My Daybook :: June 11, 2012 {It’s Summertime!}

by | Jun 11, 2012 | Daybook | 32 comments

Outside my window…
Is it really summer?  The forecast was finally promising a warm,  sunny day today, but it’s already 3:30 and we’re still waiting…

Oh!  And speaking about outside, I am so mad at the deer!  Yesterday we discovered our very first Pea Pod in the garden.  I went out there this morning, to take a picture, and found that someone had a yummy dinner last night – eating the pod, along with all the tops to the rest of our Sweet Peas – through the fence!  I guess we need to build a fence around the fence?  Or maybe just build some trellises and plant them away from the fence… next year.  This is a learning experience… At least that is what I keep reminding myself!

I am thankful…        
that the deer will not be able to get to the tomato plants!  I am really looking forward to some homegrown tomatoes this summer!

I am thinking… 
about whether or not to host another Online Curriculum Sale Blog Hop. Is anyone interested in participating again this year, and when would be the best time?

Learning all the time… 
Look what we found hanging out (and hardly noticeable) on our burgundy colored front door this morning, when Hubby was heading to work.   He was huge and thankfully he stayed outside and didn’t fly down the hallway, when the door opened!

Before he flew off, and while he was resting on the deck, I snapped this picture for the kids to try and identify.   We are pretty sure that he is a Hyalophora euryalus (Ceanothus silkmoth), maybe?

Living the Liturgical Year at Home… 
I’m really enjoying ordinary time this year!  I was ready for a break from all the daily readings and weekly parties during the Easter season.   Looking at the calendar though, the feast of St. Anthony is coming up in a couple days and I might try to make a special treat for the kids.  They really loved the “Multitude of Fish” Cupcakes we made last year for our Saintly Summer Fun in honor of St. Anthony. And I’m sure I’ll print out the St. Anthony Outdoor Scavenger Hunt too!  I’m also thinking about trying to pack a special treat for the Solemnity Feast of the Sacred Heart on Friday to share at camp.   I’m just not sure what… Maybe Barbara’s cupcakes?

From the kitchen… 
lots of fresh berries, veggies and lean proteins. Oh, and a very tempting bag of s’more supplies that is for our upcoming camping trip!

I am creating… 
End-of-Year Folders, new Summer Bingo Cards, and a Summer Bucket List!  

I am working on… 
packing for this year’s Catholic Family Camp.  I’d say we’ve made pretty good progress so far!

I am going… 
to be listening to the But, but, but… WHAT about GRAMMAR?? webinar this evening, hosted by The Institute for Excellence in Writing.

I am hoping… 
that after listening to the webinar I’ll finally be able to just place my order already!  We’ve already pretty much decided that we will be using the IEW curriculum for most (if not all) of our Language Arts next year.   I just wasn’t impressed with the later levels of Writing With Ease and First Language Lessons that we used this past year, and apparently the boys agree…  Spelling (The Phonetic Zoo from IEW) on the other hand made the “favorite subject” list – for the first time ever – and it really is awesome!   I just wish it wasn’t all so expensive, or that I didn’t want to order practically the whole catalog…

I am reading… 
I haven’t had much time for reading lately, but I have been looking through a beautiful new Catholic Planner, based on the traditional calendar, which I was sent to review.   I’m hoping to share more about it soon!

I am praying… 
for patience and perseverance.

Pondering these words…
from St.Therese of Lisieux:

“The goal of all our undertakings should not be so much a task perfectly completed as the accomplishment of the will of God .”

I am listening…  
to the country station on Pandora playing in the kitchen, the sound of the washing machine in the laundry room, the baby’s swing swaying back and forth, and Chiquita reading a picture book to Snuggles and Rose on the porch so she can earn another sticker for this week’s Summer Bingo card!  I love summertime!

Around the house… 
I worked on sorting through the big girls clothing this past weekend, packing up all the size 6 clothes that are now too small for Chiquita and passing down the size 7’s and some of the 8’s from Twinkle Toes.  No wonder they were having such a hard time finding outfits and cleaning their room, with clothes ranging from size 6-10 jammed in their few drawers.   It feels so nice to have that done!

One of my favorite things…  
seeing the scale go down as I try and lose all this post-partum pregnancy weight, and moving gemstones from one jar to the other!  (I’ve seen this idea all over online.) Each little gem represents a 1/2 pound that I have lost, and the gold ones are for every five pounds.  Yes, I still have a long ways to go, but I’ve already lost 14 1/2 pounds since the end of April!   It’s a start!!

A few plans for the week…

  • Try and find the time to walk on the treadmill, or outside, each day
  • Visit the Library
  • Try and respond to some more emails – I’m behind again! 
  • Drop off Donations at St. Vincent de Paul’s
  • Celebrate the Feast of St. Anthony on June 13th
  • Start planning Snuggles birthday which is next week, already! 
  • Attend Catholic Family Camp – a local camp with a wonderful priest and brother from the Father’s of Mercy! 
  • Celebrate the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart
  • Celebrate Father’s Day

A little peek at my day…

Assembling a Puzzle for her Summer Bingo Card 


  1. Nadja

    We love IEW! It turned my reluctant writer into someone whose passion is writing. Expensive, yes, but as far as I'm concerned, it was worth every penny.

    And I am curious: which of the priests and brothers from the Fathers of Mercy will be at Catholic Family Camp? We go to Mass at the Chapel of Divine Mercy (their generalate) and were last week at their ordinations.

  2. Jessica Gordon

    I just finished listening to the webinar! It was great! Now I just need to finalize my order. 🙂

    Our Retreat Master will be Father Joseph Aytona, and Br. Adrian will also be coming to help and lead the children's classes. I haven't met either of them, but I am sure they will be wonderful! You are so blessed to have them in your area!

  3. Jamie Jo

    Way to go on the weight loss!!!! I've lost 11 since the end of April….didn't do anything though the 2 weeks around Sim's surgery.

    Love the idea of a bead for each 1/2 pound….looks like so much more!!

    Have a great time at camp!!

  4. Jessica Gordon

    Good job Jamie!!

    Yes, it does look like a lot more, doesn't it! And it is so much more motivating. Originally I was going to just use one for each pound, but sometimes it takes me so long to go down just a 1/2 pound that I thought it might help keep me a little more motivated. Plus my scale is a digital one and works in 1/2 pound increments. 🙂

  5. Grace Hincapie

    Great post Jessica! I am thinking of doing the Summer Bingo with our family this year.
    Fr. Joseph Aytona is giving a retreat in our area the Wednesday following the camp that I will be attending, I am so excited!

    (I love the pink floral looking backpack.)

  6. Jessica Gordon

    That is great! Who is coordinating the retreat near you?

    The pink floral backpack is Twinkle Toes'. She won/choose it as a prize at the St. Anthony's Festa last year! She loves all things pink, and it's a bonus if they are covered with flowers. I guess she takes after me! 🙂

  7. Heather

    Congrats on the weight loss – I'm working on that too. I'm trying to sell a few things on ebay right now, but would love to join your curriculum blog hop again this year.

    I am starting to get interested in IEW. I have a reluctant reader & writer, but that's mostly due to Asperger's & ADHD. Also, since I have, unfortunately, found myself a single parent, I don't know if I could ever afford it.

  8. Collette

    Love your summer bingo cards – such a fun idea!

    I've been looking into the IEW curriculum for my family's lang. arts next year, too…it looks wonderful to me, but I've been a little intimidated by the seminars/amount of teaching instruction that comes with the program! I was interested to read that your family has been using it (and that your boys enjoyed it!) – do you mind my asking if it was easy/difficult to use/teach?

  9. Jessica Gordon

    I'm so sorry to hear that! I will say a prayer for you and your family! I wonder how hard it is to find the IEW materials used, and if they are discounted much. Perhaps that would be an option? My oldest (and possibly my 2nd) has/had an auditory processing disorder, which has made all Lang. Arts especially difficult. I'm really curious to see how this program will work for him!

  10. Grace Hincapie

    Our Lady of Peace Retreat House in Beaverton Oregon is putting the woman's retreat together.

  11. Jessica Gordon

    The Summer Bingo really is a lot of fun, and a great way to motivate kids! 🙂

    We have only been using the Spelling Program from IEW this past year – The Phonetic Zoo – and it has been a perfect fit for our family. We had been using All About Spelling (and still are for the little ones, since The Phonetic Zoo is for 3rd grade and up), but I just didn't have the time to keep up with all the kids at so many different levels. I really needed something that took less preparation and could be completed independently. I couldn't have hoped for a better program!

  12. Megan @ The Ipps

    Yea to getting fit and healthy! We're switching over to a Paleo way of life (meat with lots of vegetables and fruit, w/ some nuts). I am having a difficult time getting fit and just feeling great again after my fourth Baby (who just turned 4 months). Cutting grains and dairy has really helped me feel better. I haven't weighed myself since Cabbage Patch was born, but keep trying on all my skirts that still don't fit. At least, there is sunshine finally here in Alaska. It feels great to get out and walk with the kids.
    The highs where we live remind me more of Spring or Fall in the lower 48, especially the midwest area. It hasn't gotten above the 60's yet and the heat kicks on at night.
    Have a wonderful time at camp. I too would be interested (know other moms too) in a swap.

  13. Megan @ The Ipps

    So…I just checked my e-mail and read a long, but good post called Sustainable Weight Loss on a Paleo Diet. Even if you are not going Paleo, etc. it had some really good points about weight loss.

    I've really enjoyed Mark's Daily Apple ( He has interesting, insightful articles about healthy living, exercising, understanding what's in our food, and how to get fit.

    Sorry to bombard you! I wanted to share, because it's helped me a lot.

  14. Nadja

    My daughter Una has a great friendship with Fr. Joseph, as we befriended him when he was a homesick novice! He and his brother, Fr. Jewel Aytona actually demonstrated break dancing at an Assumption Picnic years ago, and my son Gabe cut in:

  15. Collette

    Okay, that is very encouraging! We've been using AAS, too (lol!), which we enjoy…but less prep/independent learning is what I'm looking for, as well, with my older kids. Maybe I will have to check out those webinars! 😉 Thanks!!

    Have a great week! (sounds like a fun one!)

  16. Jodi

    Hi Jessica!

    I would definitely be interested in the Curriculum Swap. Anytime is fine with me. I've also had my eye on IEW but have hesitated because of the price. There have been so many times where I've spend a lot of money on curriculum and then didn't use it… but maybe if I can sell some things at the swap, I can buy some IEW products! :)Thanks for offering to do that even though you have such a busy schedule. Enjoy your trip!


  17. Jennifer Gregory Miller

    Congrats on the continuing weight loss! What is your secret? My "baby" is 4 years old and I still haven't lost the baby weight! It's so slow going.

    I sympathize more with Mr. MacGregor. Did you know rabbits love marigolds? We just put our fence around our beds.

  18. Anonymous

    Sorry about the peapods!! My stepdad used to hang something from oold pantyhouse near the roses to keep them away, I wish i could remember what it was!!

    I have been trying to go through my girls clothes too. It is crazy how many sizes I found in there. I knew it had to be done when I asked someone to dress Sweet Pea and she came out with a size 3-6 month onsie! I don't know hoe that got in her drawer!!

    Congrats on the babyweight! I am with you. Only 5 lbs though, sigh. I think it will be slow for me but just keep swimming!

    Father's Day? What? Seriously? ACK! Already??

  19. Anonymous

    Oh, what did you think of the grammar thing??

  20. Jessica Gordon

    It was so awesome to be able to listen the the webinar! It all made so much sense too… We are definitely going to try the Fix-It! Grammar program for the 3 oldest next year. I think they will all work on the first level together. It sounds like it should only take 5-10 minutes each day. I still haven't placed my order, but hopefully I'll have a chance this afternoon… I am dying to actually get the materials and be able to look through them.

  21. Jessica Gordon

    I didn't know that about marigolds! I planted the ones that my children gave me for Mother's Day and they were all completely eaten down to the ground, but the Pansy's, which were right next to them, were fine. I thought it was bugs at first, but now you have me wondering if a rabbit got though the garden gate!

    As for the weight loss — I've been trying to walk on the treadmill as much as possible. Some weeks I walk 20+ miles and this last week it was only 2. I have a tendency to try and push myself (run) too hard and then have to take a break to let my legs (knees or ankles) recover.

    I also have been reading a book called The 17 Day Diet. Since I am still nursing I am not following all the "cycles" as indicated, but I am using it as a guideline. I've been drinking hot water with a half of lemon when I first get up in the morning, green tea a few times each day, and tons of water. As for food I am eating up to 2 eggs each day and tons of fish, chicken or turkey, unlimited veggies (though not the starchy ones), 2 servings of fruit (usually an apple or pear at breakfast, and a cup of berries in a smoothie for a snack) before 2 pm, 2 servings of probiotics (kefir and greek yogurt – kefir in my smoothie and greek yogurt for a snack), 2-3 TBS of oils (olive oil for dressings and flax oil on salad or in smoothie), and if I do have any grains I try and have them before 2 in the afternoon. (Here is a list from the diet for the first cycle.) I do "cheat" and am not too worried about that since I'm still nursing… I did have a donut and a Mocha after Mass on Sunday – but only one, and the coffee was small. When Hubby brought home pizza I did have a small square, but not 2-3 like I would in the past. I have noticed that I am a big binge eater and am really working on when I want something to just have 3 bites and not the whole box/bag! 😉 I'm also trying to come up with alternative treats – like frozen grapes and smoothie popsicles – to help with the ice cream cravings! So far I've been really impressed with the "diet". I decided to read the book after seeing the results of another online friend. You can read her post here.

  22. Jessica Gordon

    I can totally relate! I, too, have spent a lot of money on curriculum that I didn't use – or didn't use enough – and that is why I have been so hesitant to place an order. 🙂 I'll keep you all posted on the swap, it sounds like there is plenty of interest!

  23. Jessica Gordon

    Thanks for the link! I'll have to check out that article! I tried the Paleo diet for about a month, when I was eliminating all grains, sugar, and dairy – and trying to figure out what the baby was sensitive to back in February. It was going okay until lent began and then all the kids were sick while hubby was out of town. At that point I added back in the grains and sugars and I quickly regained the 5 pounds I had lost and then some. I'm finding that I am really awful at cutting out whole groups of foods, and much better at really limiting them – like having one piece of healthy whole grain/seed bread with my egg in the morning, or some greek yogurt with berries as a snack… I also was probably eating way too many nuts on the Paleo diet. 🙂 They were probably what was slowing down the weight loss for me on Paleo!

  24. Jennifer Elia

    If you plant hot pepper plants (like jalapenos, cayennes, anything spicy) either spaced around the perimeter of a garden or even among your flowers, the deer will leave them alone. My mother has a herd of deer that show up every night. One summer, when I was a teenager I decided to plant some hot pepper plants with the tomatoes and basil, like my grandmother always did. There was one nibble out of one of the peppers and nothing was ever touched again–it actually took a couple of years for anything to be nibbled again. I guess they spread the word and told their friends—LOL. My gardening woes are beetles and slugs which this daily rain is not helping:(

    Ps You can sprinkle around hot pepper flakes or spray plants with slightly diluted hot sauce and it will work as well.

  25. noreen

    Hi Jessica, you've been a busy mama! Your Holy Simplicity calendar is visually very pretty! I will check out your links today. Congrats on the weight loss and enjoy Catholic Camp! If you have time, please feel free to join us in the Feast of the Sacred Heart link up at

  26. CeAnne @ Sanctus Simplicitus

    I think a curriculum swap sounds lovely! I'm sure I could find something around here that needs a new home 🙂 I wouldn't mind browsing the others myself! Thanks for sharing our planner and may God bless all of your endeavors! You sure seem to accomplish a lot! You must a wonderful plan in place, some day I hope you share it with us all!

  27. Kelly

    Great job on the weight loss, Jessica! I love the idea of using the gem stones as a incentive visual.

  28. melody

    We love IEW and I will be placing next year's order very soon. I have a lot of confidence when ordering with them because we have enjoyed every single thing we've purchased. Lovely post… so much to celebrate!

  29. Casey

    My kids love summer bingo thanks to your post a few years back! Would you be able to upload your new version?

    Congrats on your weightloss! I'm down 30 lbs since Easter doing a version of the paleo. It's hard but I feel so much better for it.

  30. Jessica Gordon

    I'm glad your kids are enjoying summer bingo! We are going to be really busy with swimming lessons every day, but I will try and upload the new version sometime this week!

    And great job on your weightloss! That is awesome!!

  31. JenniferM

    May I second the request for your summer bingo cards file? I should make one of these for my six-year-old and "stealing" your ideas makes life so much easier! : )


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Hi! I'm Jessica, a Roman Catholic wife and home educating mother to our nine children. I was home educated myself, along with my eleven younger siblings. I have a special devotion to St. Therese, through whom I have been given much help and many blessings--the beautiful "Shower of Roses" that she has sent my way! Here I will record a few of the blessings I treasure. Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

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