Sunday, October 13, 2013

My Daybook :: October 13, 2013


Outside my window... 
after a record-setting rainy September, we have finally been enjoying some beautiful fall weather!

I am thinking...        
about ways I can reduce our monthly expenses and help supplement our (lack of) income, during this government shutdown, in addition to the commissions I currently earn through Amazon and other affiliate links here at Shower of Roses.  Thank you all for your support in this way, and for each and every purchase you all make through my links!  It all adds up!  It may not be enough to pay our house payment, but it is enough to help buy groceries and hopefully stretch the little we have in savings (that we had hoped to use as a down payment on a larger van) for a couple months if necessary.

I am thankful... 
for video chat. The other morning my little baby boy pulled his daddy over to the computer, pointed to the screen and said "MAMA?!"  Oh, I miss that little boy of mine! It was the second time this week we have been able to use the video chat. What a blessing!

Learning all the time... 
I am also thankful for the wonderful (Catholic!) tutors I have for our children, through our local homeschool charter school!  Even though the younger children were gone Kathleen spent her usual 5 hours here on Thursday afternoon teaching the boys their next couple Math lessons, reviewing their Latin and Science, and building various circuits with them using Snap Circuits.  She is such a blessing!



This week the boys also really enjoyed learning how to use a compass.


Kathleen brought her own college Staedtler Compass along and said they are the best.  I will have to get one for the boys sometime soon - apparently they will be needing one to complete their upcoming lessons.


Celebrating the liturgical year... 
The feast of St. Teresa of Avila is coming up on Tuesday, October 15th, and the boys and I will be celebrating with an evening "Welcome Mass" for our new Archbishop! Our oldest had the opportunity to meet him at his summer camp, but the rest of us have not had the privilege.  We are very excited!  You can find a few additional ideas for the feast of St. Teresa of Avila in the archives.

From the kitchen... 
My brother Brian is awesome!  I've been working on cleaning and organizing my closet this past week and asked if he could come over and cut open the attic access in the ceiling of my closet.  My hope was that I might find a little storage space.  No such luck there - just lots of insulation and the furnace - but he did bring us dinner!


I am working on... 
a "Media Kit" for Shower of Roses.  I have been turning down blog "sponsors" for years, only listing "affiliate" links and offering some reviews and giveaways from time to time, but now I am reconsidering this as an option.   My biggest hesitation has been that it would influence the way that I blog and change my blog in a negative way.   I've been blogging long enough that I don't think that will be an issue.  I also plan to be selective in the businesses that I allow to advertise in the sidebar, making sure they are businesses I would purchase from myself and recommend to friends.  I'll be adding a button to the sidebar soon for my first advertiser, Catholic Embroidery, and you all know I highly recommend them already and have their beautiful products sprinkled around our home!


I am creating... 
lots of little angels for a Jesse Tree Ornament Swap, with craft supplies I already happened to have in my closet.  I was so excited to see it fill up (along with a 2nd swap as well) so quickly!


I am going... 
to try and finish up on a few blog posts I've had in my drafts folder - a few State-by-State Pages, Making Marshmallow Molecules, decorating Art Portfolios, and more.  I always have so many posts I begin and never have quite enough time to complete!

I am hoping... 
to finish deep cleaning and organizing the house before all the little ones get home.  It is taking longer than I thought it would, but will be so nice once it is done...

I am praying... 
for all those who have asked me to pray for them, and especially for the safety of my family while we are separated.  My husband's parents live in a rather dangerous border town, and last night a border patrol helicopter was shining a light into the next door neighbors yard, with additional agents on the ground with guns and flashlights.  Not exactly what this worried mama wanted to hear...

I am reading... 
and sorting through all sorts of paperwork as I clean out all the boxes that had been stored in my closet. I stayed up way too late the other night after discovering these "CWOD" Magazines from my college days at Christendom.  Does anyone recognize the illustrator?  :)


Pondering these words...
from the Catholic Digest Quiet Moment for today:

"We shall steer safely through every storm so long as our heart is right, our intention fervent, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed on God." ~ St. Francis de Sales

I am listening...  
to Angels and Saints at Ephesus.  Every single hymn on the CD is beautiful and inspiring, but one of my favorites is "A Rose Unpetalled" - a poem of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, set to music.  I also love "Dear Angel Ever At My Side!" Both are perfect for October!

Around the house... 
baskets filled with warm blankets.  It has been chilly lately!

One of my favorite things...  
spending time with my children.  As much as I (we all!) miss the little ones, I am sure enjoying this special time at home with just our two oldest boys!

This week's plans...
  • Start planning this year's All Hallows' Eve/All Saints' Party - it is coming up so quickly! 
  • Mrs. M tutoring Math on Tuesday
  • Welcome Mass for the Archbishop Tuesday Night
  • Party (Ladies Night) at my house for anyone who would like to come on over! ;)
  • Mrs. W tutoring on Thursday
  • Welcome home the rest of the family as soon as the arrive - most likely sometime between Thursday and Saturday!
Early Monday morning - Day 1 of a 2 day (22+ hour) drive to visit grandparents! 

A little peek at my day...


It has been soooo quiet in our home!  Last night the boys and I enjoyed our Saturday evening playing cards, eating gluten-free chocolate chip pumpkin cake (the boys made it using the recipe on the side of the Namaste Vanilla Cake Mix), and staying warm near our first fire this fall.  

46 comments:

  1. OH!!!!! I want to come for "Ladies' Night!" :) It is quiet here, too... ALL of my little treekids are gone to Colorado with my mom and dad. Trying to get a lot accomplished, but the quiet is a little unnerving!

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    1. Wouldn't that be so much fun!?! Miss you!!! I hope you are able to get a lot accomplished! :) We keep having to turn either on Pandora or play a CD for background noise! The quiet is unnerving!

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  2. It sounds like you are just as busy as always! Prayers for all.

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    1. Yes, but the nice thing is that instead of feeling like I am sinking and can't possibly keep up with it all, I am actually catching up in a few areas! ;)

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    2. And thank you so very much for the prayers!

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  3. Oh how nice - a cozy fire! I sure miss those. I've decorated the house with pumpkins and cinnamon to give a little fall flavor here. And, have been making homemade pumpkin coffee. Would love to come for ladies night! ;) Im sure you are anxiously awaiting the reunion of your family again! But its nice they get this time to spend with their grandparents.

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    1. Yes! I am so glad that they have this opportunity to get to know their grandparents. I sure wish they didn't live so far away!

      Is it still pretty warm where you are living now? It would sure be fun if we could all get together for a ladies night! :)

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    2. Hi Jessica, Yes it is -we live in Cali Colombia! - so quite tropical. Having grown up my whole life with four seasons, it still seems rather strange that it isnt getting cold! :) But for now, God has us here (my hubby is Colombian).

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  4. I have admired the large Blessed Mother statue you have at your front door for quite some time. Do you remember where you purchased it?

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    1. I'm sorry, I'm not sure where it was purchased... My husband actually purchased the statue before we were married! :)

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  5. Oh yes we already went to a "welcome" mass for the Archbishop. I'm sure you will enjoy your visit.

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    1. I'm looking forward to it! Our oldest son got to meet the Archbishop at summer camp, but it always takes them awhile to make it to our part of the diocese! :)

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    2. Yes he is trying to visit ALL the parishes and convents in the diocese. It's a big job!

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  6. Your family is in our prayers. If not too personal, I just wondered if you had come upon any ideas for saving/earning extra. I keep trying to come up with these ideas as well. If too personal, I understand. No problem. God bless! Thanks for all of your wonderful ideas.

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    1. Well, so far we canceled Netflix and Audible (not much per month, but they were unnecessary "extras") and have simplified our monthly bills as much as possible (we don't have debt other than our home and don't have cable or other expenses like that, just phones/utilities etc). My biggest area for improvement is buying books, school supplies, and groceries. I know I can really simplify in these areas, at least for the time being. We also hadn't purchased fire wood for this year yet, so my husband plans to start chopping the dead trees on our property when he gets home (wood is running over $200 per cord around here right now and we usually need 3+ each winter).

      As for earning extra... I'm looking into a few things, including considering signing back up for Usborne Books and Pampered Chef. I was a consultant for both years ago and, with Christmas coming up, now is the perfect time to sell their products for a couple months anyways. As I mentioned in the post, I am also considering adding some advertisers to my sidebar here at Shower of Roses. That is all I have come up with so far! If you have any additional ideas for me I'd love to hear them! :)

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    2. Those sound like some great ideas. We also cancelled Netflix and our zoo pass. We took the kids out of extras--like music lessons and sports--for the time; hopefully those will come back soon for them. We tried cutting back on phones, but my husband has to have a cell phone for his job, so that did not work. That seems really high for wood! Unfortunately our fireplace does not warm the house, so we use our furnace. During the winter we try to keep the temperature way down. We do the same thing with the water heater--the water doesn't need to scald us after all.:) I found myself making small trips to pick something up, so now we try to schedule everything together as much as possible to reduce fuel cost. Grocery prices just seem to increase every month, and with six kids that adds up quickly, as you know. We try to plan out everything, preferably a month or at least two weeks at a time. This includes snacks, etc. We allow one dessert/ sweet a month to cut down on the cost of those ingredients. Our garden helps some with food too, unless Kansas is in the middle of a drought year. Then water adds up quickly. I try to use cloth diapers, which we purchased a a few years ago since disposables are so expensive; I have better weeks on that than others. Also when the kids need clothes, if I don't have hand-me-downs to give, I shop at either used or consignment stores. I can usually find good clothes for 1/4 of the price. (except my oldest who is tall and thin; it is very hard to find him pants). Unfortunately we do have some debt, like a van payment of a van that died way too early and thus a new van payment as well. We just have to keep working on those.

      As far as bringing in more income... I am working on some books, but that is a long-term project, not helpful now really. I am not sure how much income you earned from your Papal lap book, but it seemed popular. I home school in Wichita, KS, and I know some of the Catholic schools here were using it in their classes. It definitely got around. I know you like to offer your ideas for free (of which I am truly grateful:), but perhaps another large project like that could offer some income.

      I am not sure if any of these ideas are helpful...hopefully. Thank you for your ideas.:) I will keep praying for you and your family. (and the government). God bless!


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    3. I would add to that, Jessica - the Papal lapbook really was "the seed", I do believe, because you HAVE THAT GIFT to create and supplement materials for your curriculum and you have the aids/equipment/software to do it. The ideas that you have are really awesome and I'm sure there are others like myself that just don't have that "ability" like you have, so we look to the internet for that help and inspiration! I bet if you were to create a few projects per year, it would bring in enough extra to pay for those books, school supplies and those extra groceries for at least special feast day celebrations! In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see some sort of curriculum or book coming from you for liturgical year celebrations in the home! All of your ideas and projects/meals could EASILY be in book form! Well, it's a thought for you to ponder and pray about..... :) Other blogs offer their products for a fee - so hey, you could even have a separate website for it with links to the blog, of course! :)

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    4. Sorry I am a little slow in responding here, but have you considered couponing? It's amazing how much food and toiletry items you can buy for so little money. I started couponing a few months back, and my best trip to the grocery store so far was $111 worth of food for $45! My favorite website to help me do this is krazycouponlady.com. I am not affiliated with them at all, I just love all the free help they give to help me stretch our budget. They have lots of youtube videos in which they explain how to coupon in various stores (since each store has it's own coupon policy) and how to stack coupons and promotions for the very lowest prices. I am so excited about it, that I tell people about it whenever I can so they can check it out too! It does take a little bit of time and planning, but your kids can help you by cutting and file coupons. It is definitely a good way to make your money go farther.

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  7. Oh good. You accept sponsors first and then when I'm ready to do that I can come to you for all the dirty details. ;)

    You sound well, even though I know you feel like you're drowning. Hang in there! You inspire and encourage us all!

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  8. Ditto the admiration for your statue of Our Lady of Grace is it?
    Also lovin' the fire! Is that a gas fireplace insert or a wood-burning stove?
    We have a wood-burning stove that we lit a couple nights ago, but it's just a bit too hot for this cooler, not quite cold weather. 2 logs in, and all 5 of us were sweating. :)

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    1. We have a wood-burning stove insert in our home's original fireplace. It doesn't put off as much heat as a free-standing wood-burning stove (since three sides of the stove are inside the fireplace and it doesn't have a fan to push that out...) but it really helps cut down on our heating bill and prevent our heater from working too hard! I so prefer the heat from the wood-stove over the electric heater!

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  9. So admire your husband to set off on a 3 day (?) trip with little kiddoes on his own!! Treasure this time with your boys{{}} Praying for your financial situation, should move to Australia;) we never have government shutdowns.

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    1. I admire him too! It is such a hard trip, especially with only one driver and all those little ones. It took 2 days (22 hours of driving plus stops, for a total of about 1300 miles) on the way, and I think they will spend 3 days coming home, saving the last 6 hours (traveling over the mountain passes) for during the daytime hours, rather than late at night. Thank you so much for the prayers!

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  10. I always enjoy your daybooks, prayers for a safe return of your family! I hope you got some much needed rest while they were gone too!

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  11. We use to have a lot of trouble with our bills, given we didn't have a loss of income, but it seemed we didn't have enough. We did Dave Ramsey's debt snowball (I know he is protestant but the snow ball is old fashioned tactics that work and that applies to any family). It really helped to show us what necessities were and how to tackle the debt and then be done with it forever. Since then we have added another child to our family, purchased a van with cash, purchased a washer and dryer with cash, taken vacations, and done many other things with cash we never though we would be able to do including traveling to foreign countries several times for a week at a time. Adding income is helpful but some times cutting back seems to make more of a dent, even if cutting those things seems hard and impossible. God rewards us when we remove the 'things' in order to put more order to our lives. And there is no compromise with our ideals there either. As it is said, when everything else is gone, the only one thing is left, the only thing that is necessary, God. May God send you many blessings and guide your family during this difficult time.

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  12. I am sure you don't meam to sound as materialistic and complaining as it seems. You frequently mention how you are struggling financially. However, the difficult thing to stomach is how it really seems like it is more an issue with living within your means. Just as an observer from your photos, you live in a quite lavish home complete with expensive appliances, marble counters, ceramic floors and expensive furniture. all of those things are fine, but it seems lile you are more of a whoa is me as you place a lot of emphasis on material possessions given by the extravagant gifts and food you do and make. There are truly people who can't afford to warm there home and they don't have near what you have. it almost seems lile a slap in the face. You just bought a $1500+ table? I think you could use some classes on budgeting and prioritizing. You guys have to drop netflix? So sorry...this is the whole reason our country is in the financial distress we are because people buy homes they can't afford and live well above their means.

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    1. First of all, Anonymous, it is because we have worked hard at budgeting and prioritizing, combined with God's blessings, that we are blessed with our home. Those who have read my blog for any length of time know that we have lived here for 13+ years slowly gutting, remodeling and expanding the original 1,000sq ft as we have been able to save and do so - first adding on bedrooms and bathrooms 9 years ago with the funds from selling my business (prior to that our home did not even have a bathtub to bathe our three little ones - we used the kitchen sink or a baby tub set up in the one bathroom/utility room shower stall). Last year we were finally able to fix the awful hole around the fireplace after having to remove the old bricks that were literally breaking free from the wall and had "temporarily" (for 10 years) been held up with screws and flashing.

      It also took 10 years of handwashing dishes and cooking meals with my harvest gold oven (thankfully my dad was able to keep it working for us after re-wiring it a few times) from the 70's and 3 working coil burners, before we were blessed with the means to remodel, expanding the kitchen and adding a dining room/family room to our home. My husband and I spent many hours searching for affordable ways to create a beautiful kitchen that was within our budget. The "expensive appliances" were purchased wholesale and paid for with cash - and yes after 10 years I was very excited about having my first dishwasher! The "marble countertops" were granite construction remnants (hence the two tone color of our kitchen counters - since there was not enough available of one color) purchased on clearance and less expensive than formica or laminate was going to cost. The beautiful light fixtures were also purchased at wholesale, paid for with cash, and installed by my dad and brother, who are electricians. The "ceramic floors" were also the cheapest option available to us - buying large tiles that were installed by our contractor to save on installation expenses (he installed the tile backsplash for us too) to replace the floors and sub-flooring that had rotted in our prior kitchen. All of the improvements were made with the hope of improving our home value for re-sale if God blessed my husband with a transfer to an area with a more traditional Catholic parish. So far this has not been a possibility despite many job applications.

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    2. It was not my intention to come across as complaining or materialistic. Yes, it is challenging keeping up with all the expenses of a family of nine on one income, but we have been able to do so with careful budgeting and prioritizing. (Especially when the paychecks stop unexpectedly and the bills do not.) I know we are so very blessed. Yes, it wasn't the best timing to purchase our first new dining table in 14 years of marriage, but we had no idea my husband would not be getting his paychecks this month or we most definitely would not have made the purchase and left that money (earned during a 180 hour pay period of fighting forest fires) in savings. Do I regret it? No. So many wonderful family memories are made at our dinner table and I love investing in my family in this way. I do buy nice quality gifts (that will last) to give our children on Christmas and their birthdays. We also hope that we will eventually be able to purchase a vehicle so that we can once again travel as a family. I suppose some might view these things as materialistic...

      I was asked for concrete ideas on how to cut back so I mentioned Netflix (and Audible) here in the comment box. Does it make a difference? Not much. But we were planning on getting rid of it anyways and I'd rather spend the $7.99 per month on another good book or meal for my children. You don't know me and my family, and you have absolutely no right to judge me from the little glimpse you are given through the pictures on my blog.

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    3. I might add Jessica that I think it is so admirable that you stay home with your children!!! And, similar to the old days, you find ways to help your family, if needed, from home! You are a wonderful mom as we can all see! And you and your husband are generous by being completely open to life, which is rare these days! So you keep on doing what you are doing, count on our prayers and God bless you and your beautiful family!

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    4. Jessica, don't feel bad. I know that you both work hard to be able to keep your seven kids safe, happy, and well-nourished. Having that many, you need some extra space. And being a stay-at-home mom is admirable, as Katie says! I've been worrying about your family with the furlough, since having a sudden drop to no income is very worrisome. (My fiance also works for the federal government, so we've been worrying too, but at least we don't have to worry about a family to feed!)

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    5. Jessica, I'm sorry you had to feel attacked in your own space. You do not come off as materialistic at all, and you and your husband need not apologize for making a comfortable home for your family. Anonymous, your comment was unkind as well as inaccurate -- Jessica has spoken before about living debt-free, save the mortgage. One can have nice things without living beyond one's means, and I'm sure the furniture maker and seller, and their families, are appreciative that people are buying tables and helping to support them! All of us are more fortunatate that many, and all of us probably have less than others. It's still a challenge when income goes away -- I personally panicked when my husband got laid off once, even though we had savings and he found another job within a month. Dealing with a furlough is not easy. Jessica, please know that Anonymous does not speak for your other readers -- I'm sure we all so appreciative of the free content you offer here, as well as grateful for the peak you offer into your life, homeschooling, living the Faith, etc. God bless!

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    6. Well, what even SHOULD be said about this attack that you have been subjected to, Jessica... Anyone who has been reading your blog for any length of time knows that you look for the bargains, the sales, the "deals", you budget, prioritize, "shop ahead" when you see that "deal" and wait until the big purchases CAN be paid for in full and that in the meantime, you wait until it can - case in point, the recent AZ trip that could not included the entire family. You and your husband WORK HARD, are dedicated to family and life and SACRIFICE when God's call to do so comes. Furthermore, as has been pointed out, purchasing products gives other people THEIR LIVELIHOOD AND INCOME and even further to that end, Jessica is careful and prudent in her discrimination of product and company when it comes to promoting them on her blog for her readers that stand to benefit from them! These companies and individuals are also looking to earn a living and take pride in their work and craft of product to offer those of us the opportunities to better enrich our domestic churches and homeschools! I for one am extremely grateful to Jessica and her husband for their witness as faithful Catholics who homeschool and are open to life and followers of the Faith - I know I can come to her blog and TRUST WHAT SHE WRITES AND/OR PROMOTES for us homeshooling moms and families! THAT CURRENCY IS WORTH IT'S WEIGHT IN FAR MORE THAN GOLD. And I dare say that hard work, perseverance and faithfulness are a means of grace to her family and to us all. To those of us who are not blessed with other Catholic homeschooling families nearby, the internet blogging community is a GODSEND and lets us know that there ARE other families of like mind in so many ways. Jessica, YOU AND YOUR FAMILY ROCK!!!!! Keep up your hard work for the Lord in your vocation as wife, mother, home educator and this wonderful blogging ministry here!

      God bless!

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    7. Thank you Katie, Eliana, Julie, and Krista, for your kind comments, support and encouragement. God bless you all!

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    8. http://www.showerofroses.blogspot.com/2007/09/were-debt-free.html#comment-form

      Just wanting to add something of value from the archives. I knew it was there, because I remember being inspired by it when going through our own financial crisis.

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    9. Thank you for all the enjoyment and hope I have received from you sharing your life, your kids, your thoughts, your prayer, your example, your gifts, your creativity, your meals, and placing yourself in such a vulnerable position. I hope you are always able to continue this ministry so many enjoy and learn so much from. +++ You inspire me and I'm sure many others with ideas that help us also share our faith with those we love!!! It's wonderful to kind of be allowed to share in your family and grow in Catholic traditions with them =) God Bless

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    10. You know what, "Anonymous"? The fact that you couldn't even use your real name when you posted that nasty comment speaks volumes, in my opinion. Frankly, it sounds like *you* could use some classes on manners.
      Jessica, I'm a lurker on your blog, but I visit because you have such great ideas and you are generous enough to share them. Thanks for all you do!:)

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  13. CWOD magazine! I wish I still had mine! Guess who's married to the "Scottish Assasian?". ;)

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    1. lol They are such fun magazines, I'm so glad I happened to hang on to them!

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    2. I was even featured in one: Mr. Balloon Man holds up a "helpless student", who is saying "I'm sorry." ;) C.S.

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  14. You and your family are great examples to us for hard work and dedication to God and family. Seems you know what is important! Great job and God bless!

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  15. The CWOD magazines! Those bring back memories. :) Thanks for sharing, and God bless your family! ~Maria O.

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  16. Jessica, I'm SO glad that you have decided to add sponsor ads to your sidebar. I'm thrilled that you may make a few cents off of that. My family and I benefit from all that you do here and we want you to continue in the worst way. With a large family to support, it has to be difficult to go ahead and purchase supplies etc...for the inspiration that flows from the great talent God gave to you.

    You have guts (humility) to talk about it. Sadly, someone distinctly does not have guts to sign their name to a free advice comment.

    God bless your work, and bring on the advertisers! - Genevieve

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  17. Wow just saw your flaming here. *snort* Jessica didn't say she was poor and destitute and unable to pay her bills. She merely stated it would help in many areas if they could find ways to save some more or earn some more. Raising a large family is a challenge and making sure everyone's needs are met can get difficult and costly. Jessica I love your blog and use your posted resources almost DAILY. I so appreciate that you are here. You are an inspiration to me and many others. God Bless you.

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  18. I just want to say, your blog is an inspiration. I am always impressed with how well you really LIVE your faith, I wish I was half as capable as you (I only have four kids!) and don't let the critics get you down, there's more of us that appreciate you and your blog (and work) than those who don't. Good on you for advertising, if you are careful in who you allow it will be fine. I wondered why you hadn't done it sooner!
    Ellen

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  19. All we have (and all we are) are gifts from God. You live your faith and pass on your faith---the truth of our faith--to you children and ALL who see your blog. Would one tell you not to "flaunt" your seven gifts from God (resulting from the gift of fertility and openness to God)? Would one tell you not to have another child? It is not my concern--or business--what your husband's income is or how you spend your money. That is not why I visit your blog. The results of those things come into your blog because you have exposed yourself, your life, to your "friends". I am sure you feel like you have many friends here. Many Catholics trying to live the faith have sacrifices to make. Some suffer by infertility and "sacrifice" the worldly ways to conceive and have "their own" children; others have the gift of fertility. Some have the gift of intellect which land them a good education and good job; some still have the gift of frugality (is that a word?) or being able to do without. Some have what seems to be nothing, yet have the gift of faith and gratitude for what little they do have. We are called to use your talents, not dig a hole and cover them up. You have much talent to share and so many of us are amazed and grateful to you. Amazed. Amazed. Amazed. It is not our business how you care for the poor. We can trust in the fact that since you are trying to live a truly Catholic way of life, you do for others who may not have been blessed with what you have. Surely, there are truly poor in this country. However, let's face it, if is hard to not be soured when you see many capable people not working (other than working the system). Yes, jobs are hard to come by. We are a nation of people who have feel entitled to what others have. The grass is greener on the other side. You do have a beautiful home and family. You do have nice things. You have talents you share with your ideas. You have the gift of taking action, too! You are blessed to have many friends (and family) who still rally around you. These are all gifts from God! It hurts to hear negative words when you are trying to do good for others and be a "friend" through the internet. Each day we are given a glimpse of the Way of the Cross. Keep up the great work. I love your blog and am inspired by all you do! I have a few *real* friends who follow your blog, too. We talk about you/blog. We don't have many fires in NJ--other natural disasters--, but we have a great Traditional Chapel led by the FSSP. Just say'n. Victoria

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