My how time flies! An update on us

Wow, my last blog post was December 2013!  I planned to post much earlier this year, but life kept getting in the way.  We were in the midst of several major, but much-needed updates to the house. A leaking roof is never a good thing, not to mention rotted bathroom floors.  Those took the “oh, let’s replace the bathroom floor” to a total bathroom revision, times two.  The deck also was falling apart and needed to be rebuilt. While we were on a roll, we decided update the kitchen.  All this in the midst of home-schooling and trying to keep everyone on track academically. Blogging took a back seat to real life.

The big news this year is our oldest two daughters graduated from the local community college in May.  They have now started their journeys toward completing their Bachelor’s degrees.  However, I have over-achievers.  They have both entered into programs which will allow them to graduate with a Master’s degree too.

July was a busy month.  During the first week, the boys attend Boy Scout summer camp at the local scout reservation. The third week of the month saw the high schoolers attending the first ever Camp Veritas for the Baltimore/DC area.  They had a wonderful, faith-filled week and are talking about attending again in July 2015. The last week of the month the boys headed to the county fair once again for trash detail.  This is the major Boy Scout troop fundraiser for the year, and the boys earn money for their scout accounts by working at it.  These accounts pay for all things scouting, including their annual summer camp trip.

In August, Douglas was awarded his Eagle Scout Rank.  This was the culmination of a year of planning and hard work for him.  He becomes the 5th boy in the family to receive the rank.  His father, three uncles and his cousin are all Eagle Scouts too.  We were blessed to have them all here for his Eagle Ceremony.

After Douglas’ Eagle ceremony we began our home school year. I now have a tenth grader, 3 ninth graders and 3 second graders.  Keeping up with everyone’s schooling is making life interesting!  In math alone I have 5 different courses being taught, from Geometry down to Math 2.  In language arts/reading it is the same, American literature down to second grade and still learning to read proficiently.

We also participate in a home school co-op which meets once a week.  This provides a great opportunity for the needed “socialization” and some fun classes too.  Where else can a chemistry lab be all about cooking in the kitchen or basic logic come from discussions using the Fallacy Detective and Thinking Box books.  The younger ones get to perform in the Disney musical theater class, learn about famous artists by recreating the artist’s works and learn science from The Magic Schoolbus. I have a blast teaching French, Civics and American Government to the high school crowd.

As the calendar year winds down, we are beginning to gear up for the holidays. It is hard to believe Christmas is a little over two months away.  Now that it is October, we have decorated for Halloween. We have decided only the younger three will be trick-or-treating this year.  The others are going to be helping out by walking them around the neighborhood or handing out the candy at home.  Next up is to plan for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I hope you have all had a wonderful year so far.


Coming through the grief

This has definitely been an interesting year. The loss both of our mothers took more out of me than I realized. Grief is very tough thing. Not only was I grieving the loss of my mother, I was grieving the loss of my mother-in-law. It was a very hard process for me. In July all the feelings I went through with Andrew’s death 8 years ago came rushing back. I felt I was at the beginning of grieving process all over again.

I backed away from friends and activities because I just didn’t have the energy to deal with things outside of the house. Even taking care of things inside the house was difficult at times. It has taken me the better part of the last 6 months to work my way through it all. I am in a much better place now and am actually looking forward to Christmas Day, even though it is the anniversary of my mother’s death. We have decorated the house: the tree is up, the outside lights are lit and our Elf on the Shelf, Happy Red Fred, is making his daily appearances.

Soon we will start the Christmas baking, something we haven’t really done the past three years. Emma and I sat down today and decided on the cookies we will be making this year. We have picked some oldies the family loves: snickerdoodles, chocolate crinkles, peanut blossoms, chocolate chip cookies and of course, fudge. We are also going to add in some new ones: Russian tea cakes, candy cane cookies and basic sugar cookies.

Later on this week we plan our Christmas week menus and activities. My two oldest now have beaus and they will be visiting over the holidays, plus we will other friends and family coming to visit so I want to make sure we are well stocked with food and drinks for those people who will float in and out over the holidays.

This week I really need to get on the wrapping. All of the presents have been purchased, now I just need to wrap them. I really dislike wrapping! Richard is talking about taking the children out shopping tomorrow, so I probably use that time and wrap his presents. After his presents are wrapped, either of us can wrap when we have a free moment.

I hope your Christmas plans are coming together for you and your family. Mine finally are.


I am glad that you have found the new site.  I decided to migrate the blog to WordPress, which will provide more functionality.   I was able to copy all the posts from the BlogSpot site, I have all the “old” content here.  If I had know how easy it would be, I would have done it long ago!

Pull up chair,  grab some coffee and some chocolate and stay around for a while.

Menu Planning Monday

I am getting back on the Menu Planning Bandwagon. Here are the menu plans for the week.

Cream of Wheat
Piece of Fruit

Peanut Butter & Jelly
Grilled Cheese
Cheese Quesidellas
Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

Lunch Sides (Pick 2)
Ritz/Club Crackers w/Laughing Cow
Piece of Fruit
Cheese stick

Piece of Fruit
Cheese stick


Chicken Breasts
Herbed Noodles

Pork Chops
Baked Potatoes
Green Beans

Meat Loaf
Baked Sweet Potatoes

Thursday — Scouts
Fend for Yourself
Clean out the Fridge


Roasted Chicken
Alfredo Noodles

Easter Sunday
Spiral Ham
Candied Yams
Green Bean Casserole
Mashed Potatoes

What do your menus look like for the week?

Pax Christi!


A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework
~~St. Francis of Rome

Self Evaluation

As you know, the Zoo has been going through extremely tough times the past few years. If I list them out it is amazing what the family has had to endure and live through:

  • Liz losing her eyesight
  • my dad’s illness
  • Liz’s shunt failing twice in the first year requiring two additional surgeries
  • my MIL’s diagnose of breast cancer
  • my dad’s death
  • Richard’s retirement from the fire department for medical reasons
  • mom’s COPD flaring up
  • multiple hospitalizations of Liz and my mom throughout the last two years
  • the death of my mom on Christmas Day
  • the death of my MIL a month after my mom’s

Now that the rush has calmed down, my anxiety and stress levels have gone through the roof.  I am feeling out of control in all areas.  I have done some reflection over the past few days and I think I have come to the conclusion about what has happened in my life and why I am feeling like this.  I have fallen away from the routines I used to follow.

I had a working schedule of schooling, chores, meals and errands which the family followed. The house ran relatively smoothly.  Schooling was completed, the house was presentable at all times, and the house felt more peaceful overall. Over time as I was needed elsewhere outside of the house more and more, these things slowly fell by the wayside. First the meal planning gave way to seat of the pants fixing of meals.  Schooling was fit in when I was at home. Chores were done when someone noticed mold growing in the tub.  And even as things have settled down, these bad habits have remained in place. It has ended up affecting everyone and everything in the house.

The schooling barely gets accomplished, and it is always involves a struggle with at least one child and often more of them.  The cleanliness of the house is the lowest acceptable level.  Meals are hit or miss because nothing is planned.  Errands are done almost on a daily basis because the monthly big shopping trips have not been done, so we run out of things unexpectedly and we need them NOW!

One of the major areas of my life which has been short changed is my prayer life. As life became more complicated, I lost the routine of prayer.  Last week I took the time to reboot my prayer life. Some days I only said a rosary in the car after dropping the older ones off at the college, but it was something. It felt good to be back in conversation with God and I felt a sense of peace slowly returning to my soul.  Prayer should be a large part of my life as a Catholic.  To get back on tract of daily prayer, I have decided to rely on the old standards for two months or so.  We will be praying:

  • The Morning Offering
  • A Daily Rosary
  • Reading the Day’s Gospel and discussing it with the children
  • Daily Proverbs Reading

This evening, I sat down planned out the menu for the week.  It feels so freeing to have the meals back under control. Home school has just been happening without thought or purpose for this year. Over the next week I am going to evaluate the home school schedule and get that moving forward again. For the short term, I decided to enroll the older four home schooled children in Time 4 Learning , to get an idea of where or if there are gaps in learning.  As I evaluate the home school schedule, I feel this program will help me plan to fill in their gaps.

I am also going to evaluate the chores which need to be done throughout the day and week then assign chores to the children.  I realized I need to become more proactive with the follow through when I assign chores. I will making sure they complete the chore assignments to my standards and if not, then I will make them complete them to the standard.

I have my assignments for the week.  What do you have planned?

Pax Christi!


A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework
~~St. Francis of Rome