4 years of blogging & a break

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Dear readers,

Thank you so very much for stopping by here, whether by way of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, or Google search, I appreciate the time you have taken to click over to this space and take a gander. My hope is now, and has always been, to be of some help to you, just as other blogs have been so helpful to me. My prayer is that the lists, ideas, recipes, and reflections, have in some way inspired you, not discouraged you.

I’m going to take a break from blogging for a little while. It’s time for me to shift my focus elsewhere for a bit. I’m always posting photos on Facebook and Instagram, so please, visit me and keep in touch there! I love blogging, and I absolutely plan on getting back to it. I just need to take a short break. I promise, I’ll be posting here in the not-so-distant future!

xoxo,

Christmas Book Lists for Children

Children's Holiday Book lists photoSMAM

Here we are, a master list of all the books our family owns in our home library relating to Advent and Christmas. When you click on the link, it will take you to another post on this blog that will have several book covers, and maybe some descriptions. Just click on the book cover image and you should be redirected to mostly Amazon, in a couple of cases other websites in the event that Amazon does not carry the book. I must warn you: Some of the books are outrageously expensive if you buy them from Amazon. In this case, you could always try other sellers such as Abe Books. You can also pin any books you can’t find on line on a Pinterest Board and next time you’re at a used book store or a thrift shop, you could search for it. Grandmothers also happen to be excellent detectives when in need of a book for their precious grandchildren.

I am a lover of children’s books, so please don’t be horrified by the number you see in these lists. It’s taken me a decade to create this library. I am certain that when The Hubs and I are old and grey, we will never regret having spent money on books for our children. And the time spent reading them to the kids is priceless.

Please consider this compilation my Christmas gift to you, dear readers. I have spent hours putting it together as a token of my appreciation for you all. This blog and the friendships I have made here are such a gift in my life. Merry Christmas!

Advent books

St. Nicholas

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Silly & Secular Stories

Catholic Christmas Books

Holiday Classics

Christmas Book Lists for Children SMAM Pinterest Graphic

 

Silly & Secular Christmas Books

Christmas book lists for children SILLY smam Pinterest 2

Sometimes, in the midst of all the “True Meaning of Christmas” talk with our kids, it’s fun to throw in a little fluff and nonsense. This list is for various ages, I’d say from two to ten. If you read these stories to your little ones, though, they’ll want to read them when they’re older as well. I find that the two oldest kids in our family really get a kick out of reading these familiar tales to the two youngest. It gives them an opportunity to be little ones again.

Bear Stays Up for Christmas

Baby's First Christmas

I ordered this book for Little One as a gift on her first Feast of St. Nicholas and the one that was available through an Amazon affiliate was an accordion style board book. It unfolds until it’s several feet long. Look how precious…

Baby's first Christmas book unfolded

I am a complete sucker for Eloise Wilkin’s illustrations. This little girl on the cover looks just like my Little One at the age of two. I like that this ABC book isn’t entirely secular. “C” is for Christmas, a most joyful day, we celebrate Jesus in his warm bed of hay. “J” is for Jesus, Who was born on Christmas Day, The baby God sent us to teach us His way.

The Christmas ABC

My almost six year old loves this book. It’s pretty fluffy, but right up her alley: Girly and colorful, just like her!

Georgie the Gingerbread Fairy

I cried the first time I read this book to our oldest child. “I am your hush now; you are my lyrical. I am your peace on Earth; you are my miracle.” And the illustrations are sublime.

You are my miracle

Red Sled isn’t much of a read aloud. In fact, most of the words in this book require sound effects, so the boys and dad are better at reading it than I am. It’s a fun, quick book, perfect for those bedtimes when you just.want.to.go.downstairs.already!

red sled

Who doesn’t love a little “When You Give a Mouse a Cookie” holiday style? This book is simply a counting book, counting ornaments on the tree, to be exact.

merry christmas mouse

My sister-in-law and brother bought this book for us at one of the museums in downtown D.C. and I love it. It is one of Robert Sabuda’s incredible pop-up books, where each page is an image related to Christmas, spelling out the word “Christmas.”

Christmas Robert Sabuda

Curious George is at it again! He goes to the Christmas Tree farm to buy a tree for the hospital and gets into trouble… of course!

merry christmas mouse

I just think this book is cute. Mrs. Wishy Washy insists that the farm animals take a bath while she goes to town to buy some presents. Trouble ensues.

Mrs. Wishy Washy's Christmas

My children all love this book! The pages covered in snow that overlap the illustrations are so fun. They love to get to the end when they can press the button that makes the sound and lights turn on. Of course they do!

Eric Carle Dream Snow

This book was a gift to The Hubs many years ago. It sure is silly, but a great gift for the Irishman in your life to read to his wee ones.

An Irish Night Before Christmas

Frosty! This vintage edition of this American Classic is darling. Colorful and straightforward, the story we all know and love from the cartoon.

Frosty the Snow Man

I’ll take this book over the movie any day of the week. I’ll never forget when my mom first discovered it and bought copies for all my nephews. We ooed and ahhed over the illustrations and enjoyed the story so much. This was long before the animated film came out. Such a wonderful book.

polar express

It’s just not Christmas without a little Jan Brett story time, is it? The first two are my kids’ all time favorites. If I’m being honest, they’re not too sure about the trolls.

Gingerbread Baby

Gingerbread Friends

Christmas Trolls

Home for Christmas

And as always, if you have a book suggestion you’d like to make, please! Don’t hesitate to leave the title or a link in the comment box. Merry Christmas reading!

Christmas Tour of Homes 2015

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I look forward to this tour each year because it reminds me of all the reasons I started blogging. I guess you could say it takes me back to the moments of inspiration that brought about this creative outlet. I would sit at my laptop and pour over The Nester’s posts about homemaking and decorating and I’d run to the craft store, the thrift store, or my basement storage and get creative in my home. It was her first Christmas Tour of Homes link-up eight years ago that got me thinking, how do I share my holiday house? I want in on the fun! Each year, I’d click through everyone else’s homes and “OOOoooh!” and “Ahhhh…” and think, “I really need to start blogging.” Well, it took me until January 2012 to start Sometimes Martha Always Mary and I’ve taken part in the Christmas Tour of Homes every year since!

Have Yourself a Merry Little ChristmasMy very first Christmas Tour of our Home, posted just a couple of days after I started this blog! Chock full of blurry pics, just for you!

Christmas Tour of Homes 2012

Christmas Tour of Homes 2013

Christmas Tour of Homes 2014

And here we are, my 5th annual Christmas Tour of Our Home, and I am so very happy I started this blog, and stuck with it, even after I’ve asked myself, “Why am doing this?” I love to write, I love to create, and I love sharing my ideas with others. As a busy mom of five, blogging has been the easiest way to do all three of these things. So, enjoy the tour and know: my family has decorated, cleaned, and straightened up to say, “Welcome to our home!” and, “Merry Christmas!” as if we were hosting the most fabulous of holiday parties. This is a special occasion that called for the tidiest and most beautiful house I could present, because you’re worth it.

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Simple and festive entryway. When guests come over, I would definitely add some candles to this table, and maybe a candy dish.

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My mom and I found this adorable grouping of vases and votive holders on a hand made wooden tray at the cutest little shop in her town. I instantly fell in love with it, thinking about filling it with flowers from my garden in the spring and summer. Then I came up with the idea to fill the containers with Epsom salt and create little snow scenes in them. The tiny ones have little tea lights in them. It makes such a pretty everyday centerpiece for our dining room table.

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Don’t you just love the table cloth on my little round side table? My mom and I found it at the same little shop where we got the vases. It’s kind of difficult to make it out in a photo, but it’s evergreen branches and glass jars filled with peppermint candies. So whimsical! The feather tree was a sale purchase I made years ago. It’s a Martha Stewart for Macy’s product that I adore. Usually, I hang all of our most delicate ornaments on this tree, but this year, since our youngest is old enough to know better than to grab ornaments off the tree, I put all the delicate ornaments on our tree in the living room and hung some homemade ornaments mixed with store bought ornaments that all matched. I like it better this way, actually. See, when you try something new with your old stuff, sometimes you find new and better ways to beautify your home!

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I’m channeling my inner Ina Garten with the white lights on the kitchen island. I love a little glow from Christmas lights in the kitchen at night. Our kitchen is the hub. So much goes on here each day, so I like to really pull out all the stops when it comes to decorating it for the holidays.

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Mugs and table cloth from Cath Kidston

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Holiday dishes and glassware get used everyday at our house. The kids love picking out their plates and glasses for meals. We have thrift store finds purchased on Etsy, hand-me-downs from Grandmom, and Nutcrackers from World Market.

CTOH15 smam Kitchen shelves close up

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Holiday Scents are truly delicious. Orange Clove, Cranberry, and Iowa Pine come in a cute box set that includes hand soap, dish soap, and countertop spray. I personally think it’s the perfect hostess gift at a great price. And I love having plenty for myself too. I am convinced that the scents of cranberry and Iowa pine make we actually want to clean! This is not a sponsored post, by the way. I just love Mrs. Meyer’s!

CTOH15 smam Laundry Room

Yes, girl! I decorate my laundry room. Considering all the hours I log in there, it ought to be cute for Christmas! And our family enters and exits the house from the garage, which is just through the second laundry room door. And yes, girl. I keep my microwave in the laundry room. Why not? It takes up tons of counter space because it’s honkin’ big (we bought it twelve years ago when we got married) and we don’t really use it that much.

CTOH15 smam living room

Each year I try to change up a couple of things, just because I find decorating for Christmas to be so much fun. I look at it as an opportunity to share what I love to do with my husband, children, and anyone who comes to visit us at this time of year. I try to always have the fact that beautifying our Domestic Church for Christ’s Birthday is a way to give glory to God, at the heart of my decorating. In the process I find great joy and satisfaction. So each year, to keep things interesting for myself, I try to make little adjustments to how I decorate, where I place certain items, etc.

CTOH15 smam couch

I simply could not resist the Poinsettia pillows. They were on an end cap at Target just a week ago. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I say $12.99 on the price tag! Aren’t they gorgeous? I love a score like that, especially when I know I’ll be pulling those pillows out of storage every year at Christmastime.

CTOH15 smam creche under tree

We just added this precious Melissa and Doug nativity scene to our collection this year. Little One, our resident two and a half year old, absolutely loves to lay down on her belly on the floor and play with this set. And in typical Melissa and Doug fashion, everything fits right in the tray, so it’s easy to store.

CTOH15 smam view of whole tree

Over the years I have collected Christmas themed children’s books that I like to place around the living room in boxes and baskets to encourage the children to grab a book, snuggle up, and read. Sitting on the couch with the little ones is the very best way for me to stop and enjoy the season because let’s face it: there’s always something that needs doing. Sometimes we need to just be with our children. Reading a special Christmas book is the best way for me to be.

CTOH15 smam White Cabinet Living Room

This piece was a Craig’s List find that I still cannot believe we scored, even though it’s been in our home for years now. Every year I put our beautiful German nativity scene on the middle shelf, and each year my generous brother-in-law adds another piece to the collection. It truly is one of our most treasured possessions.

CTOH15 smam hearth

The heart of the home, our hearth, with a beautiful Madonna and Child painting given to us by our Uncle Steve on our wedding day. It serves as the perfect centerpiece to our home. The gold angels were a Pier 1 purchase last year. The prints on either side of the mirror are Hatch Prints from Etsy. Joy printHappy birthday, Baby Jesus print. They are so beautiful, aren’t they? Do yourself a favor and go check out the Hatch Prints shop on Etsy. You won’t be disappointed!

Thank you so much for stopping by! And thank you, as always, for being such a gracious hostess, Myquillyn! We love you dearly!

Merry Christmas!

CTOH15 smam Pinterest

Present Pile Monograms

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This post is from a couple of years ago. It seemed like a little bit of a crazy idea at the time, even to me, but I stored the monograms and pulled them out again last year. They are just so cute standing up in the living room on Christmas morning! It’s one of those crafts that, now that it’s done, I’m so happy I have them in my Christmas decoration collection.

We have five children.  We have five children?!

Wow, Christmas morning could get a little ugly confusing this year when they run down the stairs into the living room and start tearing open their gifts (after the annual picture on the steps with puffy eyes, annoyed faces, and Christmas Jammies, of course).

I suppose I could have wrapped each child’s presents in a different paper.  The Poinsettia paper for Dimples, the Sporty Santa paper for Smarty Pants, and so on.  That would have been smart.  Or maybe I could have done something “oh so Pinterest” like these clever ideas:

stamped wrapping paper{source}

photo gift wrap{source}

Maybe I’ll try these ideas when the kids are older and I’ve run out of Innisbrook wrapping paper and gift bags from school fundraisers, which will happen right around say, The Apocalypse.

I happen to like lots of color and all sorts of mismatched wrapping papers under my tree.  And of course, Santa always has his own special wrapping paper.  I’m not even gonna mess with that tradition.  No way.

Instead of “oh so Pinterest,” I went with “oh so Martha-Mary.”

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Here’s what you’ll need…

Paper Mache Letters

Christmas-y card stock

punches

Mod Podge

foam brushes

drill

dowels

tins

floral foam

glue gun

ribbon

scissors

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1.  Punch or cut out a bunch of shapes using some Christmas scrapbooking paper.  Wrapping paper could work well too.

2.  Mod podge the letter, stick on the shape, mod podge over the top of the shape.

3.  Repeat, overlapping shapes, wrapping the shapes over the edges and onto the back of the letter.

4.  Drill a hole into the bottom of the letter and insert a wooden dowel.

5.  Glue the floral foam with your hot glue gun into the bottom of the tin/bucket/flower pot/coffee mug/whatever container you’d like.

6.  Stick the dowel into the floral foam and cover up the foam with shredded paper/tissue paper/moss/burlap/felt/whatever you have on hand.

7.  Tie a little bow around the dowel.

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Before and after Christmas, put your letters on display in your house or allow your children to put them in their bedrooms.  Save them for next year.  It’ll be a new Christmas tradition and a fun and easy way to mark your child’s pile of presents on Christmas Eve.  Santa will be so happy to know just where to place each of your child’s gifts.  Big families can be a bit of a challenge for Old St. Nick sometimes, so the more we can help him out, the better, right?

Present Pile Monogram Pin SMAM

Christmas decorating, gifting, “baking,” & an invitation

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the ideas out there, isn’t it? So many pin-able images, printable recipes, and doable projects flooding my Facebook feed, “picked for me” pins, and pictures of holiday perfection on my Instagram account. Even the blog posts and articles about “what’s really important” can get in my head. I start questioning my own ability to just do our thing here at our home. Self-doubt and insecurity are a sure-fire way to suck all the holy out of anyone’s Advent. I even started wondering if I should stop sharing my ideas here and on social media. I was beginning to think that I was overwhelming people, making other women feel as if what they do just isn’t enough. But for every woman who avoids reading other people’s ideas, there’s another woman who gets a charge out of it. She takes what she likes, pins it, prints it, shares it, or even executes it, and derives some joy from someone else’s idea or discovery.

So before I share some of the things I do here in our home, allow me to say to you, beautiful woman reading this post: Please, take what you like and leave the rest. Take what seems doable, beautiful, helpful, or useful and implement it in your home to your heart’s content. My desire as a blogger has and hopefully always will be to share the things I do in my home, not to discourage, but to inspire. Consider this an invitation, one that you can accept or decline.

Here’s what I’ve posted so far:

St. Nick celebrations, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, a DIY Advent Wreath, and children’s book lists

Our Lady of Guadalupe Feast Day, St. Lucy, kid friendly decorating, and more children’s book lists

Since we’re almost halfway through Advent, I thought I’d share some SMAM links for more Christmas-related ideas. This Easy Christmas or Feast Day dessert is so delicious! I make it each year as a birthday cake for Jesus and the children love it, and let’s be honest, so do the adults. It’s nice to have something minty and cold after eating such a big heavy Christmas dinner. And if you’re interested in how I decorate our table for Advent and Christmas Season feast days, this Holiday Table post is for you. Last year I decided to go with a gold and white theme and I’ll be using all the same stuff this year. The Forget someone? post is all about those gifts that you need to pull together at the last minute. I also have a couple of inexpensive hostess gift ideas in there too. I hope these posts leave you feeling inspired. Come back next week for my 4th Annual Christmas Tour of our home. I’ll be linking up with The Nester!

Catholic Advent Pinterest SMAM hostess

Advent Links: Our Lady of Guadalupe, Feast of St. Lucy, Book lists, and Kid friendly decorating ideas

Advent 2 graphic Pinterest SMAM

December 12th is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and December 13th is the Feast of St. Lucy, two special days in the middle of Advent that our family observes. You can click away on the links below to see how our family honors Our Lady and St. Lucy on these dates. There are some book lists as well as craft and food ideas for you from posts past. And, in the event that you have children old enough to do their own decorating, you can read all about how we allow our kids to decorate their bedrooms for the Christmas holidays. Lastly, I’ve included an old post of classic Christmas books for children. When I was a new mom, I used to read a couple of blogs about living out the liturgical year at home. This was about ten years ago when there weren’t nearly as many blogs as there are now, so it wasn’t as overwhelming. I took some of these bloggers’ ideas and made them my own. There were plenty of things that these catholic moms did that I haven’t tried. I just took away from their posts the things that worked for my family and I left the rest. I hope that’s what you do too! Bonnie and Kathryn have said it best when it comes to “Doing Advent”  the way that works in your Domestic Church.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Feast of St. Lucy 2011

Feast of St. Lucy 2012

Santa Lucia Day 2013

Feast of St. Lucy 2014

Kid friendly decorating

Christmas Classics

Links for the start of Advent: Feasts of St. Nicholas and the Immaculate Conception, Advent Wreath DIY, & Books!

Advent Pinterest beginning of Advent
Advent is just around the corner, so I thought I would list some of my St. Nick, Immaculate Conception, and Advent Book posts from the archives for your reading and preparing pleasure. I hope you find these posts helpful as you celebrate the Holy Season of Advent in your Domestic Church. Thanks for stopping by! Coming up next week, Celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, our family’s Santa Lucia traditions, and some Christmas book lists for children!

Feast of St. Nicholas and a book list

Feast of St. Nicholas 2012

Feast of St. Nicholas 2013

Advent Preparations 2012

Advent Books for Children

DIY Advent Wreath

Readers’ DIY Advent Wreaths

Novena to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception

Celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

My Advent Pinterest Board

Sometimes It’s Just All Too Much

Have a happy and restful Thanksgiving with your loved ones. I am thankful for you, dear readers!

Week in My Life 2015: Sunday

Team Whitaker WIML_sunday

I’m linking up all week at Team Whitaker! The good, the bad, the real (and sometimes ugly) events of a week in my life. If you’d like to follow along, check in each day for the previous day’s happenings.  And if you just want some snap shots from my day, you can visit my Instagram account. A bunch of folks are in on the act, so search #weekinmylife15 on the gram. It’s going on allllllll week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

I was up and at ’em way earlier than I like to be on a Sunday morning. The Hubs and Smarty Pants had to attend Mass at 7:30am for two reasons: SP had to serve at the altar, and his first All Star tournament game was at 9:15. After staying up later than usual, the big guy had a difficult time getting those sore legs moving. He played four games on Saturday, then battled it out with his brother on Wii Dance. This kid is so competitive, he was sweating like crazy playing that game! I don’t think I’ve ever seen him dance like that in his life. It was hysterical. There’s no telling him to take it down a notch and save his energy for the soccer field. Not with this kid. I made the boys some scrambled eggs and English muffins, and they were out the door, soccer uniform in hand to change in the church bathroom before heading straight to the game.

crock pots SMAM

In the meantime, I started cooking dinner. We were having friends over for an early supper, and so I made another yummy slow cooker meal that cooked all day, allowing me to relax about feeding our guests.

Somehow, I bathed the two little girls, fixed all three girls’ hair, helped my Bright Eyes pick out an outfit leaving just enough time for me to shower, do my hair, get dressed, and get out the door to Mass on time. It’s exhausting getting a family to Sunday Mass, so when I smelled the aroma of pancake breakfast drifting up to the narthex, I was relieved. It’s so nice to head down to the Parish Hall, see friends from school, and eat a breakfast I didn’t have to cook, thanks to the Knights of Columbus. The kids love it, mostly because they get to put whipped cream on their pancakes and drink chocolate milk, but I love it because I get to sit down and enjoy my children in the company of fellow parishioners. It’s the way a church community should be!

The Hubs texted me just as we were leaving church to report that Smarty Pants’ team had lost their game and therefore were knocked out of the tournament. The game was just around the corner from Duck Donuts, so, to sooth a broken soccer player’s heart, and to celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King, we all met up and enjoyed delicious warm donuts together. It was a whole lot of sugar for those of us who ate at the pancake breakfast just a half an hour before, but hey, we do what we have to do.

Duck Donuts Christ the King SMAM

Sunday afternoons at our house always include naps for Little One, mom, and hopefully dad too. After blogging about our Saturday, the kids each had their thirty minutes of computer time and then watched some TV so that the three babies of the house could get their precious naps. I always sleep up in the girls’ room for my weekend naps. It’s so sunny and cozy in their room, and it’s quieter than our main floor master bedroom.

I woke up refreshed and Little One was still asleep, so I ran out to the grocery store to get some avocados, fresh cilantro, lettuce, and scallions for our tacos. When I got home, house projects were in full swing and kids were getting homework done and playing outside in coats, hats, and gloves. I turned on some Chris Stapleton and puttered around the house getting ready for our guests 4:30 arrival.

We had such a nice time with Danny, Meredith, and Liam. They are friends of ours from church who are just the nicest young couple. They graciously put up with the loudness and chaos of dinner at our house, and we fed them well. The kids all smothered Liam with love and attention, playing with him and fussing over him. It was adorable. We let the kids watch a movie so the grown-ups could talk and then said good-bye at 7:00. I must say, I really enjoyed having friends over for a brief “dinner and a chat visit.” It allowed us some time to get ready for the week ahead without being too exhausted. I need to remember this for future dinner parties. Sometimes, especially on a Sunday, it’s better to call it a night early.

Smarty Pants and Dimples helped me clean up and then it was snuggle and play time in the living room.

Day of Rest SB and Mom SMAM

Social Butterfly was completely exhausted. I took advantage of this fatigue by snuggling up with her on the couch. I don’t do this enough with my kids. It feels so good to cuddle your babies close and just be together.

On Saturday night, at our friends house, Little One somehow found this random Barbie that my friend swears made its way into her house without her knowing it. She told me to let Little One take it home and then to just throw it away. I believe her words were, “Get rid of that nasty thing!” Well, I don’t think Little One is going to allow me to pry that Barbie from her cute little hands anytime soon. She has named the Barbie “Ma Homey.” That’s right. MA HOMEY. I have no idea where she came up with this, but it is hysterical and I kind of don’t want to take the nasty thing from her because its name is so dang funny!

Little One with Barbies SMAM

Ma Homey can be seen pictured here with the multi-colored stringy hair, immodest outfit, and strappy heals. The other Barbies were mine when I was a little girl, and the crocheted peach mini that the Barbie laying down is wearing was made by my grandmother for my sisters. One of these things does not belong here. One of these things just isn’t the same…..

The hubs put the three younger kids to bed while I entered more contact info into my shiny new address book. Smarty Pants completed his drum practice in the office with me (I find the drums fascinating. By the way, we’re talking school band percussion, not garage band drum set.) Once the oldest two were passed out, The Hubs and I headed down to the basement to watch SNL. The episode was okay, but we especially enjoyed this skit (not appropriate for kids):

I was in bed by ten o’clock, which is something I try to do every Sunday night, just so that I start the week off with a good sleep. It’s hard to believe that tomorrow we’re heading to New Jersey for Thanksgiving! The days are long and the years are short, people.

Team Whitaker WIML_header

WHAT HAVE I LEARNED DURING THIS WEEK IN MY LIFE?

I need a real camera. I love to take photographs of my children and my house. I have always just used the camera on my phone (Samsung Galaxy Note 2) and it really is an excellent camera phone. Perhaps it’s time to upgrade my photo taking to a “real camera.” Any suggestions, readers?

I talk to friends on the phone a lot. I guess it’s because I know myself well enough to know that I need some adult conversation during my day, or that I am such a social person, it is life-giving for me to chat with my girlfriends. Whatever the reason, it brings me joy to talk to the people in my life who know me, and who I know so well, to converse about the happenings in our lives and to encourage each other in whatever it is we’re going through, good or bad. I couldn’t do this mom gig without good friends.

This season in life is full of little things. It has taken me years of motherhood to arrive at the point where I can say that I accept it: running errands, driving carpools, scheduling appointments, emailing teachers, helping with school projects, and all of the duties that come with motherhood – I embrace you, little things! It’s all valuable, simple and little though it may be.

Accomplishments look different now than they used to. When the children are fed and clean and sleeping well, and their clothes are clean and put away, when they have been listened to and heard, when mom and dad get time alone together, I have accomplished quite a lot. All these basic things of life add up to quite a lot.

God is good. All the time.

Thank you, Kathryn Whitaker, for hosting Week in My Life 2015! I am so very grateful for the opportunity to connect with other bloggers as we share all the ordinary aspects of our extraordinary vocations as wives and mothers in this modern world. What we are about is truly beautiful. You are kicking some serious butt as a mom of many and I see you, even if it’s through the lens of your blog, I appreciate all you do to bring others closer to joy in their vocations and closer to Christ! I’ll be linking up next year, for sure!

Week in My Life 2015: Saturday

Team Whitaker WIML_saturday
I’m linking up all week at Team Whitaker! The good, the bad, the real (and sometimes ugly) events of a week in my life. If you’d like to follow along, check in each day for the previous day’s happenings.  And if you just want some snap shots from my day, you can visit my Instagram account. A bunch of folks are in on the act, so search #weekinmylife15 on the gram. It’s going on allllllll week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

My day started with the sound of The Hubs oil pulling. He started this interesting ritual about a week ago when I sent him a link from Bridget’s blog. He’s one of these people who will try anything that is all natural and good for your health. I personally love playing charades with him while he has a mouth full of warm coconut oil for fifteen minutes. Yesterday, we resorted to a pad of paper and a pencil so that he could tell me what we needed from the grocery store at 6am. I ran to the store and picked up some healthy snacks and sport drinks for Smarty Pants to take with him to his All Star soccer tournament, then came back and cooked a nice big healthy breakfast for everyone. The boys had to rush off to the soccer fields, forty-five minutes away for four twenty-five minute matches. I stayed here at the homestead with the rest of the family and we just relaxed and enjoyed the day, starting with some Perler Bead crafting. The kids love this craft, and so do I. They’re sitting still, using their fine motor skills and creativity, and talking with each other while they work. What could be better?

Perler Beads SMAM
Dimples had a couple of school projects to work on, beginning with a bottle of her very own concoction making up “Lucy’s Potion” from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Lucy's Potion SMAM
She helped me design a label using PicMonkey and then went foraging around the house for all sorts of liquids to combine to make her potion. What a fun project! Then she got started on a History project in which she had to hypothesize and support with ten proofs what she thinks happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke, Virginia. Fascinating stuff. Man, I love our school’s fourth grade teacher!

I was supposed to go to watch Smarty Pants play soccer, but given the distance that we’d have to drive just for a twenty-five minute match, I opted to stay home all day and then committed to going to one of his Sunday games. His team played well, and The Hubs had a great time cheering from the sidelines. It’s such a treat for him to go and watch his boy play, hanging out at the soccer field just like he did when he was a kid growing up in Northern Virginia. And I know he likes that he gets to go alone. Doing anything alone with one child is a treat when you have five children.

We are hosting a couple for dinner on Sunday evening, so I got to work on setting the dining room table, cleaning up around the house and such while the kids played outside and in the basement. We were heading out for dinner at our friends’ house, and so I didn’t have to cook. I think I should always arrange my schedule this way! Being hosted for dinner by friends the night before hosting friends at your own home was the perfect plan that just sort of happened.

The Hubs and Smarty Pants returned from the tournament exhausted, so I kept the kids quiet in the basement allowing them to watch some TV and relax, and The Hubs got a nice little snooze in. After he woke up, I ran over to Hallmark to pick up one of these cute totes to carry our wine in. I also picked up a little hostess gift for my friend. She wouldn’t let us bring anything, so I wanted to give her a little something to show our appreciation.

We all got changed into some nice clothes and headed over to our friends’ home around five o’clock. They had delicious appetizers out for us, sparkling cider for the kids, and the most delicious dinner and dessert prepared for us! I was so touched by how much they put into the dinner. Everything tasted so good and we all had a ball together. The kids were playing “Wii Dance” in the basement, sweating like crazy from the competition. And by the end of the night, nobody wanted to leave, but there was definitely a collective meltdown happening. After all, it was 10:15. Our kids just aren’t accustomed to staying up late like that. So we said our goodbyes and were out the door by 10:30. The kids all passed out from exhaustion and The Hubs got some work done on his laptop while I streamed Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee on the desk top. Then we headed to bed, our hearts full from such a fun evening with people we love.

See you tomorrow with a Sunday re-cap! Happy Solemnity of Christ the King!