Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Everyday things

Melissa got glasses100_6825

Not my most flattering photo, but it highlights my first glasses (ever) and my new hair color to cover up all the greys at only thirty-something of age.

Melissa Nursing EdwardMelissa Nursing Edward

This is me nursing during my garage sale. Those days are over. No more garage sales at our house, and a bitter-sweet end to breastfeeding after 3 months. I am in desperate need of my two hands to handle this busy household. But I will continue making nursing covers and so much more with my Modest Mommies business and hobby. Breast is best, and covered is even better.

Taking care of Ginger

When my parents were out of town, we took care of their dog. This is our kids and Ginger by our remodeled Mary Garden. I hope it doesn't take too long for it to fill in full of flowers! We used cocoa bean mulch, which luckily Ginger didn't dig up but recently something has… rabbit, cat?



These are our coloring sheets from TGIFridays. I was so impressed with the kids coloring imagination, especially with just a few color crayon options and my handy sharpie. Of course, I had to make one too! Always hand them in to your waitress. They mail us free kids meal coupons every time and return the drawings. So basically, our kids ALWAYS eat free there!




We had super fun at a recent homeschool group field trip to Benihana's japanese restaurant. Their Tepenyaki style cooking was so entertaining and delicious! The kids were giggling through most of it. Our large family got our own table, with a few other homeschool families near by. We're SO going back there!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Mothers Joys

Mothers Day

100_6644100_6684Edward 3 months old

I'm still adjusting to having a large family with an ever-growing list of things to accomplish. Of course I don't hesitate to add to it! We're taking a lot of time lately to just enjoy being a family and rediscover the joys it holds. More outside play, more carefree time, more smiles. Each moment is available for learning and discovery, but what is most important is that we enjoy each other.

Coon Rapids Dam


Mother's Day was different, but pleasant.  It started with Mass and a walk through a meditation garden, which was lovely. My mom was off vacationing in Florida, so we visited her mother (my grandma) in the hospital [she had a stroke this month]. She's doing so well, and I crocheted her a prayer shawl I called "A Hug from Me." My uncle and aunt were there, which was fun as they love our kids and found fun things to pass the time. Later that day, we drove up to see Tom's parents which was a wonderful visit.

Mothers DayMothers Day

Mothers DayMothers Day


The hardest subject in any school, getting along with others.

The easiest way to get along, spend quality time together!

What happens if you don't… Hearts get broken…

Mothers Day Blues

This one makes me tear up every time. :-(

Friday, May 18, 2012

Yearbooks for Homeschoolers

A great new place for homeschoolers to create their yearbooks! For years now, my mom and I have individually been creating yearbooks for our homeschool groups. We (and others we know) started with copying traditional scrapbooked pages, which is hours of work and supplies that don't copy well. A few years ago we moved to digital creations using MS Publisher. It works, but it's still a grand effort to get pictures from your group. Using a traditional yearbook company was out of the questions because of the cost to print only a few books.

So when I saw this TreeRing.com Yearbook presented as an idea from a homeschool group member for our yearbook this year, I was simply thrilled! It's low cost and group participation is just what we needed. I thought for all you homeschoolers out there, you might be searching for just this thing too!

So before you get started hand cutting, or begging for photos from your group, take a look at TreeRing Yearbooks!


Top 10 Reasons to Join TreeRing Yearbooks

There is $0 financial commitments from schools. With TreeRing there are no minimum orders, no commitments, no deposits and no left over books. Parents buy directly from TreeRing and we only print what is purchased. No waste and no cost for schools or PTA/PTOs. view testimonials


Parents and students can add their own photos and memories into their copy of the yearbook. You can add anything: pictures of best friends, what you want to be when you grow up, your artwork. Everything is printed in just your book. Every yearbook includes two custom pages for FREE. Additional sets of two pages can be added for $3.99 see some personalized pages

3. Great for the Environment
TreeRing’s environmental roots go deeper than our name. We have a strong commitment to the environment and protecting the planet that our children will inherit. We plant a tree for each yearbook purchased. In addition, we print all of our books on recycled paper. sign up

The second biggest complaint about traditional yearbooks after "my child is only in the yearbook twice," is "and the yearbook costs too much." We’ve done our best to keep a very low price for parents and students by investing in technology to efficiently print our high quality books. see the pricing calculator
[Example: (with a new school signup 20% discount by June 15) a 20 page book is under $9, 52 pages $15, and a 100 page book is $27. That's simply amazing!]

TreeRing’s yearbook builder is designed to be very user friendly. It’s intended to be easy enough for a parent to create a couple of custom pages in the 5 minutes they have between having dinner with the family and putting the kids to bed. In addition, TreeRing is also robust enough for a yearbook administrator to create a brilliant looking yearbook. see for yourself

6. Full Color, High Quality Books, Hard or Soft Cover
TreeRing offers the finest in print quality using the latest print technology. All our books are in beautiful full color. We offer both a hard cover and soft cover. Our hard cover books are laminated and soft cover books are U/V coated for extra durability and protection. contact us and we’ll send you a sample

Want to add a fundraiser amount to the price of the yearbook? With TreeRing you can add any amount to the price of the yearbook as a fundraiser and the entire amount is sent to you at the end of the year. For example if the price of your TreeRing yearbook is $13.00 the school can choose to add $2 to the price making it $15 to purchase a yearbook to parents. TreeRing then sends you $2 for each book purchased. So if 500 yearbooks are purchased, we send the school a check for $1,000. No processing fees, no credit card fees, 100% of the money raised is returned to the school/organization. see pricing & fundraising options

8. Include the entire year! Only 4 Weeks to Produce & Deliver
Other companies require your yearbook to be finished as early as March and sometimes even February or January. What about the baseball team? What about prom? Now they can be included! TreeRing’s use of the latest in digital printing and online technology allows us to dramatically speed up the processing time. Once your book is ready we’ll have them printed and delivered to your school in 4 weeks or less, including shipping time. see the demo

Have a great shot of the whole gang you think others will want in their book? TreeRing makes it easy to share photos and share pages with others in your community as well as outside to Facebook and Twitter. Now you don’t have to wait until the book arrives to show off that great personalized page you made. see the demo

TreeRing provides plenty of themed templates to help get you started on your yearbook. The themes are extremely flexible and allow you to change anything on them or alternatively you can always start from scratch. Additionally, you can choose from thousands of different ClipArt and backgrounds to create the perfect page. see the demo

Thanks TreeRing for making our lives that much easier!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Honoring Mary in May

As most of you know, May is dedicated to honoring Mary. Here are some of my ideas how to celebrate and honor her earthly and heavenly life. Most of these crafts are for ages 3-12. But there are a few links for us moms as well.

This year we made the Marian Grotto's from Illuminated Ink. [We bought ours at a local store, but the company also sells a 10 pack for a great price online.] We gave one to each grandmother from the children. Not only was it enjoyable to make, but the kids loved making something so beautiful for someone special in their life. The kit includes a great booklet about the history of grottos and Our Lady of … that you chose to make.
My popular blog: Mary's Little Crowns Class includes printables to make a paper Mary Statue, Mother Thrice Admirable rosary to color, Offering Basket, and Marian Princess Crowns. It comes complete with a script and prayer card to print and use for a class, as I had.


Read about gardening, especially Mary Gardens at this link. In our garden, Mary is surrounded by these perennials and more. A picture to come next spring/summer when it is in full bloom.

"Snow Angel" Coral Bells,
Pansies or "Our Lady's Delight,"
"Mary's Mantle" [Alchemilla vulgaris]
Bleeding Hearts or "Sacred Heart of Mary."

There is a website about Mary Gardens called: Mary Garden of Virginal Consecration, complete with poems and drawings that I think would be a great children's project. It is very through and perfect if you want specific names of plants and their Marian association.

You can also read my: Joyful Mysteries for Homeschoolers  As well as my blog about Illuminating Mysteries. Moms might print out the Novena to Mary the Mother of God.
Artist Unknown

We made "easy to thread" rosaries this week, and here are the directions (inspired by Catholic Icing's simplified preschool version "R is for Rosary.")
Supplies include: 2 Pipe Cleaners, 6 Main beads (red hearts), 53 plastic beads, and optional crucifix and Mary charms/rosary parts.
First cut 3.5 inches off 1 pipe cleaner. Trim ends as shown below.
Twist two longer pieces together to form one long "thread."
Twist ends onto Mary charm or other bead if desired.
Then add beads: 10 Hail Mary, 1 Mystery/heart, and repeat for 50 Hail Marys and 4 Mystery Beads.
Add to the short thread a heart, 3 beads, a heart, then the Cross/Crucifix. Or if you want, you can make a chaplet version.

Click here for a reflection I once wrote about "Where's Mary?"

The 7 Dolors (Sorrows) of Mary by CatholicTradition.org is a great resource.

Find more Marian Ideas at Catholic Icing's linkup and her Crowning Mary link.


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