Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Five new-to-me blogs I'm loving right now.

- 1 -
Anna from The Heart's Overflow has a wonderful series of 31 things she learned from her parents. I found her after reading her wonderful Blessed Is She devotion and ended up reading through all the posts in her series. You should too, and then subscribe to her sweet blog - it's really well done.

- 2 -
Amanda was one of the bloggers I was able to meet at the Edel Conference. Her blog is beautiful and I love her writing - like a friend sharing her life with you. So much good: Erring on the Side of Love.

 - 3 -
Olivia writes from Australia and fills her blog with lush, gorgeous pictures. I don't remember how I came across her site but I love it: The Magic and the Mundane.

- 4 -
Seashell Nell - who first told me about her blog? Was it a Mary? Maybe a Mary. Anyways, I really enjoy reading her blog. She comes from a close, fun, Polish, Catholic family and she often writes about their adventures (like literal "Let's walk The Way of St. James together!" adventures). She is also a single Catholic woman I like reading her perspective. 

- 5 -
Now, I know that Mary told me about Graceful Living {at Home}. You guys! Jennifer's story is amazing and heartbreaking and beautiful. Her pictures are gorgeous and I really love her posts about her home and decorating, and the way she brings her faith into it all.

Linking up with Jenna for her Five Favorites.

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!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bennet and James' first days of school

Remember waaaaay back in late summer when all the kids went back to school? All the moms posted pictures of their kids on the first day of school.

I did that for Lydia, except I totally messed up and marked that she was a second grader instead of a first grader. Oops.

I never did it for James, who began school the week after Lydia. Double oops.

Nor did I do it for Bennet, who began the week after James. Triple oops.

So here I am, trying to make up for past mistakes.

James was so excited for his first day of school (pre-school at the local public school so he can continue his speech therapy services). His brother and sisters kept talking about the bus (the bus!) and so he was excited too. Even though it was a new district and classroom for him, he seemed really pumped.

For some reason my camera fogged up, but that didn't stop me from getting a group picture. Look at how happy they are! The bus! The bus! James gets to ride the bus!

 And then the bus came and James realized he had to get ON the bus and LEAVE - ALONE!

I could hear him screaming as they drove away. :(

The next day I didn't stand and wave, just walked him to the bus, said good-bye and walked away. He still cried. The next day I asked him if he wanted to take flowers to his teacher and he loved that idea. For weeks we would pick flowers from our landscaping and, clutching them tightly, he would climb the steps of the bus with a huge, proud smile on his face and not even a hint of fear.

I'm so glad we ripped out those bushes and planted flowers.

The week after James started was Bennet's first day of Pre-K4 at our parish's school. After having his brother and sister go off to school every day without him for a whole year, he was ready. He was pumped!

We did the first day of school questionnaire and I love his answers.

Poor little boy, boat building is not a part of the curriculum.

But he has learned so much. Both my boys have. They are having so much fun and they love school.
It's such a delight to see my boys thrive.

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!

Sunday, October 26, 2014


I am really excited for two upcoming speaking engagements I have in Minnesota. If you live in the area I would love to meet you!

On Friday, November 14th I'll be speaking at Holy Spirit Academy's Harvest Banquet at The Crown Room in Rogers, MN. I am really excited to be at their fundraiser. Holy Spirit Academy is a private high school in the Catholic intellectual tradition offering an integrated college preparatory curriculum. The school's Christ-centered approach to education fosters an environment grounded in the Truth, which prepares students for a life at the service of others. Holy Spirit Academy strives to help students realize their purpose, instilling in them confidence to enrich the current culture.

So basically, if HSA was in central Illinois it would be where I'd send my kids.
To learn more information or purchase tickets go here. And do it before October 27th to save $25!

The following morning, Saturday, November 15th I will be speaking at a Morning of Renewal at St. Michael Catholic Church in St. Michael, MN beginning at 8am. For more information you can contact St. Michael's.

If you're planning on coming please let me know and then be sure to say HI at the event. Also, if any of you are Holy Spirit Academy families give a shout out. HSA sounds like a dream come true of a high school and I'd love to learn more about your experience there.

And finally, what should I plan on wearing in Minnesota in mid November? Should I plan on snow? How does this work?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Interview on Hungry for More show

We're coming up on two months that Venerable Sheen's cause for canonization has been closed. To talk about the cause, James' miracle, and even a little bit about the good ole blog, I was a guest on the Hungry for More show, which is hosted by Al Smith from the Fiat Ministry Network in Canada.

The show was a lot of fun to do and I'm so glad Al had me on.

PS - If you want to write a letter you can find addresses and more information here.

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

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!