These 3D printable masks could save Halloween.

mask tiger

Halloween is in eight days.  So far, I have (a) ordered one light blue hoodie from Ebay and (b) yelled at everybody.  Since we have to come up with nine costumes -- or 17, really, since the older kids always pick a trick-or-treating costume that would be inappropriate for school, and so we have to come up with a second costume that won't trigger an automatic lock-down. Thank goodness we're terrible Catholics and quietly ignore All Saint's Day, except for going to Mass, or we'd be looking at eig … [Read more...]

Don’t bubble-wrap your kids

windblown tree

 My son, who is twelve, recently wanted to buy a comic book, and as he leafed through the pages, he liked the story, but was disturbed by some of the gory images he saw. The comic book guy reassured him that he would get used to it over time. And I agreed. Sure, you can get used to it, and eventually it wouldn't even bother you any more. But why would you want to do that to yourself?Read the rest at the Register.  … [Read more...]

In which I narrowly avoid Jesus Juking the heck out of you

sunflower house

Back in the spring, I said to myself, "This is the year! This is the year I'm going to plant one of those glorious sunflower bowers for the children."  "This is so simple, even I can't screw it up!" I thought.  "They can pretend they are fairies living in a flower fairy home, and it will be a Nice Childhood Memory Guaranteed!"So, we chose some seeds that become hardy, mammoth flowers, we picked a sunny spot, measured out a generous circle, dug, fertilized, planted a … [Read more...]

What are you doing for catechism this year?

All right, YOU catechise this, if you're so smart.

For the older kids, in 7th, 8th, 10th, and 11th grades, I give up. Wait, no, that's not what I meant to say out loud. What I meant to say is that we haven't found either EDGE or LifeTeen to be a good match for our family, and every time I try to read something aloud to the kids, or do a pre-packaged curriculum with them, something happens to capsize the whole endeavor.  It's some combination of the kids being in three different schools, and me and my husband working four different jobs, and the … [Read more...]

Yes, your kids can pack their own lunches. BUT . . .

photo (56)

You really do want to check them before they leave the house.  Not that there is anything wrong with an actually quite balanced and hearty meal consisting of ham, carrots, apple sauce, an apple, yogurt, and ...  bread-and-butter balls. "It's just something I invented," the kindergartner mentions casually.And then we have this meal prepared by the third grader:   who is willing to face the day knowing she has peanuts, two cold … [Read more...]

The Case for Siblings: Why Having a Baby Is Good for Your Other Kids

[This post originally ran at Faith and Family Live in 2010, when I was pregnant with #8. I'm on my way to Virginia for the Summer Soiree at Mary's Shelter! If you have a prayer to spare, maybe send up one that my ears don't get too plugged up on the plane? It's hard to talk into a microphone when your ears are plugged up! Usually I take Sudafed, but this is a no go for this stage of the pregnancy. And also please pray that I don't cry on stage for any reason. I don't even know why I would, but p … [Read more...]

At the Register: Lessons from the ER

bad doctor

--One of the greatest functions of the ER is to illustrate for your children why you do not pay for TV at home. Ninety nine channels, 'round and around and around you go.  See, kids? There is nothing on. Nothing. --If you are holding a catheter tube, and I say, "Careful, she is little, but she is strong," then you should listen to me.Read the rest at the Register. … [Read more...]


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