Instant Pot for Beginners: How to Cook White Rice

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Did you buy an Instant Pot on impulse when you saw a great Black Friday or Prime Day deal? Is it just... Sitting in the box gathering dust? I guarantee you're not the only one! It's a daunting prospect, figuring out how to use a new appliance that shoots hot steam out the top if you use it wrong. The first time I used ours, I sprayed liquefied oatmeal onto the kitchen ceiling! 

So. Let's start with the basics, shall we? Rice is a good place to start! And I guarantee it won't end up on your ceiling, unless you throw it up in the air like confetti.

37/52: Babies, Bonnets, and Watermelon

Monday, September 17, 2018

36/52: Melons and Handicrafts

(More) Meal Planning, Recipes, and Music {7qt}

Friday, September 7, 2018


We've had to turn the air conditioning on every day this week, so I maintain that we're still firmly in the grip of summer. I won't begrudge you your pumpkin decorations (I mean really, pumpkins are so pretty!) but we've reached my least-favorite part of the year:

When you can't trust any baked good *not* to have nasty pumpkin hiding in it. WHY would you ruin a perfectly good chocolate chip cookie by putting pumpkin in it???

35/52: Front Porch Kitchen

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Ten on Tuesday {Volume 2}

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

This post brought to you by phone blogging, since morning sickness still hasn't disappeared, so I'm doing lots of lying in bed...

34/52: First Week of School

Monday, August 27, 2018

It's back to school time!! We started last week and things went surprisingly smoothly - I even managed to get "school pictures" done! Without further ado...

33/52: The Burlap Sack Restaurant

Friday, August 24, 2018

In the Face of Scandal

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

I was 16 when the 2002 scandals broke out. With limited internet access and no newspaper subscription, I was kept blessedly ignorant, for which I'm now thankful. Maybe it saved my faith.

I'd still heard about it, though. I was relieved it hadn't happened in our diocese (although years later I would learn that our diocese wasn't without its own sordid tales). When Jehovah's Witnesses encountered me at home later that year, their eyes lit up when they found out we were a Catholic family.

"So what do you think about the scandals?"

"Well," I answered tritely, "Priests are humans, too. We're all sinners. I think we can extend forgiveness." They never did return, which was probably a wise decision.

Now let's imagine 16-year-old me giving that response to an abuse victim.

32/52: These Are Not My Pictures

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

31/52: Elderberries and Soccer

Easy Peasy Roasted Tomato Sauce Recipe

Friday, August 3, 2018

30/52: Fort Ticonderoga and Tomatoes

Meal Planning, Tomatoes, and One More Thing {7QT}

Friday, July 27, 2018


I took to Instagram on Monday, enlisting crowd help for meal planning for the week and it did NOT DISAPPOINT. I actually think I might do this every week because Monday is generally our Aldi day and it's good for me to have meals planned for the week so I don't need any mid-week grocery trips. Anyway, here's what we've eaten/are eating:

29/52: Flowers and Trash Kites

28/52: Balloons and Skateboards

Monday, July 23, 2018

Best Prime Day Deals!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

I've been spending prooooobably too much time browsing Amazon Prime Day deals, and had to share some of my findings with you! I've been posting them on Facebook, but I know you're not all on social media, so here's what I think is worth looking into!

Prime Day Hacks!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Woohoo, Amazon Prime Day is on Monday! Some people consider it as good as Black Friday sales, but in July. I tend to agree, but with the added benefit of it happening during the summer when it's too hot to do much of anything but sit in front of the air conditioning and wonder why you were so excited for warm weather...

We've gotten some awesome deals in the past, particularly when it comes to stocking up on Christmas and birthday presents. Just don't over-purchase and then forget what gifts you've already bought...

ThredUp's New Goody Box Service: Treasure or Trainwreck?

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

I tried ThredUp's new Goody Box service a few months ago... Here's how it went!

27/52: Fireworks!

26/52: When the Cats Are Away

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Childlike Joy and Beauty in the Mundane

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

This post contains affiliate links.

Peter has his own little garden, right by the downspout, carefully cultivated and occasionally mulched. He originally planted dandelions and feathers, but added a marigold, tomato, zinnias, and cosmos after he saw the success of his siblings' gardens.

That feather plant, though. It was beautiful in his eyes. Just like the wonder with which Selina Peake describes the simple, jewel-like fields of cabbages upon viewing the countryside for the first time, we encourage the childlike joy that accompanies each discovery of beauty in the mundane.

I'd like to say that we've raised our children to appreciate beauty, but I don't think we've had anything to do with it. I think that any child seeing a flower, an interesting bug, a majestic tree, is so enchanted by these new experiences that he or she can't contain the joy that such beauty evokes. It bubbles over and must be shared. The parents are only the most obvious recipients.

So while I don't think I caused this intense interest in natural beauty, I do what I can to cultivate it.

Read the rest here. 

Learn more about gardening with kids here.

How we make the world more beautiful.

25/52: Big Helpers

24/52: Going on a Trip

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Ten on Tuesday

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

I have to warn you, this post is inspired by alliteration. Because I had a few things I wanted to share and I thought I should up it to ten solely for the purposes of this title!

This post contains affiliate links!

1. I've been looking for a pretty, not-too-terribly-expensive, embroidered top since *Peter* was a baby. Just found this one and I think it's going to be a winner!

23/52: Cherry Picking

Friday Night Musings {7QT}

Friday, June 8, 2018

Well, the kids are in bed, Andrew and John Paul are at a baseball game, and I've done all the gardening I can manage for the night... How about some quick takes?

22/52: Our May Crowning

The Rosary We Couldn't Break

Friday, June 1, 2018

Here's the thing: I can't manage to keep a rosary without breaking it. Fancy ones, cheap ones, anything but knotted ones (we haven't broken ANY of those but sometimes you want beads)... They're in pieces, or in one LONG piece but no longer shaped like a rosary. Or tangled together in our rosary basket, left in a giant clump every time we pray a family rosary. Mostly I just use my fingers.

Plant a Mary Garden!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

My kids love to pick flowers and present the blooms to me. But they also adore presenting those flowers to the Blessed Virgin! Having vases in the house around any Marian statues or paintings is a wonderful way to encourage Marian devotion (after all, what better way to grow closer to Jesus than through His mother?). If you have the outdoor space, creating an entire Mary garden with your family will provide years of memories! Here's how to get started:

21/52: Puffy Sleeves and Peonies

20/52: Garden Helpers

19/52: High Fives and May Crownings

Small House Living, Standardized Testing, and Belly Banishers (7QT}

Friday, May 11, 2018

 We live in a 3-bedroom house. With 6 kids. It should probably feel tighter than it is, and it actually *does* start to feel pretty tight during the winter when I can't get the kids outside as often as I'd like. But people have asked how we make it work, so here's how!

18/52: If You Give a Mom a Camera

Thursday, May 10, 2018

She'll take way too many pictures of her kids...

I noticed the dogwood trees had started blooming in town, so I packed the kids up and we headed to our local arboretum, where there's a gorgeous lane full of dogwood trees, lined with rock walls on either side. It's GORGEOUS but I was sad there weren't any pink dogwoods blooming! Maybe they all died? I know that's a common issue with dogwoods, and it's pretty sad.

First we had to head over to the little picnic area, because they like to pretend that the giant yew trees are their houses. It was so sweet, Edith could actually "climb" these on her own, and she LOVED it! There were a few older women leaving, and they remarked about how amazing it was that the kids came to the arboretum and immediately started playing in the trees! They said it looked like they were having a great childhood, which definitely boosted my confidence. We get VERY different reactions to our family size out here in the country versus when we lived in the suburbs closer to DC!

Then we walked down the dogwood lane, Peter whining all the way, and Edith yanking on my hair from her position in the carrier. It was magical, as you can see. And no, I didn't really get any good pictures. But we had fun!

We headed over to the pollinator garden to see what was blooming and to ogle the gorgeous irises - they have a TON of different varieties and everyone had a different favorite. Irises are my favorite flower! And the twins were especially enchanted by the bleeding hearts.

After we walked down the dogwood lane, we went to sit in the grass in the little amphitheater and the kids decided to put on an impromptu play. It. Was. Amazing. John Paul marched out on the stage and started out lamenting, "Alas! Alas... My love... Has... Gone away... And deserted me..." Then Cecilia was his scornful lover, and in the middle of a very tense scene the twins entered the stage as...

Dancing penguins.

You wish you had been there.

The play went on for QUITE some time, and I finally had to call it over because I was tired of sitting in the sun watching them not really do anything because there was really no plot (except, apparently, for the penguins). 

Edith is really getting astonishingly big. She kept wanting to walk on her own (and keeping up with us!), pick up rocks, dig in the dirt... She spent a while in the head garden just entertaining herself by picking up rocks and putting them on the wall. I'm still calling her a baby though, and you're not allowed to correct me!
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