Encouragement For The Week

Childhood is the world of miracle or of magic.
It is as if creation rose luminously out of the night,
all new and fresh and astonishing.
Childhood is over the moment
things are no longer astonishing.
Eugene Ionesc


Thinking, Playing, Reading

(Gorgeous sunset on the river - wish I never missed one.)
Of how excited Jeff and I are to have almost all my kids home this weekend.  Matt won't make it home from college (Halloween weekend at campus is not to be missed this first year) but having almost all of them home has to be close enough for me.  I have a list of recipes to bake and cook which makes me so happy.  (I'll post those all next week.)

I'll have to wait until Thanksgiving to get them all back.  I now know what my mom meant when she said, "I just want you all here under my roof."  It's really a deep settling feeling, even with the extra work and chaos, that our hearts all crave as parents, even subconsciously I think.

You have all helped me so much with my winter/sleep issues.  I had a good time shopping for all the things I need, and have already tried several and they really really work.  I went all out because I know I need to.

1. Epsom salts at night have really made a difference-the magnesium helps, and the lavender scent.
2. Lavender essential oil-I learned this during yoga class, at the end, when our instructor gives us a cloth that smells like lavender to put over our eyes and I almost fall asleep.  I really want to lay there for the rest of the day but that is probably not allowed.
3. Citrus essential oils and diffuser for the daytime.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this.  It smells like summer and like 'clean' at the same time.
4. A super warm hood so I can walk outside and get some exercise.
5. Vitamin D.

I found a cozy blanket at TJ Maxx and some running gloves at Costco (they aren't warm enough though-I think I need mittens?).  I am still working on finding some good magnesium supplements.

I also found the CUTEST winter clothes on Amazon of all places, for Janey (after giving up on Gymboree :(.)  I wish I would have spent more time online shopping (I feel like I am always way behind on the trends-Costco, grocery pick up, etc...I always end up saying "This is genius!")

It's Boden knockoff but the quality is good enough for the price.  We had so much fun choosing them together. 

Janey is beginning to read on her own and she is SO proud of herself and it's just so exciting.  I love that little "click" when they get it.  And it's happened at all different ages for all of my kids (and had no bearing on how well they did learning in the future!!!).  It's just such a wonderful thing to witness.

Bob Books (our's are so well-worn)

Patrick is reading all these books at once (which drives me crazy, but one is for school and one for home and one he and Jeff are reading together-Resistance is about WWII, so pretty heavy material.)
He LOVES this one.

Math, stats, and reading all in one and no complaints! :)


Encouragement For The Week

I long to accomplish a great and noble task; 
but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.
Helen Keller


Thinking, Playing, Reading

It's already too cold.  I need to go up to the attic today and hunt for the winter things I pitched up there with anger and spite at the end of last winter.  I am vowing here in public to not say ONE thing about the cold weather, and how it hurts all the parts of my body (it really does!), about the lack of sunlight and dark clouds and gray sticks in the sky (I'm getting it all out now) until April 1 when it's all over (or at least there is hope in the wormy smelling air).  It is particularly scary for me this year, because of the hell of last winter and the memories that are triggered by it.

If you have the same feelings about seasons other than summer, can you please tell me what makes you happy and feeling good and energized and positive in the winter vs. depressed and gray in pallor, and full of cabin fever and dried up like a frog without water?  How do you combat cabin fever besides moving to Florida for three months, which I plan to do as soon as I am able?

Thank you.  And thank you for all your sleep advice.  I put a LOT of things in my Amazon cart and will ponder them all-I can see myself sleeping smeared with magnesium oil, reeking of lavender, with a sleep mask, under a weighted blanket in a completely blacked out room all winter long and am looking forward to it.

I've had a few little guys over to my house lately and they have all loved playing with this track.  It's so much easier to clean up then the tracks with all the little pieces that fit together.


Our favorite Halloween stories:

This is a new one we received last year and I love it-the message is so neat, about appreciation and gratitude and how that makes life purposeful.

Perfectly hilarious because we have CRAZY squirrels this time of year, I swear they talk, fight, and work together-and sometimes meet their death in their daring desperate ways.

Our copy is so worn, I just love this tough little old lady.

My kids have always thought this was funny-teachers who give homework on Halloween, imagine!

A story of friends working together.

Image result for humbug witch
Janey carries this book around so I couldn't find our copy to take a pic but Humbug Witch is one of those vintage classic cute Halloween stories, of a little girl trying to be a witch but not succeeding.

And of course, (which is out of print but so worth hunting down):


Encouragement For The Week

Love has only one meaning, self-giving sacrifice.
Doing something for someone else-even when we don't want to,
even when every fiber of our being tells us not to-
is the true definition of love. 
It's no wonder Christ said that the greatest act of love
is to sacrifice your life for a friend.
It all comes down to giving yourself away.


Ordinary Days And Sleep Advice Please

Cutest book ever-a nice old-fashioned story with a SUBTLE message which you can only find in vintage books.

I came home one morning from errands and opened the door to the basement to do laundry, and this is what I saw.  My scrapbook shelf collapsed!!!  Six neat piles, exploded.  I almost cried.  I haven't even touched it yet, I keep stepping over it.

I send my older kids pictures of my cookies all the time so they get homesick and want to come visit.

Eating lunch with this high schooler is a highlight of my week.  He's hilarious and so smart and eats a ton.

This is how we know it's officially fall.  Dead squirrels every where.  Falling off lines, and out of trees and being murdered by cars.  I'm always afraid I'm going to step on one when walking. 

And here's my help request:

For years I've woken up at 3 am every single night no matter what time I go to bed and I am so tired all the time.  I hate it.  I thought it was peri-menopause, but after chemo, that's not possible.  I HAVE TO SLEEP.  I don't want to take prescription medication.  Melatonin doesn't seem to work for me.  I don't have trouble falling asleep usually, I have trouble staying asleep for more than 4 hours.  And usually after I wake up at 3 am I can't go back to sleep.
(I don't drink soda or coffee, and I do exercise every day.  I don't eat before bed, and I hardly eat any sugar either.)

Does anyone else have this problem and if so, what has worked???
Help, I'm desperate.  


Encouragement For The Week

Consistency beats 
every time.

Fr. Mike Schmitz


Thinking, Playing, Reading

HELLO!  It's back.  I've waited all year.  Did anyone watch the first episode of Season 4?

Image result for poldark
Poldark on PBS


Still being played with!!!  Just adapted from animal cages to baby beds.

I find these markers in every purse and bag and box-Janey loves the small size.


My Dad, FIL and Jeff all really really enjoyed this book.  It was a great gift.

The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) by [Elrod, Hal]
I still love this book-it has helped me so much.  I review it all the time because it's sometimes difficult to keep up with the habits but when I do I feel so much better.


Apple Fritter Bread

Made this favorite recipe again, doubled it and baked in six mini loaf pans for gifts.  
The house smells delicious today!

This is so delicious! I doubled the recipe because it looked so tasty and was glad I did so since it went fast.  Matthew requested his own loaf and then topped the slices with vanilla ice cream.  He knows how to do dessert.

Apple Fritter Bread

Heat oven to 350.  Coat a loaf pan with non-stick spray.

Mix together in a bowl:
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Set aside.

In a different bowl combine:
Two apples, peeled, cored, chopped.
2 TBS white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Set aside.

In a mixer bowl combine:
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
2 eggs
2/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp of baking powder
1/2 cup milk

Pour half of the batter into loaf pan (or if using mini-loaf pans, just eye the division so it's pretty equal).  Add half of the apple mixture, and then half of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.  Repeat.  Lightly press apples into the cinnamon mixture and swirl through batter gently with a knife (I just made a figure 8 with the knife through the whole loaf pan once).

Bake 55-60 minutes for a normal loaf pan or 45 for the mini-loaf pans, or until toothpick comes out clean.

To make glaze mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk.  Wait for 15 minutes after bread comes out of oven and drizzle on top.  (This is optional, it is sweet enough without this, but it adds a beautiful touch.)


Encouragement For The Week