Tuesday, October 21, 2014

It's Craft Sale Season, People! Bring it!

This past weekend I attended a craft sale and intentionally left my wallet at home. We don't have cash to spend on anything but groceries and gas and while I found some really awesome stuff none of it was groceries or gas. I did collect some business cards and looked my favorites up online. I thought I'd share them and a couple other awesome crafters with you today. 

- 1 - 
My friend Alicia makes the. most. adorable bows. Oh my gosh I could gobble them up! You can check them out at Polka Dot Boulevard's FB page and oogle and oogle because: how do you deny the cute?

- 2 -
Speaking of bows: I saw the cutest, greatest thing - a bow board made by Anna and Cindy, the ladies behind Bowlicious. There was a super great My Little Pony one that I wanted to buy for my girls' so, so badly. 

- 3 -
Angie is the woman behind Simply Grace Designs and she had some really beautiful necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. She's just starting her website so there's not a lot of pictures online of her handmade goods, but I loved these earrings.

- 4 - 
I've talked about my friend Katie a whole heck of a lot. She's the one who created the Halloween catechesis book for me, helps me make all my kids' birthday invitations, and created the Sheen curriculum. She also works with two of her friends on a project called [Un]common Workbasket. I'm not sure which of the three made these headbands but I am enamored. Which one do I even like the most? I don't know. How do you decide?!

- 5 -
I learned about Her Bunnies Three from a This Inspired Life podcast. So technically this one isn't at a craft sale in my neck of the woods, but I still had to share it. Oh my goodness. Can you even handle the the adorableness?

Linking up with Jenna at Call Her Happy for Five Favorites.

Chugly Cookies

No matter where your kids attend school - at home, parochial school, public school, charter school - at the end of the day there's nothing better than an after-school snack*.

A few years ago Deme shared a recipe for Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies as one of her family's favorites for a snow day. Despite how not good they looked I tried the recipe, because I am a huge fan of Deme's and want to be like her when I grow up. 

People: shut the front door - they are so good! They are easily in the top two of my husband's favorite cookies of all time.

I renamed them Chugly Cookies because they're Chocolate and Ugly and I think it sounds more exciting than Chocolate Oatmeal.

You can get the recipe here.

PS - If you don't want the cinnamon in them it can be omitted but we like the extra layer of flavor it gives the Chugly.

*I'm talking about for YOU! I mean, the you can share with the kids but let's get you some chocolate! Stat!

If you're new here, stick around! You can follow A Knotted Life on Bloglovin' or Feedly.
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Saturday, October 18, 2014

9 More Reasons You Should NOT Homeschool

Maybe you saw the post that listed off 9 Reasons You Should NOT Homeschool. It kept popping up in different feeds I follow and so I eventually read it, even though I already know all the reasons we're not homeschooling.

Now, I am 100% sure the author is a lovely, warm, kind woman. But most of her nine reasons really rubbed me the wrong way.  I think that Jen and I would agree on the bottom line on most of her reasons. However, as someone who has very happily chosen traditional school for my kids, I wanted to rephrase her wording to better represent the reasons why my husband and I made the decision we did to not homeschool.

So here goes, nine more, or slightly different reasons you should NOT homeschool:

1. She said: You are bound and determined to recreate school at home.
I say: You know you cannot recreate school at home. Your twelve years in a traditional classroom were wonderful, filled with dynamic teachers, a wide variety of friends and acquaintances, and many opportunities. You know that some of those can be recreated in a homeschooling environment but some of them are very specific and unique to a traditional school setting. You want to offer that same, unique experience to your kids.

2. She said: You aren't willing to step out of your comfort zone.
I say: You know your strengths and your weaknesses; you understand your temperament and you know that, while you like a challenge, homeschooling is not what's best for you, your kids, or your family.

3. She said: You don’t like to learn new things.
I say: You are interested in educating and building up your children, family, and community through traditional school.

4. She said: You don’t want to be an active participant in your children’s education.
I say: As a parent you are obviously the first and primary teacher of your children, especially in the most important things. You want to be an active participant in your children's education but you also don't want to be the only one. You respect teachers, their educations, and the incredibly special skill set, passion, and talent that they possess. You believe that your children benefit from being with such professionals.

5. She said: You don’t like to be in charge.
I say: You know that, in the end, you are always in charge of your children. Others may guide, educate, and discipline your children, and you are happy to work with them to give your child the best. You also understand that if traditional school is not working for your child then, because you are in charge, you will change the situation for the benefit of your child.

6. You are homeschooling to please someone else.
I say: Totally agree with her there!

7. She said: You lack perseverance.
I say: You're in a rough season of life. If you already feel overwhelmed, maxed out, or stretched too thin then this is probably not the best time to add educating all of your children at home to your list of things to do. Sometimes all you can do is survive, not plan chemistry labs and correct handwriting.

8. Homeschooling is an experiment.
Once again, I agree. I have a lot of respect for homeschoolers and I know it takes a lot of work. Giving it a go for kicks and giggles, or because you know other homeschoolers, or because it's the trendy thing to do is not a good idea. Homeschooling should come with a conviction and a desire.

9. You don’t like things to get messy.
I say: Life can be messy, especially with kids. Going back to #2, if you know that you need more order and less clutter and chaos then traditional school is likely a better fit.

She said: Homeschooling is about so much more than math lessons. Homeschooling is when learning and life collide, and that’s a good thing.
I say: Education is about so much more than math lessons. Education is when learning and life collide, and that's a good thing.

Now, to the moms who are considering homeschooling and trying to find the balance, weigh the options, and make the right decision. To you I want to say this:

If you choose to homeschool that is great. Homeschooling is a fantastic option. Good for you for knowing what's best and for making that leap. I support you and I believe in you! You can do this and you will be awesome!

If you choose to not homeschool it's not because you are too lazy, stupid, or stubborn. It's not because you lack the right virtues. It's not because you're not a good enough mom or that you don't enjoy your kids enough.

You are good enough.

You have enough; you do enough; you are enough.

You are more than enough.

If you choose not to homeschool it's because it's the best decision for your family and don't let anyone else make you think otherwise.

If you're new here, stick around! You can follow A Knotted Life on Bloglovin' or Feedly.
Plus, I'd love to connect with you. You can find me on InstagramPinterest, and Facebook. I hope to "meet" you soon!

Friday, October 17, 2014

7QT - a Schubert apology, a wedding, a vague prayer request, and a new business

So many thanks to Jen at Conversion Diary for always hosting.

 1 - Thank you to all the women and the one man who took my reader survey. To that one man, I'd love to bake you cookies. To everyone, the information you gave me was so helpful and I am really grateful. I'll be sharing all the insights with you soon!

One of my favorite parts of the survey was when we discussed music. It seems about one third of the people who read my blog think I have the best taste in music ever. One third of my readers don't really care about music and could take or leave my suggestions. And one third hate with the fiery intensity of fifteen suns the music I listen to.

My responses are:
1 - Yay! Let's geek out about music together!
2 - Alright.
3 - I am so sorry. Please accept as this gorgeous rendition of Schubert's Ave Maria as an apology gift. And I hope I'm not still missing the mark completely.

2 - Last weekend Travis and I went to a Newman wedding. Never heard of a Newman wedding? Well, a Newman  Center is a Catholic college or university student center. A Newman wedding is therefore when someone from the Newman Center gets married. All the Newman gang is invited and it is a blast. I was active in Newman ministry when I was a college student and I then worked at a Newman Center for two years, which is how I met Travis. Our wedding was a Newman wedding, as were many of our best friends'. Newman weddings always have dancing, drinking, laughing, and - if they involve me and our friend Nick - debates on whether or not a good Catholic can vote for Obama.

Some of my Newman friends I'm able to see on a regular basis, some I usually only see at Newman weddings (or showers!), but no matter how much time has gone by we can always pick the conversation up right where we left it off.

Congrats, Kate and Chris!

3 - Speaking of married life, Jenny's posts on the Catholic Church's teachings on sex and marriage have been amazing. I hope you're reading them and if you're not then START!

4 - Joseph has entered the stage in babyhood wherein he is constantly climbing on tables. I hate this stage. Nothing is safe and I'm not even talking about the risk of him falling off the table. Food, drink, decorations, books, paperwork, crayons - anything is up for his grubby little hands to grab.

5 - I have been loving the This Inspired Life podcasts. Have you been listening along too?

6 - In an obnoxious vagueness I'm going to ask you all to say a prayer for an upcoming doctor's appointment I have this coming Wednesday. I am not pregnant and it's nothing super serious like cancer, but it is important and it's something that needs to be figured out by my GP and myself.

7 - Recently I've been helping some bloggers, giving them some simple tips and tricks that result in fresher looking, easier to use, more inviting blogs. This has grown into a part time job and I'd love to work with you to pinpoint simple changes that can grow your readership, make your blog better, and all the while stay true to your style.

All the details of what a consultation consists of can be found by clicking here, or on the Blog Consulting tab at the top of my page. I hope we can work together!

If you're new here, stick around! You can follow A Knotted Life on Bloglovin' or Feedly.
Plus, I'd love to connect with you. You can find me on InstagramPinterest, and Facebook. I hope to "meet" you soon!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Celebrate St. John Paul the Great's Feast Day

St. John Paul the Great's feast day is coming up on October 22nd. Here's some fun ways to celebrate.

I don't know why the thumbnail isn't working but the video should...

For more ideas and resources you can:
Check out Melody's Pope Cake recipe. It was JPII's favorite dessert and all of Poland now affectionately calls them Pope Cakes. I had some while in Poland and they were super duper good.
Chris has a recipe for it, too, along with some other great links.
And Mary does, too!

Now if, unlike me, you want to make homemade, from scratch pierogies, here's a recipe.

And finally, let's dance!

PS - This song actually makes me cry.

"Perhaps I love you more."

If you're new here, stick around! You can follow A Knotted Life on Bloglovin' or Feedly.
Plus, I'd love to connect with you. You can find me on InstagramPinterest, and Facebook. I hope to "meet" you soon!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A woman's maternity through the lens of child or pregnancy loss

Because today is set aside to honor all our little babes who have been lost as infants or through miscarriage I wanted to share this post that I originally wrote while fresh in my grief of having lost Peter Mark in December 2007.

I recently received the Sisters of Life's Winter 2007 newsletter. The entire thing is about adoption and one of the articles shares their thoughts about adoption.

Despite the fact that they are speaking of women who place their babies with adoptive families, some of their comments struck me as a woman grieving a miscarried baby. Three points in particular were especially affirming and poignant:

Maternity is forever. Once a woman is pregnant, her maternity can never be given away. She will always be a mother. There will never be a day in her life when she is ever, in her mind, someone who does not have a child. She is a mother and that is forever... One lives her motherhood all the days of her life. She knows how old her child is, always. She may not have seen the child in years - it has not affected one iota of her maternity and the reality of her active motherhood, which is real.

This statement describes how I feel about our first child. As Peter Mark's due date approaches (Jan 15th) I think about how big I would be at this point. While most other people do not think of our first, I think of him every day. I wonder about his personality, how he would have looked. I picture his fingers and toes and potbelly. I imagine holding and nursing him. And I wonder how one "mothers" someone who is experiencing life in the fullest.

She needs a lot of support, to be loved, to experience her own goodness. She needs to have others delight in her so that she can draw upon those deep reservoirs of goodness within herself. She needs love and laughter and distractions in her worries. And she needs lots of time. She may need to cry her eyes out for months. And we need to be comfortable with that.

I have found this to be very true. Not that I want to forget the pain, but I definitely do not want to be alone. Working on the house has been a blessing in disguise as it brings friends and family to us every weekend. Seldom do I speak of how I'm really feeling to these people - sometimes because it would be awkward and sometimes because it's just not needed - but it is good to chat, catch up and laugh with people. And it does feel good to be loved and cared about so that people will give up their Saturdays for us.

She will live the long loneliness, really, of experiencing and knowing a love that she cannot express, but it is not the absence of love.
This is probably the worst part of it all. I know how to love my husband, family, friends and the baby in my womb. But I don't know how to love this saint child of mine. At this point, the only thing I can do to communicate my love for him is by crying. Which I suppose is sufficient.

If you have lost a baby please know that I am praying for you and holding you close. If you have a specific request related to infertility or child loss you can share it with me here and I would be honored to pray for you in memory of my son. 

If you are looking for ways to support a miscarrying mother, here's the list of things I found helpful.

If you are wondering why I am pained when people tell me that my son died because "God needed another angel," you can read my thoughts here

If you're new here, stick around! You can follow A Knotted Life on Bloglovin' or Feedly.

Plus, I'd love to connect with you. You can find me on InstagramPinterest, and Facebook. I hope to "meet" you soon!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What to do with Mom Hair?

A lot of women I know chopped their hair off the moment they became a mom.

Not me. My husband prefers my hair long, and so do I really. But I still like having my hair out of my face and off my neck as I change diapers, wash dishes, play on the floor, and snuggle my kiddos. Top knot buns, French twists, various braids, messy buns - these have become some of my favorite ways to wear my hair as I've searched for ways to keep my hair back but not resort to a standard ponytail day after day.

I was delighted then, when my friend Mandi introduced me to one of her favorite things; Lilla Rose flexi bands. After snooping around her her site for a bit I saw there were so many ways I could change up the looks I'm already doing and I knew I wanted to try it.

Folks, I've love it. The one I picked out is simple, elegant, pretty, incredibly well made, and incredibly versatile. I've worn it on schleppy days and on put-together days. I've worn it to school pick up, Mass, weddings, and the grocery store. I've used it as a giant bobbi pin, as a ponytail holder, and even as an accent near a bun. Too cute.

Now if I could just learn to French braid my own hair...

So I'm wondering: Did you cut your hair short when you had kids? And if you still have long or longish hair how do you like to wear it? 

Also, can we all say a collective "ugh!" for the postpartum bald spots? 

PS - You can check out all the Lilla Rose flexi styles here and if you'd like to get in touch with Mandi you can visit (and Like!) her Facebook page and get some inspiration on Instagram.

If you're new here, stick around! You can follow A Knotted Life on Bloglovin' or Feedly.
Plus, I'd love to connect with you. You can find me on InstagramPinterest, and Facebook. I hope to "meet" you soon!