All Posts by Jennifer

Custom Triforce Pillow

The long days of summer often challenge my mommy-frazzled brain that fun and free activities that entertain kids are as elusive as spotting the Loch Ness monster.

But finally (out of desperation) creativity struck my brain.  I had an idea that just might occupy the super outgoing and talkative personality of our youngest son Tommy.   He loves the video game Legend of Zelda.  Like, a lot.  So, the idea popped into my head that it might be fun for him to try his hand at stitching a Zelda-themed pillow.  Not wanting to overwhelm him with complex designs right out of the gate, we both agreed that the famous Triforce symbol, which represents Link’s ability to harness power, courage & wisdom in order to save Princess Zelda, would be a great and simple pillow design.

I challenged myself to find everything we would need to make this pillow from stuff we already had in our house.  And we did.  We found an old throw pillow shoved in a linen closet that was no longer in use. We found two old t-shirts (one black and one yellow) that were too small for anyone to wear.  We used an old cereal box to cut up and make a stiff Triforce template design for use on the t-shirt fabric.  And lastly, we used our simple (and cheap) sewing kit.

So now it was time to get Tommy started on sewing. After getting the Triforce design cut out of the old yellow and black t-shirts, he sewed them together.


Then he had a LOT of stitching to do.  Might as well get comfy!


Since the black t-shirt was solid, we figured we’d take a short cut and turn it into a pillow case. We only had to cut off the sleeves and stitch along the top and bottom.



Yep, the pillow works just fine..



There you have it, a homemade Triforce pillow made for free.  The only cost was time and my patience.

Bring Your Child To Work Day

As we mentioned on TCND #084, our local public school system “celebrated” Bring Your Child to Work Day.  Since this opportunity only applied to our youngest two sons, I agreed to let them both stay home and work with me processing rosaries for Rosary Army. is the main ministry that I have the privilege of managing from the basement office of our home and these boys only know life with rosaries in it.  Not a bad thing in my opinion.

Post Office TripFirst stop was the post office.  It’s always a fun surprise when we check the mail and find all three types of mail inside: envelopes containing rosary requests, donations and more all-twine knotted rosaries to inspect and prep for distribution.  It’s a great reminder for me to be thankful for these individuals in my prayer life.


IMG_6994Before the massive inspection of nearly 1000 rosaries could begin, I figured I’d better boost their morale and treat them to a “business lunch” at our local burger joint.  Gotta have fuel for the journey.  And truth be told, the Reuben wasn’t half bad.  Not New York good, but decent.




Time to get to work. Ben was in the zone sorting rosaries by color and making sure the rosaries were made according to our quality standards before any tax receipts can be calculated and presented.  (Don’t worry, I handle the tax part!)




Tommy is hard at work filling out the quality inspection paperwork for each batch of rosaries submitted.  He caught on super fast.  Not bad for an 11 year old!




No, these are not rainbow dreadlocks on Ben’s head.  One of our hardworking rosary makers decided to have a little fun with tie-dye and Ben decided to have some fun with her creative work.  Who says rosaries can’t be fun!



IMG_7002Our Lady Undoer of Knots where are YOU!!! Yikes! There were at least 10 rosaries tangled up in this ball of rosaries.  I tried to think of Our Blessed Mother as Tommy handed this giant knot to me to untangle for him.  It gave me a chance to meditate on how us mammas have the skill and patience to untangle knots in our kids’ lives.


After several hours of intense rosary sorting work, it was finally quitting time for this Bring Your Child to Work Day.  For their reward, I dismissed them to the basement for some much deserved R&R time with video games.  Or maybe just plain ol’ R&R.


The Accidental Baker

Ben_HeadOur son Benjamin has been through quite the academic journey in public middle school.  From dealing with the shock of actually having to do his assignments to remembering to turn them in on time, it’s been quite the ride.  But mostly, middle school has been rough on him emotionally.  He just didn’t care to be there.  Middle school was something to endure and nothing more.  It didn’t take long for his teachers to notice how disinterested Ben was from his classes.  They could easily see how profoundly unhappy he was. (Not that he tried to hide it!)  It didn’t take long for his grades to suffer from his lack of engagement.

We tried band. But since it was not possible to get the highly coveted percussion assignment, he was forced to choose something else: the trumpet. He tried and tried, but he quickly began to resent that instrument and found every opportunity to avoid it. Since we had to rent it for $25 bucks a month, I was not too happy to see it unplayed so often.  We tried private tutoring sessions to help boost his confidence, but it just didn’t matter.  He genuinely disliked the instrument and music all together.  The band teacher found a way for him to be transitioned out of that year long class despite the general rules of leaving kids assigned to their original schedules.  We were grateful for the end of Ben’s musical misery and I was happy to get my $25.00 a month back.

Honor_RollEventually, he was allowed to participate in Drama, which showed him that school can occasionally encourage playful and silly behavior without being considered disruptive.  Slowly, he started to feel like a happy kid again. His grades were finally leaving the C and D zone and he was consistently getting more B’s.  By the end of the quarter, he was rewarded with an Honor Roll certificate for his efforts at trying to improve in all his classes.

But the real prize of a class was (the super popular and tough to get into) Consumer & Family Studies, aka the cooking class.  There are never openings in that class.  Students have to be very fast to sign up for it before it gets full.  Because Ben has several teachers who care for his success, strings were pulled in all the right ways and Ben was allowed in.  To me, it was an answer to prayer. Ben needed to know that it was possible to have a few positive experiences in his school.

To our surprise, Ben not only enjoys the cooking class, he is thriving in it.  He is loving the chance to explore new recipes and getting his hands dirty in the cooking process.  This warms my heart so much because Ben has such a beautiful and unique soul.  It hurt so much to see him so sad every day after school.  You see, Ben has high functioning autism and he relates to the world around him in a very unique way.   To date, he has largely felt disconnected from his experience in public middle school.  But cooking has made him connect.

His recent cooking assignment was to tackle the German oven pancake.  The teacher demonstrated it first and the next day the kids would get the chance to make it themselves.  Ben was so enthusiastic after seeing the demonstration that he couldn’t wait for the next day to try making it.  But since he was given the recipe, he thought, “Why wait for tomorrow?  Why not try making it as soon as I get home?”  Ben has never baked like this before.  He is quite adept at using the stove top, and even heating up foods in the oven, but never preparing something so raw from scratch.  I was quite happy to let him experiment and just figure it out.

Ben_pancakeHis first attempt came out very flat, much like a traditional pancake.  But we ate it and congratulated him for his accomplishment.  Secretly, he knew something was not right. It just didn’t look like the one the teacher made in class earlier that day.  He would later learn that he didn’t whisk the eggs enough and after having the opportunity to make it correctly at school the following day, he was ready to dazzle us at home.  And dazzle he did!

We all laughed with delight when he opened the oven door to reveal the new and improved German oven pancake in it’s risen glory.  How appropriate for the Easter season of which we are still spiritually celebrating.


Ben was happy. We were happy.  And the German oven pancake was devoured.  I highly recommend spreading some tasty fruit preserves over it.  My personal favorite is using raspberry preserves.  Our youngest son, Tommy, was so impressed by his brother’s baking skills, that he requested this pancake for his birthday breakfast this Friday, April 24th.  I think I’ll commission Ben to make this delightful treat for my Mothers’ Day breakfast this May.

Our Ben, the accidental baker, is now experiencing the joy of cooking and sharing. Way to go Benjamin Bunny Faces of Love and Happiness!


Musical Baby

A parent never knows what talents lie hidden in their children until the passing of time. It has been a long time hope of Greg and mine that at least one of our children will have a knack for music. For now, Lily is just enjoying her world of noises and making an impact in her own small way. I guess you can call the attached video clips music videos. Enjoy. Continue reading

A good beer and a book

Earlier this week, Greg became resolved to improve our method of shownotes prep. Here’s a photo of his latest creation: The Evergreen Book. It contains timeless topics for us to discuss on future programs. Good job, Greg!

The next photo revolved around a very dark topic. Dark beer that is. We wound up talking so much about Guiness Beer on that particular show that he HAD to drink one during our broadcast. As you can see in the photo, Greg is lovingly describing the complex structure of the alluring dark and satisfying beverage. Continue reading

Understanding Moby

mobyI decided to buy the Moby Wrap to help me carry the baby around without using my arms so much.  You should check out this thing on their website:  It’s an incredibly LONG piece of fabric that you wrap around your body.  I’m still trying to figure it out and perfect my skills with it.  It’s definitely taking some getting used to.  But the demonstration video on their website made it look so easy, I had to try it myself.  Here’s a picture of me with Lily all mobied up.  And of course, our youngest son had to pose for the occasion.

Dilation has begun!!!!

3cm_picI went to the OBGYN today for my regularly scheduled weekly checkups and lo and behold did I get some good news today!  The midwife confirmed that I am currently walking around at 3 cm dilated!  (Plus, I also lost another half pound on the scales, which always puts a smile on my face!)  Of course, the midwife did remind me that I could continue to walk around for up to a week at 3cm dilated, but in my heart, I know that I won’t.  With this encouraging news of this dilation, we went ahead and finished all our packing and leaving instruction notes for grandma to hold down the fort whenever it’s time to rush to the hospital.

We are very excited that our little girl will be here soon!  We will do our best to keep you guys in the loop on a moment to moment basis.  And if we don’t, it’s only because Greg couldn’t get a wireless signal to upload.  Trust me, that would be the only reason! 

Thank you for all prayers and well wishes that you left for me on this website and on my Facebook page.  You guys are awesome and it’s been so much fun sharing this experience with all of you.

Nine Days Left: Diaper Changing Practice

We figured it was time to break out the monkey for some good old diaper changing practice. My mother gave our soon-to-be born diaper a stuffed monkey for Christmas, so we used that for practice. It’s always a little shocking to be reminded of just how small newborn diapers are.

This little girl is still very active in my womb and I wonder if it’s possible for her to remain this active even when I eventually go into labor.

The big question is will this baby girl come early, on time or dare I say “late”? Here’s my delivery history:

Sam was born 1 week early.

Walt came 2 weeks early, but was induced, so who knows when he would have come.

Ben was 2-3 days early.

Tom was on time.

Any predictions?

Live Eggnog Tasting on CND

Once I made the discovery that Greg never had eggnog, I knew I had to take advantage of this opportunity. What a perfect time to taste it live on the air.  I made sure he was good and ready.  He knew the history, the flavor choices, etc.

Here Greg is about to taste his very first sip of eggnog (non-alcoholic) live on the air.


A big thank you to Greg for being a good sport over the whole thing and for giving me a hearty laugh and a great photo op. I’ll need to come up with other live food and drink taste testings for him :).


We did learn that Jody, our dog, had no problem finishing off Greg’s unwanted beverage.

I thought I wanted a Pop-Tart

I don’t usually eat them. But today, I thought why not relive an old childhood pleasure. My boys love to help themselves to this on some mornings. I have taught them repeatedly about proper food storage. They always respond “Yes Ma’am”. I try to instill the values of being considerate for the person who comes after them. They always respond “Yes Ma’am”. I try to explain how certain foods require sealing from open air. They always respond “Yes Ma’am.” So, behold, the photos will share the results of my stellar parenting techniques.

Mmm-mmm, that tasty breakfast treat.

This can’t be good.

My breakfast dreams begin to fade.

Eeewwwww. I wonder how old this is.

Caption this photo contest

I took this photo of Greg while he was checking his iPhone email while laying down.  We WERE having a conversation.  In fact, I just asked if he could help me out and feed our youngest son.  I couldn’t help but notice his amazing ability to remain almost frozen in this exact position for several minutes.  And then I looked even closer and noticed his eyes.  

In all my years of seeing him sleep, I’ve never found him in this position before.  So, just to make things a little fun, I thought I would open this photo up for a caption contest.  So if you desire, go ahead and leave your caption blurbs in our comment section of this post!

A Bird in the Oven is Worth More Than Two in the Fridge

We left the turkey in the bucket with the brine overnight out on a table on our patio last night. Glad we don’t have raccoons or bears.

After bringing it inside, I cleaned it off, patted it dry, and mixed together a rub of a little salt, pepper, tarragon, thyme, rosemary, and a few other herbs. Smelled so good!

Then, using a trick I saw on Food Network, I dug into the skin and separated it a bit from the turkey meat itself. We always wondered why the dry rub never quite penetrated the bird in the past as much as we’d expect it to. Well, apparently that pesky skin gets in the way.

So after making enough space to get my hand in there, we poured in some vegetable oil between the skin and bird, then rubbed the herb mix in there as best I could.

We then stuck as many onions, carrots, turnips, and pieces of celery as we could all around the turkey and then I drizzled the skin with butter.

Once that was all done, we stuck the bird in the oven for the first 30 minute round of heating.

Thanksgiving is under way!

Now I’m going to finally drink my first cup of decaf and relax a bit.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Walter’s in Surgery

Today is Walter’s big day for surgery. He’s been suffering from recurring strep throat for a long time and this surgery should make his life a bit easier. He has been very brave and relaxed.

As soon as we made it to his “holding” room, he was immediately drawn to the television hanging from the ceiling playing cartoons. You could have poked him with needles and he wouldn’t have cared a bit. You can plainly see his tv joy with this picture.

The bottom photo is a picture of Walter leaving the cartoon room and heading to the Pre-op area. The sleepy meds they gave him are kicking in by now.

It should be an interesting weekend.

Both Ben and Sam tested positive for strep and this morning Tommy was complaining, as well. Greg is thinking that if Tommy tests positive for strep, that he’s going to get testing, too. Better to get the antibiotics going now so that next week we can all enjoy turkey pain free!