Caramel Apples, check.

Fall is the season for baking and decorating and crafting. I have made peace with the fact that crafting isn't my thing. No ability, no desire, no thank you. Fortunately, my oldest daughter is a crafty type, and a nostalgic little soul, so anything we've done in Falls past needs to be done again or else it's not really Fall.So, after several flesh burns from 300 degree caramel, a lost tooth, a legendary mess of toppings on the kitchen floor, and half a bag of chocolate chips consumed in the … [Read more...]

Works for me: the C-T-M-L Method

A year after our fruitful (haha) blog discussion on "Natural Family Planning" and Method Effectiveness, I can report 14 months of successful pregnancy-spacing, while nursing, with the ultimate Catholic fertility tracking method: the C-T-M-L method.C is for "Creighton". I have come to realize that the Creighton model is synonymous with living a white marriage, but it's actually really effective to pay a Creighton instructor $40/hour to be sure that you are... still... abstaining.T is for … [Read more...]

Back to School: All In!

Our little Catholic school is opening a Moms' Morning Out program on Thursday mornings this fall, for kids 12 months to 3 years. Thus, today is the first day of school for my... one year old and two year old.When my oldest two were both toddlers, I thought we would homeschool.Now my fourth and fifth are starting school before they know how to talk.As my oldest said yesterday, tongue-in-cheek, "Oh Mom, it's so hard to believe [baby] is old enough to start school already. It seems like … [Read more...]

Half-and-half Dinner

When you are a firstborn one-year-old, your mom feeds you square meals at home and remembers a sippy cup of organic whole milk when you leave the house.When you are a fifthborn one-year-old, your mom drags you to an evening event after neglecting to feed you dinner, and forgets your sippy cup, and so your dinner consists of 16 little half-and-half containers sitting at room temperature by the vats of coffee. Poured into your mouth one by one while you hang loose in the Ergo, enjoying a … [Read more...]

Looney Tunes: charmingly quaint?

We have just introduced the kids to the wonderful world of Looney Tunes, thanks to old shows on DVD available at our local library. As a purebred conservative, I tend to think older things are better in most circumstances, especially where technology and media are concerned. I spent hours a day during my childhood enjoying Bugs Bunny and his friends, and so it's been charming to keep the tradition alive. My walk down memory lane was just interrupted by my taciturn 7 year old son's … [Read more...]

The Fourth Decade: When Sleep Became King

For most of my life, sleep could be sacrificed for any and every reason. Sleep was the optional item on my to-do list.In high school, I finished homework and then stayed on AOL/instant messenger until late, but still managed to soldier on to school the next morning and through extra-curriculars into the afternoon and evening.At Princeton, the candle burned at both ends of the night, with all-night editing shifts at the student newspaper, cramming for exams and meeting last minute … [Read more...]

American Girl Dolls: Enriching Play or Consumerist Cult?

We are headed into the city this morning to visit American Girl Place. My 8 year old daughter is into the historic dolls, in particular Samantha, and she has been waiting for months.  She loves having tea parties, taking care of babies, and playing school with Samantha. I am so thankful that she and her friends get jazzed up about the historic American Girl dolls instead of having "crushes" and watching Jessie. She has developed patience by saving her money or waiting for Christmas to outfit her … [Read more...]

Lemonade Stand

A great antidote to summer boredom, especially on long, hot afternoons:A Lemonade Stand!!Here in our area, if you see a lemonade stand, it's usually an Alex's Lemonade Stand or Lemonade for Cancer Research -- in other words, the purpose is to raise money for a good cause.I can't say we were quite so noble. Our fundraising was for my kids' upcoming trip to the Magnificent Mile of Chicago, more specifically American Girl Place and the Disney Store.We set up shop on Monday, which … [Read more...]

Now Observing the Fourth* Commandment! Sort of.

Here is the current sign outside the United Methodist Church in our neighborhood:Make no mistake, this Methodist church is filled with activity during the weekdays. It houses our town's Senior Center, food bank, and an impressive community theater (currently presenting: "Nunsense"), and it serves as the local headquarters for the Boy Scouts of America. In short, it's a community center with a charming stone exterior. And now, the icing on the cake, it's open on Sundays so you can even … [Read more...]

Little by little…

My just-turned-8 year old daughter survived her first Troop Tekakwitha overnight campout in the woods of Pennsylvania.And I survived the experience of letting her go.This past weekend, I confided in the Builders that I was uncomfortable with the camping trip. I went away to sleepover camp too young, and I spent about 20 too many nights camping with my family as a pre-teen... so childhood camping experiences left me with a bad aftertaste.Also, while I love running outdoors and … [Read more...]