Daily Life Vol. 1 : Hurricane, Homeschool, & Home Sweet Home

1. Hurricane Hermine

Did anyone else think Hermione when they first saw the name of this storm? I am skeptical that this thing will even cause more than a rain shower in Central NJ, but we are on Tropical Storm Watch so we wait and see. And grocery shop with the rest of the wait-and-seers.

2. The joy of living near family

I love, love, love living near my family. I am so thankful for it every time we get together. In my youth, I wanted to get far away from the rules and responsibility of being a member of a family. I went to boarding school, college, moved across the country, etc. I’m so done with all that. I love my family, they are my people, and I never want to be apart again.

It’s kind of unsure what will happen, because I’ve given hubs job priority in terms of where we will live… and eventually I’d like to live near HIS family too, so I guess we’ll see. But for now, while we are near mine, I’m going to enjoy every minute of it. If you live near family, I highly recommend doing the same.

3. Am I the only one clinging to summer?

It seems most people this year are VERY ready for Autumn. And pumpkin everything, etc. But I’m not. I loved Summer 2016 and I’m clingin’ to it. My husband had summer Fridays, we did some excellent grilling, lots of swimming and taking the kids outside, a beach trip and visits from lots of family… I’m not ready for it all to be over. I’m especially not ready for snow, or March. Okay really, I’m probably just dreading March which is the absolute worst month in NJ because there’s no Christmas and lots of snow and every time you think it’s about to get warm it snows again. In like a lion. Out like a barely-made-it-out-of-the-womb, worn out, bedraggled little lamb.

4. Beautification Fail

I have been wanting to do something with my hair and face other than my usual nothing. Or occasional mascara and lip stain. Anyways I wanted like… some BIG Duggar girl style curls. And a pouf! And eyeliner! All at once!

I will spare you a photo (because I didn’t take one), but I looked like…. a trashy grocery check out worker from the 90’s. Also the hairspray gave me a headache, so I had to take two tylenols and a shower. Thank goodness my husband was home. Whew. Not trying that again soon.

But really, any EASY, and NATURAL hair and make up tips? I have about 2 minutes to get myself ready and do it with a kid or two at my side.

5. Homeschool

Is official in session. Or as officially as you can be in an NJ homeschool preschool that has no curriculum. We met up with some other homeschoolers, did some workbook pages, read LOTS of books, and did some coloring. I was kind of dreading it at first but now I am really enjoying it. We have a little homeschool group, playdates, and we’re trying out a soccer program nearby. I’m excited for this year. If you missed it, here’s our homeschool plan for right now.

6. Reading & Watching

Kristen Lavransdatter Part II: The Wife

Very good, bit depressing. Very Norse, very Catholic.



Fun TV show on Netflix about girls in the Irish Revolution, a bit like Land Girls. About as much sex and violence too, which to me is a tolerable amount. I occasionally fast forward or cover my eyes / ears but not often.

7. What’s For Supper?

Monday: leftover chicken pot pie, yum.

Tuesday: lazy chicken quesadillas. I was informed, that this is not the LAZIEST way to make quesadillas but, they were pretty lazy.


I took cooked, cut up chicken that I froze and put it between two tortillas with some cheese. Then I microwaved it. Then I made it look real fancy with some green onions and sour cream. Lazy, sort of passably pretty.

Wednesday: Dutch oven chicken teriyaki. It tasted meh. Mediocre meal, and I discovered that garlic salt is indeed one of the foods I can’t eat.

Thursday: took it easy since I wasn’t feeling well Wednesday night, but I did get lots of dishes done and my Grandma came over which was lovely. We ate Subway for dinner, and my 3 year old daughter ate just about an entire pepperoni personal pizza by herself.

Friday: I dunno yet, probably tri tip or something else that we pick up from the market on our trip today.

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Our homeschool, not-so-back-to-school plan for preschool


I have been spending some time thinking about what kind of homeschooling we want to do, what activities to include, whether to use curriculum or not… etc.

And based on intuition, a hodge podge of articles I’ve read, and advice from my cousin and my mother-in-law… we’re keeping it pretty low key and play based.

There may be days for beautiful old schoolhouse style Catholic curriculum, and tiger mom levels of go-gettum, but this year of preschool isn’t it.

This year we’re doing play dough, going outside, singing songs, lots of field trips, baking and cooking, and reading of books. So many books. Like Peter Rabbit and A Child’s Garden of Verses and probably the book version of Frozen a million more times.

We’re slooooowly doing letter sounds and “what is a pattern” and learning that the term “last night” is not the best term for describing anything that happened at some point in the past.

We might do a gymnastics class, because really, who isn’t inspired to try gymnastics after seeing this amazing, amazing woman:

And we’ll reassess often. Change things as we need to. I’m excited for this year! How about you? What are your schooling plans for this year?

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A season of preparation, and finally, Easter

The past few seasons have been like a whirlwind. I got married and had a baby in the same week. My in-laws stayed with us for an extended visit to help after James was born. Lent started, we worked on getting the house cleaned and organized. My country focused on who would be the next president. My toddler adjusted (or is adjusting?) to life with her new brother. I am adjusting to being a new wife. I had my first hours, days, and weeks as a stay at home mother of two.

And through it all, I’ve had these feelings, these unshakeable intuitions. I didn’t want to talk about them at first, because… well, I felt like they were whisperings of the Holy Spirit and that those precious, mystical intuitions were something to keep hush about. And not just because people would look at me like I’m crazy if I went around talking about how God was nudging me.

holy spirit catholic lent easter christian faith testimony oh the simple joys God is good

So starting this winter I had this intuition, this whisper inside me saying: prepare. I didn’t know what I was preparing for. I tried to prepare mentally, spiritually, and outwardly. I tried to live simply and minimize my life, get organized, donate old clothes. Change can be big and scary, but since I had this gentle and comforting warning, I felt at peace with whatever Big Change might come next. I wondered what it might be. I didn’t take myself too seriously, because you never know how reliable these kinds of intuitions are. But it felt reliable. So I watched, I waited. It was Lent, so I prayed and I spent less time on social media and more time with my children.

On the eve of the terrorist attack in Belgium, I had a nightmare. I don’t remember the details but I knew it was big and bad and that everything would change and my nightmare gave me the day: Easter Sunday. I woke up sort of skeptically terrified. I knew that it was just a dream. But I feared there would be a huge terrorist attack, or that a loved one would die, or that something would happen to me or Bodie or my children. Have you ever had a dream like that? Where you know that it’s just a dream and yet you can’t shake the feeling of, “What if it isn’t”?

So, I tried not to obsess. I stared at my babies beautiful faces more and spent even less time on the internet. I cried and I prayed. (Postpartum hormones anyone?) I told myself, it is just a dream. After a day or two I moved on and worried about it less often. Then I read this article and realized: these feelings and intuitions are about this liturgical season. My children weren’t going to die, Jesus was.

No giant worldly change was coming. It hit me like a ton of bricks, Lent is supposed to be a season of spiritual preparation. Good Friday is supposed to be big and horrible and tragic and devastating. My heart broke for Mary, who must have known what was coming for her son. Who had to watch her baby be strung up and crucified and ridiculed and tortured and killed. But then I was filled with the peace and joy of the resurrection, of Easter Sunday coming, and because of this, we are safe. Saved.

Realizing this all made me think wow, is this some kind of liturgical seasonal affective disorder? Some bad postpartum anxiety? But I think not. It isn’t a disorder, it’s a blessing. It is something that I’ve prayed for — to be closer to Jesus and experience his experiences, even those that are painful.

God is good, and when we pray to be close to Him, he draws us near in unexpected ways.

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Why I chose to skip “silly” and “kiddy” clothes for my child

clothing choices for kids

When I first had Miriam, there was no “choosing” of baby clothes. There were the amazing hand me downs that I so graciously accepted. I donated a few that were too stained or too unbearably not my taste. Mostly, I was so glad to have any clothes to put her in, and we were gifted such beautiful and like-new baby clothes that I couldn’t complain.

Now as she gets older and I buy her clothes more, I have begun to consider allll the different choices before me: should I buy gender neutral clothes so that they last for siblings? Let her choose everything herself? Steer her away from the bright hot pink so people don’t think I’m forcing it on her? Let her wear “boy” colors?

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It’s here, it’s here!

I am so excited to announce that www.ohthesimplejoys.wordpress.com has completed its move to www.ohthesimplejoys.com! It’s one more tiny step towards my dream, which began when I was pregnant almost 2 years ago! A huge big thank you to Bodie who made this move possible, set up my new hosting, made it so the pages load quickly, and answered all of my (seemingly endless) questions patiently and lovingly.

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