Thursday, August 29, 2013

Homeschool "Student" Photos

People are shocked when I tell them that homeschool students have yearly pics taken.



In the past, I've taken student photos for our homeschool group.   I'm thinking about doing the same next spring...

At any rate, what do you do with your yearly photos?  Frame them?  Scrap book them?

I do both.  The scrapbook is for them.  BUT!  They don't get the scrapbook until they're on their own and will appreciate them more fully.

That's the plan at least.

And plans always look better on paper.

I embarrassingly admit, I am always a year behind, and my creativity is limited.  I just make do with paper and embellishments that are already pre packed.

I know I'm not the only one, right??

Last Saturday, I spent the afternoon catching up on half of last year's photos.

I just need to add their names and ages to the pages.

Last August, we went on a three day camping trip to Palo Duro Canyon, TX.  Oh my word!  It was gorgeous.

A perfectly natural setting (and unique to boot!) for the kids' school photos.

No!  We didn't drive 8 hours to take school photos.  You crazy, girl!

But you do have to admit, God's handiwork makes for the best, photo back drop.

I insert "special occasions" every now and then ::

Then there's the baby.

Oh gosh.

I haven't even started a scrapbook for her, and she's almost 19 months old!!

I have so many photos that need to be documented.

David snapped a handful of mommy/daughter photos of us last Friday evening.

I've done this with all my kiddos (when they were much smaller though.)  Thought I'd better get these done before she was too big to call  "baby".

What's a few more pictures behind at this point?   Geesh!  I hope I get a scrapbook started, let alone caught up, by the time she turns two!

At any rate...looking back at the kids' photos is a reminder of how quickly the time is passing us by.  Not liking that.  One bit.

~  Patty  ~

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mom Update

My beautiful mom!  We had this taken about 10 days ago on my very quick trip back "home".

Update ~
Things always appear brighter the next day, don't they?  After all the shock wore off,  Mom has the most positive attitude right now.

We keep thinking about the two people who were hospitalized in serious condition that needed emergency back surgery.  Praying for them and feeling relieved that Mom is not in their situation.  I can only imagine what happened to them.   A car wreck possibly?

Looking forward to ~

Today, Mom has some small renovations starting in her house.  She'll be home to watch it unfold and give some womanly direction when needed (*wink*)

Renovations.  My childhood home is over 100 years old.  Mom and dad purchased the house over 50 years ago.  It was originally an apartment, and they lived in the bottom portion.

(My childhood home at Christmas about three years ago :)


FIVE kids, TWO adults   -   TWO bedrooms.  And we think we all have it hard!  Ha!

After I was born and the upstairs renters moved out, they turned it into a beautiful five bedroom, 2.5 bath, and eventually raised NINE kids in.

Mom and Dad had a bedroom on the main floor with a laundry room /  half bath  across the hall from them.

No bath or shower on the main floor.  (The original claw foot tub on main floor was moved upstairs and the washer and dryer was put in its' place.)

This is not a good set up for someone with a bad back trying to go either down into the basement for a shower OR up two flights of stairs to take a bath.


The washer and dryer are coming out of the laundry room and a brand new shower is being built in their place - with a seat and hand held shower head!

That rocks!

She is then having one of her HUGE pantry cabinets in her kitchen built out and a new stack-able washer and dryer is going in there!

That totally rocks!

A full bath and washer/dryer set up on the main floor.  She'll be relaxed and relieved knowing she stay in her home enjoying her flower gardens and humming birds for a long, long time.

My siblings and I will be relieved as well!

And she appreciates all the prayers, we all do!

~  Patty  ~

Monday, August 26, 2013

Prayer Request

I had a completely different one written up and was ready to post when my mother phoned me around lunchtime.

She was scheduled for a very serious back surgery in less than 48 hours when she received a phone call from the surgeon's nurse.  Due to two emergency back surgeries, she was being bumped from the schedule and had her date pushed back one month.

This was shocking and frustrating especially since she was physically, mentally, and spiritually ready.

I saved part of my original post explaining her back condition.


There are two issues being addressed.

The first, the "smaller" issue of the two, will be to have a shim placed into her lower spine.  This article was the best I could find that explained her condition in layman's terms.

The second, more serious of the two, will be to have a rod inserted in her back in order to aid her and her ongoing battle of spinal stenosis.  This page can explain it more, but if you saw my mother or spoke with her, you would know just how debilitating this condition is.

My mother works in hospital gift shop, loves to garden and watch her humming birds.  Up to a year ago, she could still travel.

The other treatments she's received over the years took the edge off,  but nothing actually stops the worsening of this condition.  For the past 9 months, her active life as she knew it has coming to a stop.  Very depressing for anyone.

Surgery is the last step to resolve this issue.

The surgeon said after her full recovery, she will be able to walk a mile without a cane.  That sounds miraculous to us!!


Another monkey wrench -  David and I have a non-refundable  family vacation planned between now and then.  Oh, our trip is insured, but this situation isn't covered.  I would hate to be over-seas if she could get an earlier surgery date.

Terribly, terribly frustrating.

Please lift her up in prayer!!

~  Patty  ~

Meatless Fridays - Black Bean & Rice Burritos

These are AWESOME!    Totally blog-worthy.


2 cups white rice (I use real rice).
4 cups water
2 TBSP butter
1 sweet yellow onion, chopped (I substituted with onion powder.)
4 cloves garlic, minced.  *That seems like a lot to me.   ( I substituted with garlic powder - to taste.)
2 TBSP chili powder
2 TBSP paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp of ground pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
16 large flour tortillas (burrito size)


1.  Prepare your real rice according to package directions.  While rice is steaming, continue with following steps.

2.  Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Stir in onion powder and garlic powder. *If using fresh onion and garlic - saute in butter for 5 to 6 minutes first.*

3.  Add chili powder, paprika, cumin, and nutmeg.  Mix well.  Stir in black beans and tomato sauce into contents of skillet.  Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes to blend the flavors.

4.  Fill each tortilla with 1/2 cup cooked rice and 1/3 cup bean mixture.  Place rice and beans on one side in order to fold and wrap the tortilla.

Garnish with Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheeses, lettuce, and sour cream.

Servings - 16

These are really easy...super tasty...and gentle on the food budget!


~  Patty  ~

Friday, August 23, 2013

Budgeting for Christmas Gifts

I think this is such a fun gift...for the photographer in your life!

It's a real coffee mug shaped like a Canon lens.   I saw the idea floating around on FB last spring.

(You can find it  here and it comes in different camera brands as well.)

And yes, I have started shopping.

I start in June, making sure I keep the budget running smoothly.  (Those darn budgets!!)

10 years ago, I was reading an article in Family Fun magazine and it had suggestions on how to make things easier on the pocket book during the Christmas season.

One suggestion was to start buying in June, a few things at a time.

Well, I gave it a whirl and was immediately hooked!

I start in June shopping for my three sisters.  (My sisters and I exchange with one another every year.  Love my sistas!)

Note:  Summer Sales rock!  Easy way to knock off some gifts.

July and August are for the close friends we exchange with or for godparents or even parents.

*That's when I hit the wall.  Birthday Season.  Between September 1st  and Thanksgiving, we celebrate grandparents' birthdays, 3 of our kids' birthdays, and my beloved's birthday.  

(I'm sure a lot of you have the same situation.)

Can we say Cha- Ching?

That's what makes this "Christmas shopping budget" even more important for the pocket book.

Since I've successfully used this plan for the last 10 years, I thought I'd pass it on to y'all!

I know it sounds strange talking about Christmas shopping in August, but budgets need to be faced...even though I wish it could be tossed out the window.

~  Patty ~

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Meatless Fridays - Cheese Bagel Pizza

My kids help out planning the weekly menu.

Someone put bagel pizzas down for a Saturday night meal.  When we made a cheese only for the baby, I thought that this counts toward meatless.  Right?

It's an easy meatless lunch for the kids, too.

Okay.  I'm the first to admit that it  isn't  the most appetizing meal, but when in need of a quick, meatless, kid-friendly's downright do-able!


~  Patty  ~

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Action Central

My trip back "home" was crazy fast....covered 5 states in 48 hours....but was so important and full of laughter and good cheer.  I love my mom to the moon and back!  (*Remember prayer warriors, her surgery is August 28.)

I'm home now, and this is where my juggling act really gets interesting.

There's this ::

I'm teaching Confirmation to Eighth Grade, Second Year Confirmation students through the parish CCD program this year.  (Every Wednesday evening.)

I was discerning it since last spring.  

It went something along these lines...

Me ::  No way!

God ::  (Insert hardy laugh.)

There's this ::

Sally finished Physical Therapy and will be back in the "swim" of things starting August 26.   First meet is in less than one month!   

She has to get all of her studying in by 12:30pm in order to make practice all afternoon, 3-5 days a week depending on our schedule.

There's this ::

Planning a birthday party that's fit for the "King of the Wild Frontier".  (He's so stinkin' excited!)

There's this ::

Our first, HUGE family vacation in over 5 years!  We are so crazy excited!!  Check out that water park on top!

We booked this last spring and now eagerly await our sail date.

With that, I'm signing off.  Time for bed.

Nighty night!

~  Patty  ~

Friday, August 16, 2013

HELLO down there!

So by the time this is posted, I'll be way up here...

...flying to my brother's in Omaha, NE....and then he and I are road trippin' to Illinois to get a real quick visit in with our mom.

Mom is going in for  major back surgery on August 28.  (*Would  you be so kind to add her to your prayer lists?*)

Have a blessed weekend!

~  Patty ~

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Clementine's Hard Life

My teacher's assistant is too busy to help me with school matters these days!

But that's okay...she's keeping herself busy and happy which equals uninterrupted schooling!  Ha ha!

Here is a typical morning for Clementine ...

(I am glad we kept that cloth tea set which was a gift for Sally from Grammy & Poppy about 13 years ago.  Isn't it sweet?)

(I posted a DIY on that mirror, here.)

(I posted the Little Tikes table make-over, here.)


To be that little again, huh?  Not a care in the world.  

Wishing you all a happy Wednesday!

~  Patty ~

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Meatless Fridays - Cheese Tortellini & Sauce

This is an easy and delicious one.

Cook up some cheese tortellini (found in your supermarket freezer section), add some sauce (any kind, cheesy or tomato based), serve with garlic bread and a side salad.

My husband brought home a two packages  of these the other day (from Walmart)  ::

(Once upon a deceased,  Slovenian,  maternal grandmother use to make those by hand. )

Our family always goes through two packages in one setting.

There are so many brands out there.

And a favorite sauce of ours?

It is to die for!

I have only found it at Target ($3.59 worth of smooth and creamy goodness.)


~  Patty  ~

Monday, August 12, 2013


I went to use the "potty".


I'm pretty sure I did a week's worth of  cardio when I saw that PLASTIC  critter.

Compliments of my husband.  (I think he sorta felt a little bad...)

Wasp Nest.

So we are all on the front porch when Stan the man takes his play sword and smacks the front shrubs.  About a billion wasps came flying out.

"Danger Dave" saved the day.  He hid behind a chair to aim and spray.

This hive was up, inside the bushes.  He had to get down on the ground and look up into the bushes to find it.


So I think I've taken about 10 years off of my life this past weekend.

~  Patty  ~

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Couch Make Over

Our living room furniture (sleeper sofa and chair) was purchased in January 2000.

We bought the matching love seat in November 2003 (when we moved into a bigger house and had room for it.)

The brand is England (a division of Lazy Boy),  and except for the seat cushions on the couch and chair, the furniture is in very good condition!

But those seat cushions...

Something had to be done.  We found this video tutorial online last year, and just got around to trying it ourselves today.

David measured for the amount of foam we would need, using the  GOOD cushions from the love seat to come up with our depth of 7".

We purchased our foam from JoAnn Fabrics.  (You can order replacement foam online as well.)

1.)  First, protect your work table (area) with a large piece of cardboard, and get an electric knife out as well as a black sharpie marker.

2.)  Next, gently unzip and remove the cover.

(We ended up discarding the outer white wrap since the furniture company used it to load the old foam the first time.)

3)  Next, unwrap the white polyester "netting" that surrounds the old foam and set it aside.  You will need to rewrap the new foam with the same "netting".

4)  Then, use the old foam piece to trace a pattern onto the new foam.

Jo Ann Fabrics did not have  7" depth foam, so we purchased a 5" and a 2" piece and combined the two.  (You'll see this soon.)

5)  Use an electric knife to slice the foam.  (It's like slicing butter!)

Then, we repeated steps 4 & 5 for the 5" depth piece of foam.

6).  Now, place the foam pieces back onto the white polyester "netting" and rewrap it.

(We kept the 5" piece on top for more support.)

7)  Okay.  For the next part, we used a piece of thin (.7 mil) plastic drop cloth from Lowe's ($1.98).

Wrap your foam with the plastic drop cloth.

David tucked it in and then cut off the super extra stuff.  But remember to keep the entire piece covered.

You'll see why...

8)  This is where you get your shop vac (or vacuum cleaner) and create some major suction!!

Don't turn off the machine UNTIL you have EASILY slipped the cover over your suctioned foam.

9)  Turn off the shop vac and watch the foam grow right into place!

10)  At this point, slide your arm in to adjust any foam. and grab, tear, and gently pull out the plastic.  It needs to come out in pieces.  Make sure you get way up in front, too!

11)  The last step is to zip it up.  You will have to firmly work the material down from the front end of cushion to the zipper end to close the gap up, making sure you start on the side where the zipper begins.   See if these photos help...

Repeat this process in small sections so you do not rip any material or tear the zipper out.  There is a lot of tension at this point!

Bam!  All done.

These were the 6' section we had to work with for the sofa cushions.

And we traced and cut the exact same way for the sofa cushions as we did for the chair cushion.

BEFORE and AFTER sofa cushion photos ::

Young lady on an old cushion ::

 (No support what so ever!)

Now check out young lady on the new cushion ::

They feel like new pieces of furniture.  Honest!

Foam ::

8' of 5" foam
8' of 2" foam


50% off sale
15% off teacher's card 
10% off extra for teachers this weekend


Grand total $117

Time frame ::
Once the area was prepped and material gathered, it took 20-25 minutes per cushion from unzip to zip, it's done.  

I wonder what we would have paid to have this done??

Hoping this has given the furniture another 14 years, because David said he isn't buying any new furniture till the kids leave the nest!  Ha ha!

~  Patty  ~


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