Category Archives: accident

7 Quick Takes: A PSA, a home remedy, DYI, a library must-have & the Big Fibber

                                                 My Public Service Announcement

Well, after Pio’s accident I was freaking out about our basement door. Every time I turned around someone was forgetting to close it inspiring nightmarish visions of a repeat performance. I made three trips to two different big name hardware stores and purchased two different door closing devices, but all that merited us were holes in the door.

My mother owns a rental building and the law in her state requires that all the entrance and exit doors from each apartment close automatically, so I knew there was a simple device to accomplish the mission of kid-proofing our doors. Thankfully, my husband put an end to my city by city wide search and found the solution on Amazon. This simple spring fits over your existing hinge (no holes required) and voila!

Now the basement door closes magically as soon as you let it go. It works so well we added one of these awesome springs to our mud room door (now the dog can’t push it open every five minutes) and to the back door. My kids may still act like they live in a barn, but now at least the barn doors get closed.

                                                            My Home Remedy

Okay, this isn’t actually MY remedy like I invented it, but everyone in Brelinskyville knows garlic is my go-to cure-all.  Whether it’s a fever, a sinus infection, an earache or a bad cough my best line of defense is the garlic poultice. HERE is a handy visual on making a garlic poultice. I most often place the poultices on the soles of our feet and then simply slip a pair of socks on top. For the bigger kids, Mr. B, and myself, I generally insist we drink the garlic water that is left over after soaking the paper towel with the crushed garlic inside. A note of warning the water is VERY spicy and you will stink a bit, but for the tougher ickies like infections I reason it is worth grinning and bearing it.

Because I didn’t learn my lesson the first time, I got poison ivy AGAIN (just as round one started to clear up). In my blind fury to rid my yard of weeds before our upcoming party, I grabbed a lovely vine of the itchy stuff and thought, “Ut oh!” Yes, I attempted to wash the invisible residue off, but apparently it was a fail. I awoke the next morning to a forehead dotted with tiny bumps. Not really sure garlic was a remedy for this, too, I gave it a shot and applied a poultice directly on my head. Here I sit 2 days later scratch-free on the parts I applied garlic to (I left my legs alone for comparison and for that I’m sorry).



Our family room is one giant space which houses an office, a playroom, and an entertainment area. The space needs to be both comfortable and functional. As NFP teachers, we also use the space to host classes so I’d rather that the playroom portion not overrun the whole room. Using furniture placement and a little creativity, I think I’ve achieved my goal.

the view of our family room at first sight

the playroom section

what’s really going on behind that couch
my hubby’s office space camouflaged behind a home-made partition


                                                           Another DYI: extra seating

This seemed like a no-brainer, but it took me a few years to give this hope chest a second job. I really don’t like have too much furniture, so the items that make the cut generally serve more than one purpose. Mr. B and I bought this hope chest (used) pre-kids and it has faithfully held our extra blankets and stuff for years. When I was rearranging the family room recently (rearranging/swapping furniture is a cheap way to renew your space every few years), I decided we needed an extra spot to plant little “seats.” I touched up the finish on the old chest, added a cushion and here ya go.


                                               One More DYI: Umbrella Stand

We have a badminton net that has been relocated at least half a dozen times. The tie-downs it came with have long ago disintegrated and who knows where the metal anchor pins ended up. Since I am all about being frugal and making things last a LOOOONNNGGGG time, I asked my handy hubby to make something more permanent but also easily movable. With a few 5 gallon buckets (we own more of those than any normal person needs), pieces of PVC pipe and a bag of cement, he created these great stands for our nets and our porch umbrella. They are heavy, but that keeps them firmly planted upright and they aren’t so heavy that the big people around here can’t move them when necessary.

the PVC pipe is cemented in the center so the umbrella can be slipped in and out


                                            A Book That I Must Have for My Library

A few months ago we attended the annual Ignited By Truth Conference in Raleigh, NC and we were privileged to hear Jennifer Fulwiler speak. Ms. Fulwiler, of Conversion Diary blog, has now penned a book about her conversion from atheism to Catholicism. My 12 year old daughter was so taken by Ms. Fulwiler that she has been asking to purchase her recently published story, Something Other Than God.  Don’t tell my daughter, but I am planning to put this purchase on top of the to-buy list come pay day.


                                                             The BIG Fibber

If you need evidence to secure a conviction than my 5 year old hasn’t got a prayer. This little ball of energy and wit keeps us ever wondering and sometimes worrying. So, when I heard another ruckus just the other night I was expecting anything from blood to broken bones. I reached the dining room just after Daddy managed to rescue the said child who’d been hanging by an arm and a foot from the second floor railing.  No less than 100 times we have implored, forbidden and begged him not to slide down the banister. On this evening, our threats came to fruition as his sliding feat turned dangerous when he slipped too far over the side. The ridiculous thing is that he insisted we (all nine of us) were wrong because he was NOT sliding down the banister. He had no other alibi than to
 promise he had definitely not flung his leg over the rail. I submit the following picture of my crooking painting and Happy BT R Y sign into evidence (not to mention the testimony of his father and siblings who found him hanging on for dear life).

Same child, different day…my daughter runs in screaming (or was she just talking ’cause it’s hard to tell the difference) that her little bro has just taken a mud bath. Fast on her heels he arrives crying innocent. Um, yeah, we’ll turn to the evidence again and let you decide.

For More Quick Takes by great blogger, check out
7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes about winners, 100th birthdays, blue blocking glasses, and my desperate need for Youtube recommendations


The Fall, An Accident Inspires Gratitude

Doing the baby jig at the rear of the adoration chapel, I glanced down at the book of thanksgiving. Perusing the list of gratis for health and healing, family and friends, my eyes were drawn to two lines in particular. The familiar scratching of P. I. O. called my attention. Truly this wasn’t the first time my nine month old’s name has been sprawled in childish print in that book, but on this day he was mentioned in two consecutive entries.

Thank you God for protecting Pio.

For keeping Pio safe.
Instantly I jumped back in time to that late morning less than two weeks ago.
Crouching on the family room floor next to the coffee table while attempting to finish grading a lesson, my second eldest son had me stop and proofread his assignment. With my hands baby-free for a few minutes I felt like I was actually making headway in keeping the school day on track so this interruption wasn’t troublesome. It was a good day.
Off in the distance a commotion erupted which I was fully ready to ignore, figuring it was the umpteenth “he did-she did” of the morning. But my son leaped up like a guard dog that’s caught whiff of danger and my internal radar said to follow. The next minute (which was really more like ten seconds) felt like a slow motion scene as my brain tried to clue in to what was happening. Five steps in, I watched that son break into a sprint as he flung the dog/baby gate open. Close behind him, my own movements felt less conscious and more reflexive.
Then my ears registered the words, “THE BABY.” My body stiffened and my head starting spinning like a twister as I instinctively prepared.
My concern-faced,7 year old son rushed at me and thrust the crying infant into my arms, as he explained that the baby had fallen down our basement stairs. Nausea rose up as I scanned little Pio from head to toe. Running my fingers over his hard skull to feel for lumps, I stared into his dark brown eyes to be sure he was fully coherent. Bending and rubbing chubby limbs, I tried to remember not to overlook any part of him.
The kids were talking rapidly, questioning one another. Fear was palpable.
Sweet Pio was simply happy to be in his usual spot, my arms, and so his crying ended quickly. My jarred nerves were not so rapidly soothed as I spent the remainder of the day on watch trying to decide whether a nap was indeed a routine nap or the signal of a concussion.
By the grace of God alone I managed to remain calm in front of the children although internally I was anything but. I was angry and scared, worried and fearful. However, I knew that the children were watching me for a reaction and it would set the tone for theirs. The child who had accidentally allowed the baby to get out of sight was gripped by remorse and anxiety and there was a delicate balance to be struck to prevent the siblings from laying overwhelming blame.
Once the story unfolded and the pieces were fit together it appeared that the baby had only slipped part of the way down the actual stairs before free falling over the open side of the staircase straight to the hard basement floor. Thankfully, he hit a stack of plastic crates which probably slowed his descent. Standing at the bottom of the steps trying to play detective, I had a distinct sense that Padre Pio had been a party to this event. Hard to explain, I just knew he had been there.
Although I’ve offered abundant thanks and praise for the blessing of my sweet youngest, that day reminded me again that life is a precious, fragile gift. Without any advanced notice, everything can be rearranged. For as easily as joy can fill us up, just as swiftly sorrow can rush in. Like the thief that comes in the night, a moment can steal away our well-crafted plans.
Reading those scribbled words in the chapel book, it seemed clear that the gravity of the situation had not been lost on even my young ones. Our family life has exposed them to much of the realities of life and clearly the lessons are sinking in. How beautiful it is too, that even though they fuss and fight, they are able to recognize in small ways that we must be thankful in the moment to moment of life together.
Standing there in the chapel, I looked around at those 8 bowed heads and counted my blessings by name. And I thought, this is the good stuff of family life. The reality checks that keep us grounded. The events which drop us to our knees in petition. The gifts which swell our hearts with gratitude. Countless opportunities to practice patience and forgiveness. And the chance to turn our dirty sock-strewn, toy-riddled, noisy home into a domestic church within which precious souls are formed and made ready.