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2017-2018 School Year

Another year is approaching for us at St. Joan Iris Academy. We will officially start on September 5th.

I was thinking about what outfits the kids should wear for their school pictures and then decided "let's go for real life pictures" so I grabbed the camera when the kids were already playing outside and snapped pictures of everyone. This is what my kids normally look like on any given day. No filters, just real life.

Age: 9
Grade: 4th
Favorite Subject in School: Latin
Favorite Thing to Do: I like doing research.
What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a farmer. I will grow corn. I will have goats, horses, cows, and chickens. I will sell the goat milk and the chicken eggs.

Age: 7
Grade: 2nd
Favorite Subject in School: Playing reading games
Favorite Thing to Do: I like playing with my army toys and working in the garage.
What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be three things. I want to be a police officer, a person who mows lawns,and a carpenter.

Age: 6
Grade: 1st
Favorite Subject in School: Reading and playing games.
Favorite Thing to Do: I like playing with Keith and playing house.
What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a cowgirl. I will have a horse and a barn.

Age: 5
Grade: Kindergarten
Favorite Subject in School: Reading
Favorite Thing to Do: I like to play games with mom and dad.
What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a princess with a kingdom.

Age: 4
Grade: Pre-K
Favorite Subject in School: Playing with tractors
Favorite Thing to Do: Playing with trucks
What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a sheriff.

Age: 1
Grade: Mascot
Favorite Thing to Do: I like to play with my siblings and make a mess everywhere I go.

Age: 5 months
Grade: Mascot
Favorite Thing to Do: Smile. Smiling is my favorite.

St. Joan Iris Academy 2017-2018 Student Body
"St. Joan Iris Academy - Cultivating wisdom and virtue through the contemplation of
truth, goodness, and beauty."

A Little House on the Prairie Party

We had a joint party for Frank and Greta at the beginning of the month and they wanted a Little House on the Prairie themed party. You can find my Pinterest board of all the ideas I found here.  

For invitations, I found an image doing a Google search and added the text. 

I don't normally have crafts for the kids, but this time decided to include some for those kids who wanted to make something. Thanks to Hubby who cut all the wood before hand and made samples of all the wooden toys. The kids were able to make Jacob's Ladders, Buzz Saws, Walking Blocks, decorate peg people, color pictures and decorate paper dolls. 

Ike agreed to dress like Almanzo from the cover of Farmer Boy. The hockey stick was supposed to be his ax. 

 Frank built a Jacob's Ladder. 

 My kids love playing with the peg people. 

It was in the upper 30's that day so there was plenty of hot cocoa for the kids. 

Now for what really important at a party...the food! Since it was so cold I went with a Potato Cheddar Soup and sliced ham for sandwiches. 

With the soup, I had toppings of shredded cheese, bacon bits, and fried potato skins. The potato skins were very easy to make. Edith peeled nine pounds of potatoes for the soup so I took those and fried them up in some butter. You could also fry them in the bacon grease, but I had some vegetarians coming so skipped that and just used butter. 

I also made Onion Pie which was really yummy. However, the bottom crust did get a little soggy the next day so it is best to eat that the day it is made. 

I didn't do much in the way of decorations. I used checked table clothes on the tables, put out our lanterns, a tool box of the kids, flowers in jars, and the Little House series books

For apps we had chips, popcorn, shelled peanuts and veggies. 

For dessert, I made brownies and someone brought cupcakes and someone else brought a super yummy fruit salad. 

My Farmer Boys.


He was very happy even if he did sleep through most of the party. 

That's his "I am mad at you because you won't give me the food on your plate" look. 

The kids after the party playing with toys and eating more food. 

Everything went well and a good time was had by all. 

Girl's Room Makeover

My goal before Baby L comes in March is to give the girl's and boy's room a little makeover. After 8 years they are in need of it. I started with the girl's room. 

Here are some before pictures. It was a very bright pink which didn't seem that bright when I originally painted it, but now seems really pink. 

The door on the left is the door to the hallway and the door to the right is the door to the shared bathroom with the boys. 

A bookcase that sort of became a holder for all the random things that didn't have a proper place. 

Their dresser. I really need to get another dresser for their room, but for now we are making it work. 

I took these pictures right before I started painting. Greta was helping me remove things from the beds and Keith was overseeing the progress. 

Now the after pictures. 

I still went with pink for the walls, but it is much lighter. I painted the triple bunks gray and went with a pink/gray theme throughout the room. 

I painted that white bookcase gray also and added the stripped bins to store pjs. Moving those out of the dresser gave us a little more room in the dresser for their everyday clothes. The closet keeps their church clothes on a top rack and their dress-up clothes on the bottom rack. Then they have some bins in there to store their dress-up accessories and doll things. 

I didn't do anything with the dresser since it is nice and seems like a shame to paint it. 

They are happy with the outcome and so am I. Now if I could just keep them from making it a mess, it would be perfect. 

*I probably should have picked a non-rainy cloudy day to take pictures of the room because the lighting in there is horrible, but oh well. 

Seven Quick Takes - 2017 Reading Challenge

Joining Modern Mrs. Darcy for her 2017 Reading Challenge
Also, joining Kelly for some Quick Takes

Last year was pretty much a failure for reading unless you count cookbooks and kid books. Reading starting off good, but slowly took a backseat to everything else that had to get done. It is sort of sad because I really do like reading. I remember when I used to live on my own and it wouldn't be rare to just hold up in my apartment for the weekend and devour a stack of books. Good times, good times! 

Well, I don't see that as happening any time in my future, but there are pockets of time that could sneak in some reading. Now that Keith is on a better sleep schedule and all the other kids are in bed by 8pm the evening will be more open to reading. We will see how that all changes once the baby comes, but that won't be for another couple of months so we will think about that then. 

Now there are two different reading challenges going Reading for Fun and Reading for Growth. I couldn't decide which one to do so I am just going to list both and mark off as I go along.

I am not reading the books in order of the list. I seriously have a huge stack of books on my nightstand that I need to get through and I know some of them will fall into the categories. 

Here is a sampling of books that are on my nightstand to be read this year.

The Divine Romance - Fulton J. Sheen
Leisure the Basis of Culture - Josef Pieper
Treasure in Clay - Fulton J. Sheen (Read before, but want to read again)
Defending Marriage - Anthony Esolen
Catholicism - Robert Barron
Cure Tooth Decay - Ramiel Nagel (Currently Reading)
Dead Wake, The Last Crossing of the Lusitania - Erik Larson (Started last year and just need to finish it.)
Beauty in the Word, Rethinking the Foundations of Education - Stratford Caldecott

Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves - PJ Wodehouse
The Secret Adversary - Agatha Christie
The Man Who was Thursday - G.K. Chesterton 
Ross Poldark - Winston Graham

As you can see the non-fiction way out numbers the fiction. I actually have around 20 more books once I finish with all these. All of which are non-fiction. I think I might need to get my hands on more fiction books. I do have a bunch of classic fiction books, but I have read them already and I tend to stay clear of modern fiction since the few I read made me want to pull my eyes out. I was always left with the feeling "wow, that was a part of my life I will never get back." If you have any recommendations that won't leave me with that feeling, please leave them in the comment section. 

Have a great weekend!!

2017 Goals - Growing in All Aspects of My Life

 It is that time again...saints for the new year, words for the year, and goal setting.

I used Jen's Saint Generator and received the saint St. Zita. She is the patron saint of homemakers so that sounds like a good match. I did a quick Amazon search and didn't come up with any books on her so if you know of one, let me know.

I prayed about a word for this year and the word that came to me was "grow." It seems like last year was a lot of just doing the minimum to get by, but this year I would really like to get out of the rut and grow in all aspects of my life.

I have broken down goals into five categories and "growing" will be the focal point in those areas. I will then write out concrete things to do for each of those areas. Instead of doing them monthly, I will be breaking the year up into 2-3 month segments.

January - February = Before Baby L arrives
March - May = Post Baby L's arrival
June - August = Summer Months
September - November = Fall Months
December = Advent
I figure this way, I can reevaluate goals based on the regular changes in a year.

Now the goals...


Goal 1: I am a Child of God.
I want to grow in my knowledge of God by learning more about my Catholic Faith and his Word. I want to grow in my love of God by spending more time in dedicated prayer times. Finally, I want to grow in my service of God by embracing my vocation fully.

Mini Goals
a. Dedicated Prayer - These few months I will get up 30 mins before the kids so I can spend some quite time actually saying morning prayers instead of saying them while doing something else. 
b. Knowledge - I will follow the Read the Bible and Catechism in a Year reading plan. 
c. Service - I will offer a prayer when motherhood gets hard instead of speaking complaints. 

Goal 2: I am a Woman.
I want to grow as a woman by taking care of myself physically, spiritually, and mentally. By caring for myself I will be better able to care for those around me and follow my vocation to the fullest.

Mini Goals
a. I will drink at least 64 oz of water, take all my vitamins/supplements, and exercise each day. 
b. I will follow a basic Paleo diet with some exceptions. 
c. Read 2 books from categories in the 2017 Reading Challenge
d. Write a blog post at least twice a week. 

Goal 3: I am a Wife.
I want to grow in my love of my husband seeing him as a partner on this journey to heaven.

Mini Goals
a. Plan one away from home date night each month. 
b. Do one act of kindness each day for my husband. 

Goal 4: I am a Mother.
I want to grow in love and patience for my children. I want to manage my time better so I can spend time with them and not always be "too busy" for them. 

Mini Goals
a. Play a game each week with the kids. 
b. Play a family outing each month. 
c. Read aloud each day to the kids. 
d. Stop and actually listen to the kids when they talk. 

Goal 5: I am a Homemaker.
I want to grow in my cooking, cleaning, sewing, and gardening skills. I want to make our house a home where there is order and relaxation for those who live here and those who visit. 

Mini Goals
a. Make a detailed list of all items that need to get done around the house. This will include painting rooms, fixing things, decorating, etc.
b. Pick 5 things off the list and complete them.
c. Finish updating the 2016 budget and gather all items needed to do taxes.
d. File away all paper work that is currently sitting on my desk.

Have you made goals for 2017? What are they? What tips to you have to stick to them?