Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Girls Pilgrimage

There are a lot of girls in our family.  

And they just seem to keep coming.  

The more the merrier, right!?

My older girls are definitely getting older.  Being one who loves tradition, I have been starting to think about how I want their life to look as they age and mature.  I want to provide them with momentous, growing adventures that they will cherish forever.

Men have it easy.  They pack up a few things, walk out into the woods and camp for the weekend.  The return home bonded and more manly,  Memories were made, plans are dreamed of for future camping trips.

I don't camp.  It's not that I won't, it's just unfamiliar to me. And something about camping with my girls doesn't sit right. I'm sure they'd have a good time doing it.  I'm sure there are lots of other girls that would prefer to camp.  

Then there is the girls pampering weekend.  Getting nails done, nice hotel, fancy dinner, pretty clothes. Which I'm sure they would love to do and I'm sure many other girls would prefer that type of getaway.

But that's just not what I want for my girls.  

Late one night shift when I was still working as a Nurse Aid, I was doing a little research on Monastic life.  I found a female monastery in SC, Saints Mary and Martha Monastery,  that was not too far away. On their website they advertise that they host Mother/Daughter Retreats.  


Here was our chance to get away from the world, out in nature (but not too out), living simply and focusing on God and each other.  This is exactly what I was looking for!  Plus, I was pretty curious myself as to what the female monastic life was like.  I e-mailed the Abbess and we made plans for a summer trip with my two oldest daughters.  

And what a peaceful weekend it was!  The Mothers there were so kind and welcoming.  They had no expectations for us, except to have the respite we desired.  We walked many times through the woods, inspected tombstones, toured the candle making facility, fellowshiped with other Christian sisters, put together puzzles and worshiped God.  

It is truly amazing watching my girls grow up into beautiful young ladies.  I know that raising them is no small task.  I pray that this will be a wonderful new tradition for my girls and me!

My girls with Mother Thecla and Mother Helena

Bricks of beeswax for candles

Candle molds

Where they warm the beeswax and make the candles we use in church

A beautiful meditation spot on one of the trails

Caroline hanging out in the Hermitage house
Makayla relaxing in the Hermitage house

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Adding to the family

It's been quite a while since I've written a blog post, so I thought I would start with our fun news.  Our family will be adding another member in December around Christmas time.  Watch this fun video to find out if it will be a boy or a girl.  Many thanks to my niece for making such a great video!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Kids Everywear Consignment Sale ** My FAVORITE!!

kidseverywear button

I can't lie, consignment shopping can really make my head spin.  All those random clothes stuffed into a little room.  It can be quite overwhelming.  Because of this, I am very picky when it comes to consignment sales.  And of course, I have a system which you can learn about here.  That was 3 years ago and I still follow a system very similar.  And you know what, I still go to the same consignment sale (going on 5 years now). Why?  Because it's well organized, open and easy to walk through.  The staff is friendly and the clothes are plenteous.  I don't feel overwhelmed in a huge loud room because each section of clothes has it's own storefront.    I depend on this sale!  There is no way we could afford to clothe our family without it.  And guess what?  It's coming up soon!  So make sure that you don't miss out on the Kids Everywear Consignment Sale.   Check out to get more information about shopping dates and sale dates (it doesn't get much better than 75% off!!)  They also offer early admission by bringing in gifts for charity.  Who doesn't want to get good deals while helping those less fortunate?  That's a win-win for everybody!  Happy Shopping!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Grandma's Quilt

What do you give to the Grandma that has everything and needs nothing?  A nonagenarian that has lived a full and blessed life that you just want to show some love to?  Why, a meaningful quilt!  
My Grandmother LOVES owls, even way back before owls were cute.  But she doesn't need a bunch of owl stuff. She doesn't cook, so she doesn't need mugs or salt & pepper shakers.  So when I saw some cute owl footprints on Facebook a few months ago, my brain started working.  What I came up with was an owl footprint quilt made by her great-grandchildren.  There are 10 cousins, with some families still growing, so I made a 12 square quilt.  I had each cousin stamp their feet on the color quilt piece their choice (in fabric paint) to make the shape of an owl.  I ended up making a different foot print than the picture I saw, but I think mine is so much cuter!   Each square is cut to 12.5 inches to allow for seams and big kids feet.  I stuck hole protector stickers on their heels when I painted their foot and removed the sticker to stamp them to make the eye holes.  I used fabric markers to make the beaks and the branches, but I'm sure you could even applique some felt too.  

Then I carefully laid them out on the floor to make the right color balance.  I grouped the squares by family and age order, while balancing the amount of colors. So there is no huge pattern since each child chose the color of their square.  

Next I pieced the squares together with some super cute owl fabric I found.  12.5 inch strips on the sides and a long strip on the tops of the squares.  

I quilted the blanket by sewing in the ditches of the squares, so it's not very "quilted."  The fabric on the back is another owl pattern, but with bigger owls and still based in brown.  I finished the quilt of with a red binding that I think really brings it all together.  

Of course, she won't get the quilt until Christmas, but I'm sure she is going to love it.  It will be a great accent piece for her living room!  

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Top 7 Reasons Why I Love Working with my Husband

Let me clarify, I don't actually work with my husband.  My husband is a Nurse on the same unit in the hospital that I work as a Nursing Assistant.  We never work the same shifts, but we do work with all the same patients and co-workers.
Working outside the home has never been a life goal for me.  I have enough to keep me busy at home.  I like it that way.  Josh likes it that way.  But we have goals, and I need some sanity outside of the house.  Thus we came to the agreement that it probably wouldn't hurt for me to get out of the house a little bit and make some money while I was at it.
I knew that teaching wasn't an option for me.
I love children.
I love working with children.
I do not love working in the classroom setting with children, at least not in a paid position.
So we started discussing options.  The decision was made for me to return to school and train to be a CNA. I ended up loving it way more that I thought I would! I applied to many different units at the hospital, got interviews with two units and eventually chose to work on the same unit as my husband.

Side note:  It's probably not wise for all married couples to work together!

So what have I noticed in the past couple of months as a working woman, specifically with my husband?

Here are my top 7 reasons Why I Love Working with my Husband (in no particular order).

1.  It gives me a greater appreciation for his job as a nurse.  My husband is almost a different man at work.  He is organized, smart and manages his time.  He delegates tasks and makes sure he is informed about all the illnesses he deals with.  Not that he's not most of these at he says, "Why would I be when I know you can do it for me!?"  It's neat to see all the hard work that the nurses do everyday and know that this is what my husband has to deal with full time. I understand now!  And I'm sure the same goes for him.  He's an awesome dad, but now he's working even harder at home when I'm away.

2.  It makes logistics easier.  Balancing both his and my schedule can be a little crazy sometimes.  Are we each able to get enough sleep?  Who has the kids?  What's going on this week?  Can I pick up an extra shift?  Everything is all organized in one place, on one team that understands our situation.  We can both check each other's work schedules and easily plan around each other.  It would work out if I was on a different unit, it's just so much easier that we're on the same one.

3.  I'm ok with him working at home.  Before I started working I never really got frustrated when he had to work at home, I mean, not really frustrated....maybe a little....  While it does getting tiring after a while, now I know exactly what's on his plate.  Or at least I have a connection with the patients on the unit, so I know that if he is working at home, that means he's helping the patients, and they mean a lot to me.  And that's ok.

4. We get to work as a team, separately.   Josh and I have not always been known to be the greatest team players. I have to say, being married for 10 years has definitely helped, and having 5 kids.  We've kinda been forced to play nicely or fail.  Working separate shifts allows us to play nicely on the nursing team, but not have the awkwardness of working at the same time.  I mean, what if I messed up?  What if I thought he was a jerk that day?  We don't need that stuff on the unit!  This way none of our home-life baggage is brought to the work site.  Not that we ever disagree...

5.  He keeps my work load balanced.  Anyone who knows me knows that I tend to go head first into things, many times without thinking and most of the time overwhelming myself completely!  Josh knows exactly what my job entails and what is normal for my position.  So he knows when I come home with some crazy idea for something to help with a patient, he can tell me to stop or go ahead with it.  He helps me regulate my work load so that I don't drive myself crazy.  After 10 years of marriage, I trust him.  I know that he's looking out for my best interests.  So if he tells me to calm down or back off, I know I should listen.

6. He helps me problem solve.  Healthcare is a new job area for me.  My degree is in education.  Although Wake Tech absolutely prepared me for my job, there are still minor skills specific to our unit that I am thankful for Josh's wisdom.  He's able to tell me what he's observed other NA's doing that might work well for me.  I am able to ask him specific questions about taking vitals or other basic cares that I know he will give me an honest answer to.  I like my job to be efficient and helpful to the nurses, so it's nice having a nurse at home with me that I can ask questions to make sure I am doing a service for the nurses and not being a hindrance.

7. We have the chance to provide better care for our patients.  That's what it's all about, right? We want our patients to get the best care they can.  Having both the perspective of the nurse and nurse aide, we can both advocate in different areas for the patients.  This results in more complete care.  I think the patients enjoy joking about us at our expense as well, which results in higher morale for the patients, and for that, I don't mind being the butt of jokes!