. Retain The Knowledge--I'm bad about remembering things, so I'd like to try to record and document more about my projects, so I can remember what I've tried, what works and doesn't, what's fun and what's not fun.  You'll probably see all of that here.  :)  
So--That's the plan.  Here's to a fantastic February!  
What gives you energy?  What drains you?