Monday, September 15, 2014

Guest Post!

 Today I have a guest blogger, my friend Laura.
She recently started a business helping people
If you remember, I've decluttered a lot 
But it is a constant work in progress, 
and because of the quote Laura told me once, 
(the one she starts her post with)
I am constantly asking myself, 
"Do I really need this?"

Here is my friend Laura, from 

“The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your
wardrobe is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of
the one who is barefoot; the money that you keep locked away is the money of the poor; the
acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit.” – St. Basil the Great

 It’s a little heavy-handed, I know. As an organizer, it’s not a quote I pull out for everyone: but
I know that you, Jamie’s loyal readers, will get this one. Collectively and individually we have a
lot of stuff.For good reason, I know! Many of us have young children and aren’t planning on being “done” (if there is such a thing!) anytime soon. Several of us have the space for it: storage rooms, or if not that, at least enough totes to fake it. Some items we store were gifts that we can’t get ourselves to admit we never liked, or garage sale deals that we keep thinking we’ll use someday. Last, but certainly not least, we have precious memories piled on precious memories, in shoesboxes, small bins, and even cardboard boxes.

Can I be honest? That IS a lot of stuff: but I think what we have, as a culture, the most of, is fear. I think that we’re afraid to let go of the stuff we don’t need, aren’t using, don’t truly have the space for, or haven’t looked at because what if we might need it someday?

In other words: What if God doesn’t provide?

Like I said, a little heavy handed.

Yet there is an element of truth to it. As Americans, we’ve been blessed with more than enough. In our own lives, we know that God has always provided, that He watches over us and guards us. Have we returned that favor? Have we acted in His stead towards others?

There is some prudence in keeping what we think we will use or need. But is there an alternative to holding onto all the extra stuff? Could we create a picture album of our children’s old art work instead of letting their cardboard projects rot in the basement? Could we acknowledge that our kids maybe don’t need a closet FULL of clothes? (The extra bonus to that is less laundry!) Maybe we could finally admit that holding onto our old wedding gown isn’t the treasure we thought it would be, and we could give it to a grieving parent instead.

When we seek the alternatives, when we live like God will take care of all our needs—when we give what we have to others—we find that we’re living in peace. When we love what we have, use what we’ve been given, and not worry about the rest, we’ve found freedom from “stuff” and are able to act as God’s hand to the poor around us.

We also, I’ll add, leave behind a beautiful legacy for our children. Sure, they won’t have an attic of old stuff, but they will have a tradition of generosity: of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and giving without counting the cost.

Laura is a wife and mother, who runs the business O Happy Day (!) Organization when she is not corralling her three boys. You can find more information about her business (and her October specials!) at O Happy Day (!) Organization

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


 Thankful for this man, that God gave to me.
His birthday was yesterday
He's 2 years older than I
 Just about my whole world right here
(he loves pie, so I picked up a carmel apple struesel pie from Sam's Club)
Thankful for my beautiful family
 He shares a birthday with Mother Mary
and our goddaughter (you'll see her later)
Isn't that special to share a birthday with 2 very special people?
Thankful Jesus gave us His mother 
John 19:26-27
Thankful  my birthday is today! 
(It's late, so by the time you read this, it will be today)
I'm 45 
 Thankful our butterfly emerged 
(a couple weeks ago now)
so beautiful to witness new life

 Thankful for our busy and yet so peaceful
 Thankful for funny boys who start a water fight
 and realize that the water is actually pretty cold!

Thankful for awesome helpers that help play with the little kids every single day!
What a blessing they are to each other!

 Thankful for my view from the porch
 even if it is changing right before my eyes
 Yes, those are fall leaves.
I used to like fall.
I don't think I do anymore.
It's too close to winter.
Thankful it's not winter yet!
 Thankful to be able to soak up as much of fall as I can
 Thankful for pretty girls with flowers
 And some school pictures done
(3rd grade)
 (4th grade)
 (9th grade)
I used my flash on this one, and I think maybe I might need to re-do these
He's going to love that.
(the other kids pictures are in THIS post)

 Thankful for a surprise visit from my cousin!
I love her so much!
We grew apart as adults and have grown close again 
in having children.
(and I love it!)

  And my kids love it!

 Thankful for surprise visits from my good friend Sarah!!
(OK, I knew a couple days ahead of time)
We never seem to get enough time together.
Her oldest is 15 now 
and she remembered that she was 15 when we first met.
I was working with her brother at Sam's Club
(who was Lutheran at the time)
(he's a priest now)
Her and her mother would go through my register 
when he wasn't working.
(I am 5 years older than she)

We went our own ways for several years, 
til they became Catholic, as a family.
I started seeing her at church things

We went our own ways again, married and started families.
Then, we ended up living near each other and 
going to the same church!!

We were fast friends.
And have been ever since, even through far away moves.

She is my "soul friend"
There's such a thing, isn't there?

Well, there should be.
And if there were, she would be it for me.
My daughter is her goddaughter
And her daughter is our goddaughter! 
(she's the one that Tom shares his birthday with)
Eva and my daughter are one year and one week apart
 Creamy White Chili

My friend Laura
wanted me to post this recipe!
I got it 

 Not sure if I'm the only one that does this, but I don't really follow the recipe, 
like I add way more beans and broth than it says....
and maybe sour cream and whipping cream.
 I use Garlic Salt instead of salt or Garlic powder...
but if you follow the recipe exactly, it is also delicious, I promise.
Don't forget to add some cheese to the top!

 Thankful for the beauty of childhood in my life
From the oldest to the youngest.
May we all notice the beauty around us
even in every day life.


Have a great week, God's love to you all!

Friday, September 5, 2014

We Have a New 10 Year Old!

 My sweet 10 year old!
(she turned 10 on Tuesday)
I think with each freckle, she gets sweeter and sweeter.
For her birthday, she worked ahead and took the day off school
(we homeschoolers can do that)
She wanted to go to Mass at noon with me, 
and afterward wanted to stay longer for Adoration than me even!
She then, went with her dad for a holy hour at our Adoration chapel.

I tell you, this girl is special.

Age 2 1/2 here
 Come on boys...the girls are looking and smiling!

Oh, my.
 She is one of his favorite sisters
(he has 4 favorites)
 She is so loving and kind and so very good with children!

 We do homemade cards here

 It was a beautiful day, after several days of rain, 
so we took advantage and went to a park in the afternoon.
(it's been raining every day since)
Sisters, ages 12, and 10 here

Ages 2 and 4 here!
Time goes fast
(once it's gone)
 She's mad here, because I wanted her to put 10 candles on too, 
my fault, in the end, who cares?
Candles that say 10 alone, 
or the "10" candles and 10 candles?
It doesn't matter and it's her birthday not mine.

(keeping it real here folks, sometimes my mouth gets me into trouble
and ruins special moments)

Good thing my family forgives me.
Plus, they wanted cake.
The best chocolate cake EVER!

Good old Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake

So rich and amazing, you do not need to go to Pinterest to pin any more chocolate cakes.
Seriously, this was the best cake I've ever had.
(except when I made it another time)
(and when my daughter's friend Miriam made it for us)

Everyone else agreed, best cake we've ever had.
(I did the 2 layer version)
Recipe is actually right off the Hershey's Cocoa can.

You must use the frosting recipe too.
Really, you must.
(otherwise it wouldn't be the best cake EVER)
 Tenzi anyone?
Super fun game! (one of her gifts)

 Saturday she had a couple friends over for a pie making birthday
She wanted pancakes and sausages for brunch it is!
(we always make Barbara's I-Hop Pancakes--HERE's the Recipe)

Hi Barbara!  We got your beautiful scapulars!  Thank you!
 These girls are so much fun!
 Once we got their aprons on,
(Wal-mart, 7 bucks, in case you were wondering)
 They were ready to take orders
 I bought those mini graham cracker pie crusts (24 of them)
made a cheesecakey puddingy base
(vanilla pudding, milk, sour cream, cream cheese and cool whip)
had fruit, candy, cherry pie filling, jarred cherries, Cool Whip, Redi Spray,
Chocolate pudding, cheesecake flavored pudding and 
lots of finger licking!!
 And giggles....
 She was nice enough to include her little sister for the party, her idea.
(I told you she was sweet)
Oh, my, that counter behind her is my "catch all" counter.
(Please tell me you have one of those too)
Their masterpiece pies!

(We went swimming afterward at the Y to work off some of that sugar!)

Her middle name is Celeste
 (I can tell you that right?)
Celeste means "Heavenly" 
Let's just say her name fits her.

God has blessed us with amazing children.

God bless you my sweet 10 year old!


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