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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Make History Come Alive - Family Friday - Fourth of July Edition

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Making History Come Alive
The fourth of July is coming up this weekend, in fact many of you are enjoying an extra long weekend. For some it means a family picnic, for others a trip to the lake or the shore. Many will take advantage of the long weekend and take a vacation trip or go camping.  There are so many ways to celebrate the Fourth of July.
This year, with the long weekend you might consider adding a visit to  a National  Monument or Historical Landmark. – Many states have places where where you can go see history come alive. In some states you can take advantage of Colonial sights and visit them. I am envious of my oldest daughter, as she is in Boston as of writing this and will be infamily pictures 091 the Philly area this 4th of July. Nothing like visiting the Birthplace of Our Nation for a National Holiday.North Church

In our neck of the woods they have an Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration at a  Civil War Fort in Ft. Gibson, OK .  Historians, and reenactors come out and put on a celebration Post-Civil War style. We took our kids recently and they
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had a blast.
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Visiting Places like this with your kids really makes history come alive. For us the bonus was there was no entry fee for this Historical Sight All it cost us was some hats for the kids. GORP’s website has a pretty comprehensive list of all the national and state historical sights. 
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Visiting the Civil War Fort on the 4th of July did not interfere with any other plans we had that year. In fact it was an impromptu visit and we were done, had time for lunch and swim and were home in time for fireworks that same night.
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Pretty Happy Funny Real

round button chicken


I think strength is Beautiful. Especially when you are finishing strong. Peanut ran her second Triathlon last weekend and here she is finishing strong.
Peanut Celebrated her birthday last week and had a couple of friends over I don’t think I could have found a happier picture in the bunch I took.
We had the team from Totus Tuus over for dinner this week, Actually we are hosting the two girls on the team. But the boys were funny because at 18 and 20 they jumped right into playing with the Legos and Tonka's and Transformers with my 7 year old. They would build Lego creations and battle them along side the transformers. The best part is my 7 year was leading them in the playing.
I admit it I like to cook, and when I cook I make a mess, A really big mess. I need to wear an apron or I would be a mess too. Heck, even with an apron I am a mess.  This is my kitchen when I am creating a new recipe.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chopped Pork over Rice with Carolina Style BBQ Sauce

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Start with one Pork Roast – I used Pork Butt, but Pork shoulder is a good choice too.
Prepare the marinade with about
  • one cup of pineapple
  • 1/2 tbsp. of Allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. of Ginger
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 onion sautéed in molasses
Puree all the above ingredients. I used my immersion blender. I know I love that piece of equipment.
Slice some slits in your roast and insert some of the mixture in the slits.
Rub the rest of the mixture all over the roast
In a Dutch Oven Brown up the Roast
Stick the Roast in the crockpot on low- the longer it cooks the more tender it gets. It will fall right off the bone for you.
At this point you can either chop the meat or slice it. We like ours over chopped over  rice with my home made Carolina Style BBQ Sauce.

BBQ sauce–Carolina Style

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Carolina Style BBQ Sauce

The Fourth of July is Coming up, for many people that means cook outs and BBQ. I have been on the search for a BBQ Sauce that is sweet with a little zing.  One without HFC Syrup. One with natural ingredients. You can find them but this one was so quick and easy to make. My only wish is that I had doubled the recipe so I would not have to make it again so quickly.
Have you considered making your own BBQ Sauce? Really it is not that hard. And just think of all the endless variations you could make. For someone like me who likes to take a recipe as a suggestion and tweak it , the possibilities are endless.

Basic Ingredients.  - taste this along the way and tweak to suit your needs – I like my heat to come from the allspice and nutmeg, but you may prefer flavor of chili.

  • 1 cup of Onions Grated
  • 2/3 – 1 cup carrots Grated
  • 2 –3 cloves of garlic – I like organic – it has more flavor and I think heat
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. Molasses
  • 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2  - 1  cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 –1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 ginger
  • 1/4 nutmeg
  • sea salt a pinch or two
  • Ground Pepper – freshly ground couple of rounds around the pan
  • Optional if you like more heat – Chili Powder to taste

  • Grate the onions and carrots and garlic
  • Combine them in a skillet with 2tbs of molasses and a drizzle of olive oil. Sweat the onions and carrots a bit and thoroughly mix the molasses. This will give it a depth of flavor.
  • Put the sautéed onions, carrots and garlic mix in a sauce pan.
  • Add the  vinegar, molasses and spices, tasting as you go.
  • At this point add the sugar 1/4 cup at a time. Adjusting until you get the desired sweetness.
  • Cook for 30 minutes on a low simmer, until flavors are thoroughly blended.
  • Remove from heat and Blend – I like to use my immersion blender (it is older than my first two children's ages combined- but still gets the job done).
  • After blending strain through a fine sieve or a cheese cloth
  • Immediately make another batch because this will not be enough. We made it through one meal and it was gone.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Triathlon–Wordless Wednesday

This past week my two youngest participated in a triathlon.  I love that my kids do activities because they want to, not because their parents are pushing them to.  As a coach in sports I see many kids who are only playing because Mom and Dad want them to play, wither they sulk about it or try desperately to please Mom and Dad. My son begged me last year to let him do the Triathlon his sisters did last summer.
Pumpkin’s heat was an hour before Peanut’s. So everyone got to see everyone else go. Which was fun for a change.
First Pumpkin went. Then it was Peanut's turn.



Monday, June 27, 2011

Avoiding Toxins - Formaldehyde

This post is part of an ongoing series on Avoiding Toxins in our Lives.  To read more on how to avoid exposure from toxins and eliminate them from your home  click here.


Just recently formaldehyde was changed from a substance that was listed as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” to “known to be a human carcinogen “ The EPA has also come out with its own statement on the risks of formaldehyde.  Interestingly enough, the European Union is making plans to phase out all use of formaldehyde by 2014.
Where does Formaldehyde come from?
Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring organic chemical compound.  Most of us first encountered formaldehyde in science class when it came time to dissect specimens. I will never forget that smell. By the time I reached my senior year I could no longer dissect animals because I was highly reactive to it. Most students would get used to the smell but, the smell continued to make me sick all year long. After discussing with my teacher that my mother had been a chemist assistant that worked with formaldehyde when she was pregnant with me, it was decided that I had a bona fide formaldehyde sensitivity.

Why Should You Avoid Exposure To Formaldehyde?
According to the National Cancer Institute  formaldehyde is classified as a human carcinogen. Short-term exposure to formaldehyde can be fatal.
Formaldehyde can cause
  • irritation of the eyes, and nose Acute  formaldehyde exposure concentrations > 0.05 ppm can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and sinuses.  Resulting in  burning, dryness, redness and itching of eyes, nasal dryness, soreness, runniness; sore or dry throat, and sinus congestion or post-nasal drip. Secondary effects associated with these symptoms may include cough, chest tightness, excessive phlegm production, repeated sinus infections, eye infections and possibly bronchitis. In very sensitive individuals these respiratory symptoms may progress to asthma and for those with existing asthma exposure to formaldehyde may precipitate asthmatic attacks.
  • Formaldehyde exposures even at concentrations as low as 0.04 ppm have been shown to apparently cause sub-clinical respiratory inflammatory responses which can be detected by expired breath analyses to determine nitric oxide (NO) in one’s breath. Such an analysis is the only known test that can demonstrate that formaldehyde can cause adverse health effects at concentrations found in building environments.
  • Formaldehyde can also affect the central nervous system (CNS). Common CNS symptoms associated with formaldehyde exposures in buildings include frequent headaches, unusual fatigue, lassitude and disturbed sleepSource
  • Children can be more susceptible to health effects of formaldehyde. As their immune system is still in development stage, chemicals like formaldehyde can easily trigger reactions in them. In kids, even a small amount of formaldehyde can lead to formaldehyde allergy symptoms like dermatitis, headache, or asthma.
  • Some laboratory studies suggest that formaldehyde may affect the lymphatic and blood systems. Based on both data from  studies and the experimental data from laboratory research, NCI investigators have concluded that exposure to formaldehyde may cause leukemia, particularly myeloid leukemia, in humans.
  • Menstrual Disorders Several studies have reported that menstrual irregular- ties/disorders may be related to occupational and/or residential formaldehyde exposures
  • Formaldehyde has been linked to joint pain,chronic fatigue, birth defects, and genetic damage
  •  A great percentage of people are hypersensitive to the irritant effects of formaldehyde (I fall in that category apparently) even at lowest of levels. People often develop hypersensitivity after breathing formaldehyde vapors during a renovation of home or remodeling or working in a carpet or fabric store.   
What is Formaldehyde Used For?
If this list seems long it is because it is. Because formaldehyde is used primarily as a preservative and antibacterial it is used in a wide range of products.  As such it is used commonly in
  • Cosmetics and Toiletries such as antiperspirants, makeup, bubble bath, bath oils, shampoos, creams, mouthwashes and deodorants . It  is used as a preservative as a preservative and to inhibit bacterial growth.   In a Danish study of 285 shampoos, nearly 30 percent of them were found to contain formaldehyde but none of them listed it as an ingredient. The reason for this, was the formaldehyde was present as an unintentional contaminant, because the raw materials used in the cosmetics had been preserved with it. Source
  • Household  Cleaners it is used as an anti fungal and bacterial
  • Particle Board Furniture
  • Paints
  • Disinfectants
  • Nail Polishes and Polish Removers
  • Building Materials That new house smell is from the vocs and the formaldehyde (mobile homes are notorious for the formaldehyde because of the high use of particle board (think FEMA trailers)
  • Wrinkle Free Fabrics that new clothes smell  is formaldehyde.
  • Vaccines – as a preservative and to kill the bacteria
  • Water Proofing – on rain coats and other fabrics
  • Cars  the new car smell is from formaldehyde
  • Food =you can find small amounts of formaldehyde in the food you eat – some cheeses, dried fish and food
  • Cigarettes
  • Melamine Plates
  • Insulation it off gasses for years
  • Paper Products such as grocery bags, waxed papers, facial tissues and paper towels, are treated with urea-formaldehyde to make them stronger
  • Carpet, Carpet Backing and Padding  =formaldehyde is used as a fire retardant in floor covering and carpet backings. Ever smell a new carpet?
  • Vaccines – formaldehyde is used as a preservative and to kill the bacteria in the vaccine
  • Antibacterial (antiseptic) Hand Wash to kill microbes on your hands
  • Nail Hardeners, Nail Polishes, and Nail Removers –that That lovely smell at the nail salon most likely comes from formaldehyde, as it  is an important ingredient in some  nail hardeners
  •  Health and Beauty Products antiperspirants, makeup, bubble bath, bath oils, shampoos, creams, mouthwashes and deodorants
  • Paints, primers and paint-stripping agents
  • Diet Sodas if your  do see aspartame be aware that your body will naturally produce formaldehyde as a result of consuming this artificial sweetener. According to Three Fat Chicks Each can of diet soda will produce approximately 20mg of methanol in the body. The methanol, in turn, will produce 6mg of formaldehyde. The EPA recommends a formaldehyde limit of 2mg per day at most. So, if you’re drinking just one can, you’re already in the danger zone. Now just imagine that you probably drink a 20 ounce bottle not a 12 ounce can a day. Most likely you drink more than one bottle a day. You are polluting your body with 10mg of formaldehyde. That is 5 times the recommended limit set by the EPA.

The Problem with Formaldehyde in Your Home
Most  of us face our greatest risk of exposure to formaldehyde at home. With the formaldehyde present in so many building products and house hold products it is hard to escape.
How much formaldehyde can cause a problem? The eyes, nose, and throat are irritated by formaldehyde vapors at levels as low as 1 part formaldehyde per million parts of air . Low-level exposure can cause teariness, redness, and burning of the eyes, sneezing and coughing, and sore throat. Liquid formaldehyde solutions contacting the eyes can damage the cornea, possibly causing blindness.
Sensitive individuals have reported symptoms at formaldehyde levels around  1 ppm  (Main et al, 1983; Bender et al., 1983).
Additional studies also have supported that health effects can occur in sensitized individuals at 100 ppm when they are exposed chronically to formaldehyde. (Ritchie IM, et al 1987) These sensitized individuals can have exacerbations of symptoms without noticing the smell.

Formaldehyde products usually only emit vapors for 7 to 8 years. The emissions are most detrimental during the first few 365 days and the intensity gradually eases up over the next 7 to 8 years. Most home insulated with Urea-formaldehyde foam insulation had indoor air concentrations of under 0.1 parts per millions (ppm) one year after installation.However uffi when exposed to extreme heat or moisture can begin to emit formaldehyde vapors no matter how old the insulation.
How to Reduce Your Exposure to Formaldehyde
  • Ventilation and circulation of outside air into the home is imperative and installing or using exhaust fans is not a mistake. It may reduce your level of contamination to below 0.1 ppm.
  • If formaldehyde is in the insulation, particleboard or sub flooring, it is too difficult or expensive to remove the source walls and floors and cabinets they may be covered with vapor-barriers paint, sealants or even covered with carbon materials
  • If the source of formaldehyde is paneling, plywood or particleboard, you can coat it with special sealers.
  • Air purification to remove chemicals for the air can reduce contamination of your home or office. 
  • Since Formaldehyde off gasses more when the humidity in the house is  above 50%, using a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity will reduce formaldehyde levels.
  • Common houseplants may be able to filter formaldehyde out of indoor air.
  • Solid wood for furniture and cabinets are better for you than particleboard cabinets.
  • Consider living free of chemicals. Make your own natural cleaners and laundry powder
  • Increase the ventilation in your house. Open windows, install exhaust fans. A tightly sealed new home contains more formaldehyde ppm than an older home. More formaldehyde is off gassed in the first year of a new home than at any other time.
  • Wear natural fibers and avoid those that are wrinkle resistant
  • Limit the amount of carpet in your house
  • Avoid products with the following ingredients on the label. These are different formulations of formaldehyde. Remember to read the labels on what you buy.
      • Formalin
      • Methanal
      • Methyl aldehyde
      • Methylene oxide
      • Morbicid acid
      • Oxymethylene
      • methaldehyde
      • methanal
      • methyl aldehyde
      • methylene glycol
      • methylene oxide
      • oxomethane
      • oxymethylene,
      • paraform, paraformaldehyde
  • Try to avoid cheaply made furniture made form particle board and plywood.
  • If you have an older house check to see if your insulation is not Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation. It was typically used in hard to reach places.

The purpose of this article is not to alarm but rather open our eyes to every day contaminants. It is my hope that you will make at least one small change in your life after reading this. I know that after researching this I will NOT be drinking diet sodas and I will be on the look out for the other labeled ingredients to avoid them.

Should you Change to A Natural Laundry Detergent?

This post is part of an ongoing series on Avoiding Toxins in our Lives.  To read more on how to avoid toxins click here.

Have you walked down the laundry detergent aisle lately? I am sure you have, especially if you have children.  They always seem to get dirty or change their clothes a million times a day.  Have you noticed the sheer volume of choices when it comes to laundry detergents? It can be overwhelming.  So why should you reconsider your current laundry detergent? Depending on what you are using there is probably an alternative. I have been researching laundry detergents for the past two month and checking out my alternatives.  Why would I consider changing my laundry detergent to a natural laundry detergent?  I had a laundry detergent that I researched when we moved out to the country. It was good for septic systems and appeared to be natural to boot.  At the time it was GOOD enough for me.  Living out in the boonies, so to speak the closest  big store was about twenty miles away .  While we did have a local store that has a a real butcher still,  it was not suited for the bigger  bulk purchases for things like laundry and cleaning supplies. 
It is hard to say good bye to an old and trustworthy product. It did the  job it was supposed to. But this past April, after  looking around and mulling around the idea of making my own detergent I happened across my neighbors at the Farmer’s Market.  They make soaps and lotions. They had added something new to their product line, concentrated  laundry powder. It was concentrated. It smelled wonderful (lavender), it cost $7 for a little bag about the size of a lunch bag (smaller actually).  My first thought was yikes! I just spent $7 for this tiny bit of detergent. But wait – this detergent was concentrated. I only needed 1-2 tbsp. of it to do laundry.  This little bag of laundry powder lasted as long 3 weeks for me. The biggest box of detergent  I was currently getting lasts me a month. Did I mention we do a lot of laundry here, at least two loads a day?
When the powder was all used up I went back to my regular detergent I had two unopened boxes of it home.  I immediately noticed the chemical fragrance  in my favorite detergent. However, since I had opened the big box I wanted to use it up and not waste it.  But it is then that  I started experiencing an uptick in allergy symptoms, itchy skin, watery eyes.  My frugal side won out and I finished up the box. The second box went back to the store to be exchanged for the supplies to make our own laundry powder.  When my husband saw the list of ingredients on the homemade laundry powder we bought in April he decided that WE could make our own. I took that to mean I would be the one researching the how, buying the raw ingredients, and mixing it up. 

Why should you consider changing your Laundry Detergent?

  • If you or a loved one in your family has sensitive skin, eczema, or psoriasis, you might want to change your detergent.  The chemicals in detergents can irritate your skin, and if you your water is hard or too soft it, you will have detergent residue.

  • Common detergents when used according to the manufacture directions will leave a residue. If you were to rinse your clothes in a washing machine filled with plain water you would see suds when you agitate it.

  • The worst part is most Americans use too much laundry detergent. They simply don’t bother to measure it and just guess. With high efficiency washer this has become more of a problem.  I have been decreasing the amount of detergent I was using steadily to see just how little I could get by with, much to my surprised, I discovered that

  • Soap is not even necessary to wash most loads of laundry, according to Seventh Generation's co-founder, Jeffrey Hollender,  “the agitation of washing machines often does the job on its own.”

  • Many detergents even unscented ones as I found out contain fragrance. This fragrance is usually made up of a synthetic chemical compounds. These chemicals contain xeno-estrogens.  These chemicals like the detergent never completely wash out of our clothing. Our skin is our largest organ, it breathes. We absorb these chemicals through the skin.

  • Many laundry detergents contain phosphates which end up in our rivers and streams. High phosphate levels promote over growth of algae and water weeds

  • We could all use less toxins in our lives.

  • Most laundry detergent are 50% builders by volume. That is right. Unless you are buying a concentrated laundry detergent, you are buying filler. (water) 

  • Perhaps a motivator for many is the high sometimes cost of many laundry detergents. Especially considering you are paying for fillers.

  • This past week I began experimenting with making  my own home made laundry detergent. For now we are mixing it in the washer as it fills with water. Not the  most efficient method but we are having good results so far. We are using a mixture of Washing Soda. Borax and White Vinegar.  I have seen a reduction in my allergy symptoms and hope to continue to see more reduction as we get all traces of detergents out of our laundry. In this up coming week I will be running some experiments to see what combinations  or cleansers work the best and will share with you my results.

    For now I am off to do laundry.


    Sunday, June 26, 2011

    Corpus Christi

    Corpus Christi, it is more than a place in Texas. A couple of years ago, my husband was asked when a particular picture was taken, he said Corpus Christi, the person on the other end of the phone looking at the picture text thought he said the picture was taken in  Corpus Christi, not on  Corpus Christi. So what is Corpus Christi, and why is a city in Texas named it?
    Corpus Christi is a feast day  in the Catholic Church that got it’s start in primarily due to the petitions of the thirteenth-century Augustinian  nun Juliana of Liege. From her early youth Juliana had a veneration for the Blessed Sacrament, and always longed for a special feast in its honor.
    This feast is perhaps better well known in other countries are they still carry on the outdoor processions with the Body of Christ in the Monstrance. I can remember being in Paris France and wishing to attend Mass at Notre Dame. My husband and I with our then three month old daughter happened upon the procession for Corpus Christi outside in the streets of Paris.  We were able to join in and attend the next mass. 
    We are lucky here to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi at the Cathedral with a full procession and Benediction. This year we will all be attending the mass for this celebration. Because of the very HOT conditions we have here, it always seems to be 100 degrees on this feast day, our Bishop wisely says this mass at 5pm rather than at 11am, under the direct sun.
    I don’t know if we will all get to process, but I am sure I will be saying a special prayer for the priests and deacons who will be fully vested in this unseasonably warm heat.

    After reading this over I realized I did not answer the second question. Why is Corpus Christi  Texas named Corpus Christi? It is so named because it was name so by the Spanish who name it that in honor of the Blessed Sacrament.

    Saturday, June 25, 2011

    The Importance of Letting Kids Finish What they Started.

    Today my two youngest participated in a triathlon. They found out about it just a little over a week ago, but were super excited to go and Swim, Bike and Run. Peanut had run her first triathlon last summer, but this was a different course, and longer swimming than she had previously done by about three times.  My little pumpkin was eager to do his first triathlon at age 7.  Even though it was hot 90 plus degrees today, they were ready. 
    Pumpkin had just finished two weeks of Swim lessons, he is not the strongest or most coordinated swimmer, and being a country kid he has not quite mastered his two wheel bike. But what is a good mom to do? Let him do the race even though he might not have the skills to compete? Because if I  never let him  try how will he succeed?
     It is important to let kids finish what they start. If he did not finish he would not feel as good about doing the triathlon. If he did not finish he might have learned that if things are not going his way he can quit.
    In order for kids to finish sometimes they need to be encouraged despite their shortcoming or failures. It is okay to fail, as long as you get up and try again. Edison after having failed to make the light bulb work after 3,000 attempts did not stop, he just learned new ways of how not to succeed. Sometimes we have to let our children fail in order to succeed.
    My son finished what he started to the cheers of everyone there. He did finish last but, boy to he finish strong. There were comments as to how fast he ran the course. (He did fly around it on foot)

    Not only did my son finish, he ran water for his big sister and ran her into the finish line. Showing not only a good sport in finishing but a helpful spirit. 

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    Stream of Consciousness

    Today is my first time participating in Fadra’s Stream of Consciousness.  I did this with 3 girls ages 10-12 who were sleeping over. It was interesting to hear what was in their brains. Believe it or not one little girl wrote a well thought out story about her dog’s birthday.
    disclaimer – I wrote this on less than 6 hours of sleep, so I am not responsible if  what I wrote make no sense.
     Here we Go.
    Is sitting here at 7:30 in the morning with the girls who slept over last night with my daughter. They are doing this challenge too. I know weird activity for a a sleepover but, what can I say? I have been writing since I was in about 4th grade. I absolutely love writing and when I was their age my role models were Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingles Wilder.
    Speaking of such did you ever notice that as writers they both had 3 names? Weird huh? I understand Laura Ingalls Wilder, one is her maiden name and the other her married but What is up with Louisa May Alcott?
    As I got older and had already read every thing wirtten by them, I have also read the Lost writings of theirs, I have read other writers take on them too, Inspired Stories so to speak. What is it about two authors from the 19th century that still capture readers imaginations?  I not only loved their writtings I wanted to BE them as a little girl.
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    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    Summertime Activities for Bad Weather

    Okay the kids are home and you are coasting along, picnics at the park, hiking, swimming. But ack! Mother Nature has thrown some nasty weather at you. What do you do? Summertime activities suddenly have to change to accommodate bad weather. In some cases bad weather may a rainy day (or week) or temps that are too hot to handle (like over 100 degrees).  We tend to get both of these conditions during any given summer.
    So what is a mom to do when the weather is Bad over Summer Vacation?
    Some fun, frugal ideas

  • Have an Arts and Crafts Day – You really don’t’ need an lot of Arts and Crafts supplies, some crayons, paper, glue, scissors, yarn, popsicle sticks. You really don’t need a craft project either. Just set out the supplies and let the kids loose. Be prepared to step back and be amazed at their creativity.

  • Try the Dollar Movies or Check to See if there are Any Free Children’s Movies in Your Area

  • Kids Bowl Free – is  great way to beat the heat during the summer.

  • Check out the Library – many offer fee summer programs, get some books, maybe a special movie

  • Have a Tournament – pick a favorite board game and play it tournament style

  • Puddle Jumping  – even it if raining, as long as it is not lightening you can go out and play in the rain. In fact kids will find this great fun.

  • Go for a Swim -  again this can be done at 100 degrees or in the rain (as long as there is not thunder or lightening).  One of our favorite swimming holes is best enjoyed when it is 100 degrees out. It is spring fed and the average water temp is about 50 degrees

  • Set up an Inside Jungle Gym or Obstacle Course – This one was great fun when my kids were little. We would take the cushions off the couches and chairs, use throw pillows. They could climb, jump and crawl to their hearts contents. A great thing when it gets hot and the playground equipment gets to hot to touch.

  • Have a picnic inside -  spread out the picnic blanket on the floor and have your picnic inside. Kids really do like this one.

  • Nap Time  - take advantage of the bad/too hot for hades weather and mandate a rest time. Everyone goes to their room for a “Siesta”.  Sometimes kids just need some downtime too, from doing it all during the summer.

  • Museums check out local museums. children’s , art museums, history museums.  As someone who once worked in museums, I am HUGE  fan of taking kids of ALL ages to museums of all sorts. Many even have FREE days.

  • Set up a Tent- ( or build a fort)  Yes you can do this inside. And what kid does not like going inside a small space? It makes them feel cozy. Let them camp out inside the house

  • Bring out the Blocks and Legos – Let the kids take over the living room and build a city.

  • Invest in a mini –trampoline – These are great for kids who are stuck inside it lets them burn off some energy, and as a bonus moms can use them to work out too. If you can get the kids off of them.

  • So what are some of your favorite Beat the Heat/Rainy Summer Day Activities?

    My Little Girl is Still a Little Girl

    IMG_3250It is lisa1hard to believe that my baby girl  is turning 11.  She is still a little kid, that likes to play with baby dolls and Barbies. She took her  own sweet time coming, almost two weeks late, and many days in labor. She  did not want to come. We eventually made the tough decision to have a c-section after 36 hours of natural labor and a stalled labor. For us this was not an easy decision. But it was warranted. It seems in turning head down, did I mention you lay transverse (sideways) until labor?, she managed to get wrapped up in the umbilical cord, completely. It was wrapped aroundDSCF0025nd her neck.  She has always been active. She used to bounce off my hips when I was pregnant with her. I never say a happier child in the bouncy swing. She could barely walk but would bounce on the mini-trampoline.   Deacon G – entered the Deaconate Formation Program when you were 5 so you have literally grown up at Church. 

    Pumpkin will try every sport at least once. She has played summer 2010 040Soccer, Basketball and currently is on her local Gymnastics Team. She started doing Triathlons last year and can’t wait to do her next one later this week. Her next big adventure in sports will be to do the local MUD Run.
    family pictures 170
    She is still such a little girl. We tell her that she is terminally cute. I know we are her parents but she is CUTE. Freckles and all.  I was frankly surprised when just last month she pulled out her old baby doll. The onIMG_4535e she got when she was about 18 months old.  She still likes to play dress up and has been a fairy, numerous times.
    family pictures 118

    But she is starting to grow up, even if she does not want to. I can see in these two pictures glimpses of the young lady she is becoming.


    Pretty Happy Funny Real

     Today I am participating in Pretty Happy Funny Real

    I was going through some old photos this week and came across this one of my Great Grandmother Nanna Kate  with my grandfathernannawinterr (the little one and his brother). She looks so regal in this picture, taken before 1920.  I don’t remember much of Nanna Kate except that she was a TALL  woman 5’7”  and formidable.  She worked  at the University and would walk to work 3 miles and 3 miles back after working. 

    We haOrdination of 14 deacons on June 12, 2011ve had a lot to be happy about here. G was ordained a Deacon in the Catholic Church on Pentecost Sunday.

    He got to celebrate his first Mass as a Deacon on Trinity Sunday.


    My little girl turned 11. We were able to celebrate with family while they were here. Notice that flash. it is from my husband’s grandmother- taking the same pic as me.


    My kids went to Engineering Camp at School- I am not sure wither they had more fun at camp or helping get all the recyclables ready.

    We have been on the go so much that my two youngest did not make it to a bed the other day.


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