Friday, December 25, 2015

McLoughlin #ChristmasEve 2015 #Catholic #Beanboozled #Scrooged

Christmas Eve. Ah, super busy day preparing for Christmas Day to make it special! My mom and stepdad are coming over on Day and love to watch the kids open presents and we have breakfast and listen to Christmas music. It's awesome. ... Today entailed wrapping presents, hitting the grocery store just ONE MORE TIME, doing dishes for Aron's GOURMET COOKING EXTRAVAGANZA and more!

Daddy spent all day working on Christmas dinner so he wouldn't have so much to do on Christmas Day. Eva helped him get seeds out of raspberries for cheesecake topping.

Joel was just being cool most of the day.
 Mid-afternoon I had to hit the liquor store so here's my Facebook status for that one:
OK so I don't really frequent liquor stores but I did my husband a favor and took some rum back that he said was disgusting. The place was packed! And apparently I never got the memo to not act like an awkward dork in a liquor store. I probably sounded like a raging alcoholic talking about how I don't really like to drink but I kind of wish I like to drink. Wow, can somebody please give me some duct tape in my stocking for Christmas? For my mouth.

We had to go out and rake leaves finally on DECEMBER 24 ... the weather has been so great that we kept putting it off. Oh, and we've been busy! The kids did some hilarious slow-mo videos jumping in that I'll post on YouTube.
As it got dark we realized we needed to return a RedBox so Aron and I set out on a quick walk to return it. We need the exercise badly since colder weather has come. So much easier to toss on flip flops and go walking in the warm mornings instead of putting on cold gear to walk!
8 p.m. Mass to include Julia, out 8th wheel and the girl I'm sponsoring for Confirmation

All of us

Home from Mass and time for some hot dogs!

Joel and Michael got an early gift of Minecraft redstone for a nightlight for being BEST BABYSITTERS EVER when Mommy has to run errands.

NORAD's Santa Tracker

Beanboozled was a hit at about 11:45 p.m. ... I'll post a video on YouTube of Aron trying CANNED DOG FOOD! Best game ever!
Here's my YouTube channel for more McLoughlin Family Fun! Merry Christmas!

Here's the Beanboozled video.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy #ChristmasEve

At my house it's also the dad ... Mr. Kerrie also is busting butt to wrap and place presents and eat cookies and write a letter back from Santa.

*Proofreader find: "Twas ... was stirring ... was busting but ... everything WAS perfect."

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

#BestChristmasGifts Indoor Swimming Pool Membership in the Winter

I posted this last night on my Facebook wall:

I just want to give a shout out to my mother who is not on Facebook and thank her for the three-month membership to our indoor gym and swimming pool. She has given us the gift of health and the gift of getting out of the house in the winter time and the gift of family time.

My family LOVES SWIMMING! All my kids can swim as of this year and it is a mother's HEAVEN because I don't have to worry so much about them all the time! Yes, I still make sure an adult is with them, their dad or I, at any pool we go to. I don't think it's a teen lifeguard's responsibility to babysit my kid at the pool. That's my job.

Callie got to go swimming with our lovely neighbors Sunday at their indoor pool and loved it! We have missed swimming since the pool closed early September. My mom usually gets us a zoo membership but as the kids are getting old we are not really going anymore. If we go once a year it wouldn't be worth it to get a membership. So this year we asked for something different ...

A 3-month membership to our local indoor pool and gym.

And last night we signed up. I wanted to wait until we were really going to start using it. Sometimes we'll just swim and sometimes I'll go walk the track while Aron swims and then we'll switch another time and he can ride one of the bikes or swim alone in lap lanes and I can be with the kids.

The membership also includes time in the gymnasium if it's not booked ... and the kids love going to just mess around in there with basketballs.

It's the gift of sanity (getting out of the house in the winter) and health (swimming, the gym) and time together as a family not in front of the TV. Last night I swam a while with the kids and then I left Aron there with them and walked the track while listening to The Martian on the phone.

Thank you, Mom (Tutu) ... we all appreciate you so much!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2015

How Catholic Are You? Make Your Own Quiz!

So it seems I’m too Catholic for most Protestants; not Catholic enough for most Catholics; and pretty okay for most agnostics.

How did I come to this conclusion? Well, I’ve pondered it for a long time, and it seems to come down to percentages.

I’m going to develop a quiz for people to figure out how Catholic they are, and it would go something like this:

-5% Have you attended Mass every weekend and obligation day for 7 years but missed 4 Sundays for travel and vacation reasons?

+10% Do you severely honor the Sabbath? (no shopping or eating out!)

-25% Have you listened to “I Kissed a Girl” and liked it?

-10% Do you love rock and dance music?

+15% Do you practice NFP? Do you even know what I'm talking about?

+10% Do you have more than 2 kids? Bonus points if you go over 5 kids.

+10% Do you breastfeed?

-15% Do you love cuss words?

+20% Do you use a Catholic homeschool curriculum?

-5% Did you ever let your oldest son go to a Nazarene church with his friend on Wednesday nights?

-5% Do you dig Halloween?

-20% Subtract if you didn't give anything up for Lent last Easter.

-5% Like mine, do your kids have “secular, worldly” friends (like when they grow up they’re only gonna hang out with other Catholics)?

Well, I am at about 75% Catholic. So I am "better" than those in the 50% range and "worse" than the 90-100% people. I need to stick with people in the 70-80% range of Catholicism for the best bet at a real friendship.

Do you see how complicated we make religion?!

Simplified version for ALL religions/non-religions: Love God/Creator/Source. Love your neighbor/annoying friend/grumpy family member/everyone, a.k.a. is it so hard to just be polite, even if you can’t be totally kind? AND ... I don't care how Catholic you are if you are a crappy parent who is absent in the name of the Lord ... helping out at church all the time while your kids need you and can't reach you on any level :-(

I’ll work on this, too. Peace out.

*Originally posted 9/6/2008 and now we do virtual school through Kansas so take my points away on the Catholic homeschool curriculum thing but add like +1,000% since I now teach religious education and we go to Catholic co-op once a week! Woo hoo!

You could add so much to this! For example:

Do you sleep around while preaching at your friends that they will go to purgatory unless they get their butts to Confession?

Do you do volunteer work ... and not tell the world about it and post it on Instagram?

Have you met the Pope?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

5 Ways to Carve out One-on-One Time With Kids in a #BigFamily

As an only child, I was not spoiled with THINGS but instead my parents gave me the gift of one-on-one time. I treasured that time and am learning it's a gift that's hard to stretch out over 5 kids when I am also homeschooling and working sometimes 20 hours per week from home. Yes, homeschooling counts as time, I guess. But it's SCHOOL time. And we do a lot of fun stuff out of the house TOGETHER. Anyway, I had to come up with a new plan.

Okay, it's an old plan. I think Michael came up with it a long time ago and we just never did it. Now we are doing it. Here's the plan, then after that are a few more ideas!

Monday nights are for Joel. We go upstairs around 9 p.m. before I get too punch-drunk tired and we read some of his current homeschool book we are supposed to be reading. The other kids know it's our time and they stay downstairs. This is also a good time for TALKING and sharing stories and thoughts and ideas. He is 14 now and this time is priceless to me because we only have so much more time left together with him at home. I have to make sure I keep this relationship strong.

Tuesday nights are for Michael and it's the same thing with reading and bonding. Michael entertains me with his dark humor, but he is often the quietest of the kids so it's great for me to hear him out one on one. It's important for me that he knows that I value what is going on in his 12-year-old head.

Wednesday nights are for Callie. We like to watch some Project Runway Jr. and chat. Then I have her read to me from various books. She is 10 and still likes to spend time with me so I am jumping on this opportunity.

Thursday nights are for 8-year-old Eva. We chit chat and I read her stories and maybe we watch a cartoon together. She is my kid who needs tons of physical affection so we snuggle up.

Friday nights are for 6-year-old Samuel. He loves to hear stories so we take our time while I read to him then he tells a story back to me and we discuss the story if he wants to. Maybe we watch a cartoon and laugh together and just talk about his day.

The weekend. Well, I'm working on that. I should probably take one night for Mr. Kerrie and one night for myself. Seven people in my family and seven days in a week. Once Christmas dies down I think we'll start going out for a couple of hours on a short, cheap date. The night reserved just for me? I guess I could listen to an audiobook or watch a favorite show. I haven't been watching TV at all the past few months because I haven't had time or made it a priority to just chill out.

We attempt to do one-on-one kid dates twice a year but it usually turns into once a year, unfortunately. That has to change next year. The 4-hour kid dates are a big deal to them and don't even have to cost a cent, although I like to take them out to eat so we can sit and chat and enjoy some good food and a treat. Check out my post/article about that here!

Sometimes when I have an errand to run and one kid wants to come along I say YES! So much easier than the days taking 5 kids to the grocery store and trying to wrangle them while someone had a meltdown and I was sweating and breaking out the Hershey Kisses on the way to the minivan.

Lately when a kid asks to help me with something I say yes. Of course, sometimes my blood pressure freaks out a little when messes are made and wrong things are put into recipes, but it all works out. They are learning and having fun.

When the weather was nicer and a kid wanted to walk with me, I have to admit at first I was like "Ah, man, I'm going to miss my sanity time and my podcasts and quiet" ... but then I realized how important that one-on-one time was. When they are all grown up and out of the house I will probably walk every day alone or with Mr. Kerrie or some new old-lady friend. For now, I want to walk with my kids and hear what they have to say.

Go On a Date With Your Kid! #dateyourkid #thekerrieshow

**This was originally written in 2011

It all started after my youngest son was born and spent some time in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). If I wasn’t at the hospital, I was a stressball at home, so I decided one day to start taking my three oldest kids out on a date. My then-two-year-old considered a trip to the grocery store alone with me to be a fun date, so I figured the age four and up crowd would be the best candidates for a couple of hours on the town with Mommy.

Date Number One was with my oldest son, age 10. We couldn’t play a game of Pokemon cards without being interrupted 27 times, so we took our card decks and headed out. First we ate lunch at Olive Garden, then went for frozen yogurt at a place with large tables where we could play our game. He shared all kinds of thoughts with me that I will always treasure.

Date Number Two was with my second son, age 8. He chose Red Robin for his restaurant, and we played tic-tac-toe and drew silly pictures on the paper placemats. I joked for him to tell me his hopes, dreams and goals, and we had a great conversation about life in general. Later we grabbed some cookies and went to a park.

Date Number Three was with my oldest daughter, age 6. She chose a local restaurant where we could get some blueberry pancakes and hot chocolate. We colored on placemats and did lots of giggling. Then we went to a beauty school so she could get her first haircut.

For each date, we took Daddy’s truck instead of our usual mommyvan transportation, and we took the camera to snap lots of pictures. Sometimes we eat, sometimes each child might get a little gift, and sometimes we spend no money at all. You could make your date extravagant (go to a water park all day then have dinner out) or go simple (head to the park for an hour). My big rule is that you have to get out of the house so you aren’t distracted by phone, mail, dishes or laundry.

I love how I get to know each of my kids better when we go on our dates. They tell me things they might not tell me while their siblings are around, and I get to savor every word. We get to build a relationship based on more than day-to-day interactions like chores, meals, homework and activities. It’s easy to get into a relationship rut with your kids just as you can do with a friendship or a marriage.

Sometimes I plan our dates, sometimes my kids plan them, but we try to do something different every time. The sky’s the limit, but here are a few ideas to get you started depending on your child’s interests (we keep an ongoing list on the fridge):

·         Go swimming at an indoor pool in the winter
·         Go to a museum or children’s museum
·         Drive go-karts
·         Try geocaching
·         Head to the zoo or nature center
·         Take a board or card game to a coffeehouse and play while enjoying a treat and conversation

Whether you have one child or 10, going on a one-on-one date with him every now and then will be an important and special experience for both of you. As my kids get older I look forward to day-long dates with each of them. Dates aren’t always easy to fit onto the calendar, but they are always worth it. Repeat as often as necessary!

*Come back tomorrow for 5 Ways to Carve Out One-on-One Time in a Big Family!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Happy Birthday #8 to My Daughter Eva!!!

The night before her birthday party I slept with Eva in her room on the floor at her request. Sam also wanted us to sleep with his Pig named Pig the Pancake

We had a chocolate cake and also a cherry bomb fridge cake

Her party was lovely with lots of friends

Eva's friend Little Eva got to spend the night!

Mommy loves you, Eva!

Friday, December 4, 2015

5 Tips for Lowering Your Car Insurance Bill

Car insurance is often toward the top of the list of any family budget. The amount of money it costs to drive has reached epic proportions. Naturally, you don’t want to spend all that money on something you might never use yet always have to have.

We’re going to give you five clever tips for lowering your car insurance bill.

1.      Don’t Drive a New Car

Rather than buying a new car, buy a used one instead. Insurers know that new cars are infinitely more valuable and much bigger targets for thieves if they’re bought new. Expect big insurance bills if you go down this route.

On the other hand, you can save a lot of money if you buy a used car. Scrape some money together and purchase a used car, even if it’s close to being new. This will reduce your monthly bill by hundreds.

2.      Don’t Put Everyone on the Policy

It’s tempting to put the whole family on the policy, but in the eyes of an insurance company this is a risk. They’re not just insuring one driver they’re insuring multiple drivers, so it’s only natural to see the price go up.

If you do have some occasional drivers in your home, this still isn’t a reason to put them on the policy. Instead, you should take out temporary insurance on the rare occasions they do need to drive. This can be done without breaking the bank.

3.      Secure Your Car

Theft is rampant everywhere, including in the UK. Use a company like for an injection of cash and invest in securing your car. This includes the best locks you can buy, car alarms, and steering wheel locks. You should also have a GPS tracking device that allows you to track your car after it’s stolen.

The biggest money saver is to store the car in a secure area, such as a garage, but this isn’t always practical.

4.     Accept a Higher Excess

If you accept more than the voluntary excess, this means you agree to pay more towards the cost of repair in the event of an accident. This sounds bad, but if you’re not at fault you’ll get this money back from the other driver’s insurer anyway.

Good drivers will find a higher excess goes a long way to reducing their premiums, whilst at the same time being of no risk.

5.     Shop Around

Always shop around for the best deals. You should never settle on the first offer. With all the insurance comparison sites available to you, it’s easier than ever before to type in your details and get a list of quotes in a matter of seconds.

The Truth

The reason why insurers can charge so much is because people don’t shop around. They’re lazy and so they renew with the same provider each year, even if the prices go up.

Get an advantage and have no loyalty to any company. Switch as soon as you see a better deal. That’s the best way to save money on your insurance premiums.


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