"Do not yield to discouragement in the face of difficulties and do not abandon yourselves to false solutions which often seem the easiest way to overcome problems. Do not be afraid to make a commitment, to face hard work and sacrifice, to choose the paths that demand fidelity and constancy, humility and dedication. Be confident in your youth and its profound desires for happiness, truth, beauty and genuine love! Live fully this time in your life so rich and so full of enthusiasm."
"Let us look with greater hope to the future; let us encourage one another on our journey."
~ Papa Benedict XVI

Sunday, December 26

Merry Christmas!

And Snow! i mean....we got snow!
Pictures to come, but the kds were outside after breakfast with thier uncle and a friend.  They headed across the street to sled in the neighbors' yard and ended with a snowman - actually, they built two! 

We were sure to get a light snow but the predictions kept getting higher as the day went on yesterday.  For NC any snow is a big deal but we had about 3 inches this morning and it has continued to fall steadily since then.  Don't know what we are up to but its definintely enough to sled, make snow angels and snowmen!


Thursday, December 23

Eternal rest, grant unto him, O Lord,

and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.

Lance Cpl. William H. Crouse IV, 22, of Woodruff, S.C., died Dec. 21 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Monday, December 20

A Beautiful Sight

This is what happens when you bring a stack of books home from the library....

Saturday, December 18

Chemistry is cool!

Yes, i was the one who avoided chemistry like the plague while in High School. Chemistry and Calculus - ugh! But now, well....it might have been fun....

B. was doing several experiments today and i decided to observe one (Cory usually does them with him.); boy did  I picked a good one!

It was showing the difference between chemical change and physical change. The physical change part was simple - place the beaker of water in the freezer.  Water changes to ice.  It expands. no big deal.  The chemical change part though - well....we'll just show you!


the blue stuff....

the egg...

He placed the egg in the blue stuff.  As you can see, the calcium from the egg shell reacted with the chemical in the blue stuff ....

A bit of a time lapse...2 minutes....

Then he tried to retrieved the egg....

But wait....there's more! :  ) (this is my favorite part!)

Tuesday, December 14

Family Traditions

Today I visited my friend's blog. She wrote a post about her Nona that reminded me of my family. She mentions cookies that her Nona made every year only at Christmas and i commented about how i remember growing up, at Christmas time; mom would sometimes make a similar cookie for my grandfather. I sent Jude the recipe but it got me thinking more about the traditions that carry on through the years and generations.

My husband and i both bring family traditions that are well loved and cherished. Sometimes it hard to meld both parents' traditions, but wanting to continue these, you try to find a way. Last year my brother and his wife were discussing Christmas and St. Nicholas, including his feast day. As kids we (my siblings and i) did not really celebrate St. Nick's feast day but as adults we have both felt it a good tradition to start with our own children (i am not sure if his wife's family celebrated it but my husband's did not.) It was nice to see them discussing these things and working through what they felt was best for their young, growing family. It’s neat to see the older traditions continued, but to know too that we still have room to create our own new ones...ones that we may even get to share with our own siblings and their children as the years go by.

These past 2 years have really made us look at what is most important in life....When you are living in someone else's home, when many of the things you take for granted every day as yours and you use them whenever you wish disappear, when you're trying to stay out the way and be non-intrusive (quite a feat for a family of 7!) things get left behind, or are just not able to be done. You really need to decide 'how important is the craft, food making, and such at the very end?' Since we have been unemployed and without a home of our own, we have cut back on many of the feast day celebrations, but we still discuss them, read a story or color a picture, but it is all done much more simply. For Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter, we still carry with us those older family traditions, and it is such a joy to know wherever we are, and whomever we happen to be with, we will continue those simple, old (and a few new) traditions that quite simply define our year, our faith and our life.

 Anywhere you are you can leave out your shoes for St. Nicholas. There should always be hope and joy in the simple things. An Advent Wreath is a simple reminder of the season and what it is all about...waiting, preparing, looking forward. Christmas is celebrated not for the gifts we give each other but for the greatest gift we have ever received. As you consider the sacrifices you make during this time of year, remember the ultimate sacrifice that God made for us.

It’s not how many gifts do i have to buy, how many cookies do we have to bake, it’s not about not having enough, or having too much... its about celebrating life, and love, and sacrifice. The traditions help us focus, but the gift would be there with or without them. For that we are truly grateful.

Advent 2007

Advent 2008

Christmas Eve 2008

Christmas Day 2008

Christmas 2009 at Papa and Nina's

Tuesday, December 7

what we've been up to.....

Well, its been a while since i've written so i could ramble on all night but i will spare you... here is a 'quick' run down of what we've done recently -

swing making

arranging flowers and serving tea

baking, baking, baking....

our FLL project

a bit of a bump...

visiting friends

Lansdale, PA - FLL practice tournament

Geocaching in MD

leaf blowing...and jumping!

geocaching in NC

just having fun!

Saturday, November 20

Book Give Away Winner!

Congratuations to Adrienne from Texas!! 

And thank you to everyone who entered!

Saturday, November 13


Today someone stole from our children.  Yep, you read that right. 

And it makes me sad.

Today, after the kids came in for lunch, someone walked into the garage and stole 3 bikes.  Ladybug's, Bear's, and T.'s.  It was a bit of a surreal thing.  They went out after quiet-time and came back in saying "my bike is gone....."  Shock pretty much summed it up.  They ran around the house, and along the street ...thinking maybe one of them or grandpa had moved the bikes for some reason....but no.  they were gone.

Daddy and i went out with them (in shock too, really) and we saw down the street a bike on the side of the road.  It was Ladybug's.  The streamers were pulled off the handle bars and the bike had basically been dumped, but otherwise it was in fine shape.  Daddy and R.B. walked further up the road in that direction.  I took the younger 2 (Ladybug and Bear) and headed around the block.  Grandpa and T. hopped in the car and drove down streets ... for several blocks.  Nothing.

Amazing.  On a Saturday afternoon, in broad daylight....

As we 'investigated' more we learned the girls on the corner had had their scooter stolen last week ...and they had seen a guy riding it twice since then!  And the young man across the road from us said his friend, on the next street over, told him they had 6 bikes stolen from their garage while the family was out to dinner a couple of weeks ago.

About a month and a half ago someone had mentioned to Memaw that there had been some thefts ...so we started closing the garage door when we were not out there, but as time goes on you relax....

This morning on the way home from the store memaw noticed 3 teen boys she did not recognize (and she has been in this house for over ten years ...and a few blocks over before here, for 25 years, and worked/works at the high school and hs library for more years than you care to know).  She saw them standing around out front of the neighbors yard...about an hour before our kids came in for lunch. 
We have some suspicions....and daddy thinks the only reason Ladybug got her bike back was because one of the guys had to ride/carry/pull it and...well...its pink and sparkly and has streamers ....

Ladybug and Bear's bikes are only a few months old.  Brand new really.  T.'s has been around the block a few times  :  ) but is in excellent shape.  We called the police, filed a report....they won't find them. I filed a claim with our insurance, but since we have had no other problems this year our deductible is not met. 

Maybe the thief thought we could afford to replace them?  Maybe they didn't think about us at all .  No matter the reason they are an invisible entity, one that cannot be held accountable by us because we don't know who they are....But they will be held accountable, eventually. 

I prayed for them tonight.  It gave pause to the rest of the family.  I prayed for the person or people who stole the bikes, and for the children who end up with them.  Then Bear prayed for the police to help find the bikes if they could please.  And we moved on.  Bear came to me later crying, he was upset that his bike was gone.  I told him i know, i was too, but God would take care of the thief/ves. He went back to bed sniffling and got back under his blanket....Not sure how he took that -  As in 'take care of them' or 'take CARE of them' :  ) but either way it is in God's hands.  The others are upset as well, and rightly so.  But they have all been brave and not complained.  Not sure how we will replace bikes yet....

Book Give Away Reminder

Visit Homeschooling-resource.org to enter our drawing.
We are giving away a copy of Consoling the Heart of Jesus.

I have personally read the book for our Book Give Away and highly recommend it - It was written in 2001 by Michael Gaitley (he's just recently been ordained!). He had given a one day retreat at his home Parish and many people asked him to write down the talks.

This Do-it-yourself retreat is designed to "communicate the most essential principles of the Spiritual Exercises" of St. Ignatius, while allowing even the busiest of people the ability to participate.

You can enter

November 1 thru November 15, 2010.

We will announce the drawing winner on

November 20, 2010.

Good Luck!

Thursday, November 11

Some quick pictures....

We celebrated 3 birthdays this month
All at the same time ...there was a lot of fire!

We also had a morning out at a nearby lake.

Lake Johnson on a beautiful, fall morning
 We fed the ducks ... but it was mostly geese.  We stood in the silence and were amazed that we were standing on the bottom of the lake.  They drained the lake a bit to repair the dam.

On our way back out we found a small gully

R.B. decided to jump it...
with his long legs it was not a problem!

The rest of us looked for a better place to cross -
it was very muddy and more likely to
suck your shoes off than anything else. 

This is what we found.

He made it!  It was a bit of an accomplishment. : )


Last but not least!

All are here and accounted for!

Heading home.
Sometimes you just need that day out.  It was beautiful!  Daddy dropped us off at the library on the way home and we borrowed a few books.  Then we walked home with the stroller, a bag of books, and a cheerful attitude.  Wonderful!

Tuesday, November 9

Grammar ...REALLY?

Revisiting this one .... how necessary is it?????


OK - i'm done ...

At least someone else at the table piped in with the answer .....

Really now - you can take everything out of the sentence but the verb!  who cares!




HELP!  oh, we are in so much trouble!!!!....................

Montessori Class Seat/Albums Give Away!

I have before looked into Montessori for the kids.  I am continually drawn back to it.  So recently i have begun looking again for information on presentations and materials as Cat really needs more than Dora, Diego, and Max and Ruby! 

In our current living situation we have very little 'here, play by yourself' materials near where we do school, and I really don't want to bring toys into the dinning room.  Plus, i prefer for the little ones to be learning with us ... just basic stuff, no geometry or such : ) but they can be with us as we work, doing their own thing.  All the other kids have had some sort of something up til now - its more that we are not in our own place and i did not think at the time we would be without our things for so long....its all boxed up and not very convenient to get to (about 8 hours away!) Anyway.....

Several years ago i took one quarter worth of Karen Tyler's online montessori training.  She is a wonderful instructor and her albums are very easy to use.  Unfortunately i have misplaced the albums i did get (probably in the trailer in a box sitting in the cold...and on our old computer somewhere) and am looking for a way to take the class again and actually get to finish it.  Well, guess what i found!  One of the moms on a montessori yahoo group i am in is offering a seat in Karen's class!  So here i am blogging about it just so i can get a third entry (how bad is that!)...AND to hopefully send some of you over there to enter too! (maybe i should re-think that...the fewer entries the better chance i have!)

I highly recommend Karen's Course and Albums (which you can buy without taking the class) if you are looking for good, solid montessori training (non certified) and/or albums. 

And don't forget to enter the give away!

Wednesday, November 3


This one is for all those family and friends who are saying "enough already with all the talk ...show us the kids!"
Here you go!

School - we could have just held her up -
check out the shirt!
a little thief at work

doing math!

The State Fair....
Getting ready to leave for the NC State Fair

Funnel Cake - Yum!

yes, it rained....

Bumper cars!

Just a little excited!

Heading home, a bit damp, but happy to have gone.
Cory and I took the 2 older boys back that night.  B. went on a small but good size for a first-timer roller coaster with dad - he left that one a little pale but ready to go again.  Then he convinced me to go on the anti-gravity/no gravity/fly on the wall thing - you spin around, held back by centrifugal force, then you get turned on your side .... i prayed, and smiled (though the 2 on the ground said i looked more like i was grimacing) and waited for it to end.  B. was kind enough to tell me the fair lights were a nice sight while we were on our side, spinning, and the lights were off (the strobe light was on then) - thanks for the update. We also did bumper cars - very fun, and the boys each won a prize at one of the booths. Dad got his fair fudge and we headed back to the house.

On to the beach! 

While Ladybug was busy creating monkeys in her aunt's kitchen the rest of us returned to the maritime museum....
photo op?

Then we headed over to Uncle Joe and Aunt Jen's for a little guy's 1st birthday!

sooo.... what was this again?

painting pumpkins

How old is he now???? He's as big as Bear!

The monkeys!

Some sticky tag - reading the rules

V. tried to play too -
they were easy to catch when they weren't moving!

A little fire ....

Mom says both Grandmas oked it....soooooo
pardon my mess!

Last on the list of pictures comes the All Saints Day shots.

Ladybug and Bear decorated ...
we had limited resources that day.

Saint Nicholas made an appearance

Daniel's lion?  Maybe Noah's?

Saint Micheal the Archangel

Saint Benedict - but only for the picture

Saint Anne

Ladybug created this work of art for us.
Pin the Rose on Saint Rose  - and the winner is......



And then there was
Saint Anthony's Lost and Found Scavenger Hunt

Taking stock and trading

A little sugar....and .....

Just kidding!
(these are bionic lego eyes for Lego League!)

And in case you haven't seen enough of her ....
my kitchen helper!
I am trying to keep you all up to date!  The camera has a mind of its own some days and causes trouble.  Plus there are so many things running around in my head that it takes a while to get to it all!  Hopefully these will hold you over till the next group of pictures are available.

All Our Love!
~the dunphy crew