Handprint Tote Made for Mom

By: Amy Dienta

We made these really cool bags for Mother’s Day. They came out cute and all the Mother’s loved them.

We filled them with beauty supplies and a bath poof.image1

To make them you need:

Cotton totes from the craft store

Fabric paint in your choice of colors

Foam brush

Black fabric marker

To make the totes:

Paint your children’s hands with paint and stamp on the bag.

Add stems and grass.

Use your child’s thumb to create bees and the fabric marker for the bee details.

Don’t forget to label the child’s name and the date next to their hand with the fabric marker.

Let dry.

Fill with goodies for your mother!

A Family Blessing


By: Sue Anganes


My husband and grandson are almost The Birthday Boyexactly 54 years apart. That makes it convenient to double up on a birthday party! My daughter hosted the event, and it was so much fun. Since it was my grandson’s first birthday, his other two grandparents and his great grandfather flew here from Virginia to celebrate. My husband and I, as well as my parents, also attended. The birthday boy had all four of his grandparents and three of his great grandparents in attendance. Along with the older relatives, many of the aunts and uncles also came to the party.

What a blessing!

The birthday boy unwrapped a few presents with the help of his older brother and sister; his favorite being a Spin-and-Say farm animal toy. He had help blowing out his candle, but ate two pieces of cake on his own. The older two siblings were laughing their heads off at the cake disaster he created. While my daughter put him in the tub to clean the cake off of his hair, face, hands and clothes, I cleaned off the highchair.

What a mess!

Birthday cardEven though a first birthday is such a special event, my husband’s birthday wasn’t forgotten. The grandkids gave him cards that they made themselves, and he got to blow out candles on a cake of his own. He, however, did use a fork to eat his cake so he didn’t need a bath afterwards.

All in all, the birthday was simple, but wonderful. It was so nice to have four generations at the party. I think that was what made it an extra special day.

Surviving Allergy Season

Most people enjoy the spring and summer months immensely.

I, however, am not one of them.GlutenSeasonalAllergies

I think it’s partly because I love snow and the changing colors of fall, but mostly it has to do with allergy season. For months, I have to take every precaution there is so that I will remain semi-functional, and will still end up running through bags of cough drops and boxes of tissues before fall hits and I’m safe again.

If you’re anything like me here are some simple home remedies you can try to ease the symptoms:

Local Honey

Local honey is important to use instead of honey you buy at the grocery because ingesting local pollens can help your body build up a natural immunity to the pollens that affect you. Local markets are great places to find this kind of honey.

Saline Spray

I try to use this twice a day because it helps keep congestion at bay by rinsing away the pollens.

Wash your clothes

Seems like common sense, but most of us get a couple wears out of items before washing them, but on high pollen days , it’s best to wash right away otherwise you’re just going to cause more irritation the next time you put that blouse on.

Shower Frequently

Again, this might seem like an unnecessary tip, but I usually switch my showers from mornings to evenings during Spring and Summer in order to wash the pollen off of myself before bed.


Hope this helps you get through allergy season!



My Mother’s Day Favorites

Mother’s Day. A day to celebrate all the things we moms do.8095411_orig

My husband works hard to make sure that I am well taken care of on this holiday.

Of course, I’ve gotten the typical spa days and jewelry but he quickly learned that my favorite gifts were the ones that didn’t cost him and the kids anything but time and attention… and a restaurant tab.

Many moms start off with breakfast in bed; I nixed this idea pretty early in our marriage. For those of you with husbands that can cook, congratulations! Mine tries, but it just doesn’t turn out great. So we’ve now started loading up the kids and heading to IHOP. We don’t go out to eat very often so this is always a nice treat to both my palate and to me not having to worry about leftover dishes.

I get a card from hubby and the kids each year. I have loved watching the signatures of my children evolve over the years from chubby baby handprints to sloppy names. I think I will be a little sad when they start to look like adult signatures.

Last year, I also received a coupon book from my family that could be redeemed throughout the year for things like my husband doing the dishes or snuggles from kids.

If the weather is nice, we’ll spend our afternoon outside at the park and if it’s not we’ll spend it inside playing games. It doesn’t matter to me whether we spend it inside or out, I just love that I get that time with my family. No interruptions just us.

It’s not the expensive things that make Mother’s Day for me. It’s redeeming the time with my family while we have it.

School at Home

By: Sue Anganes


I’ve hesitated to write about something that I’ve been doing for almost twenty- five years. I guess it’s probably because I don’t want other moms to think that I feel my way is better or that my kids are smarter. It isn’t, they aren’t. I never wanted to make anyone else feel that I’m in competition with them. I’ve never been. It’s always been quite the opposite- I’ve always only wanted to do my own thing with my kids; I’ve wanted them to learn at their own pace and to enjoy learning. I didn’t want the pressure or the stress to take the fun away from learning. That’s why I decided to homeschool.

In September 1990, I started to formally homeschool my oldest daughter. She had just turned five, and I couldn’t imagine putting her on a school bus and parting with her each day. I bought a curriculum and worked daily on phonics, reading, writing, math, health, and science. The book work went quickly which left us a lot of time to play and do other fun things. Child’s play is the best form of early learning. Dress up clothes, puzzles, Legos, dolls, toys, games, books, not to mention digging holes in the yard and making mud pies all contributed to her early education. As the other kids came along, we spent sunny days hiking through the woods, visiting museums, practicing instruments, and picking out books at the library. I always made sure that their core subjects were completed, but after that, it was free time for the kids to explore, read, build, play, and think on their own. I truly believe that the time they spent on their own was as beneficial to them as our formal schooling hours we spent around the dining room table.

As the years went on, each child seemed to gravitate to their own individual interests. A couple learned on their own how to program computers, one took flight lessons and became a pilot, some took music lessons, two were writers, a couple were involved competitively in the shooting sports, one played in an orchestra, two shot archery, one cared for an elderly woman, one delved into photography- all this as part of their homeschooling.

Now, I only have my youngest son left to finish homeschooling. Before I know it, he will be finished with high school. I homeschooled them all until they left for college. My oldest has a degree in nursing, the second in engineering ,the third in accounting, the fourth is still an undergrad studying to be a special ed teacher, the fifth is taking college courses online for a computer science degree, and my youngest is, as I said, still homeschooled.

Almost everyone I have come across who finds out that I have homeschooled for so many years has said to me, “I could never do that!”, but they are wrong. I didn’t need to be super smart, my kids did not need to be super smart; I just took it day by day. It was simply self discipline, sitting down each morning and getting through the books. I learned along with my kids, and what I couldn’t teach them, I found a community college or continuing education class to enroll them in.

In the end, it has worked out well for us. As I have mentioned in some of my previous posts, my youngest two sons have a very rare neurometabolic disease. There would have been no easy way for them to attend school in a conventional way. By homeschooling them, I’ve been able to work around the bad days, and they’ve been working at grade level or above at home.

One of the greatest blessings of homeschooling my kids was when my eldest daughter and her husband decided to homeschool their own children. I guess, I felt that even though I always put my best effort towards teaching my kids, there were always failures on my part. There are “gaps” in homeschooling. You can’t have the best of both worlds- conventional schooling and homeschooling. Each has its own benefits. Having my daughter decide to homeschool my grandchildren was a personal validation to me. At least, the good aspects of homeschooling outweighed the bad; and she valued the effort that I had put into educating her, and in turn, she decided to homeschool her own children.


Sometimes Snow Falls and Somehow Smothers Us

winter flower

 Sometimes snow falls and somehow it smothers us.

By: Sue Anganes


It has been nearly a year since my friend took her own life.

I was so shocked when I found out, especially because I wasn’t aware that she was having an inner struggle. Outwardly she was a strong, beautifully put-together mom of two lovely daughters. Her husband’s income allowed her to be a stay-at-home mom, and she devoted much of her time to her daughters’ activities—pictures of which were proudly posted on her Facebook page.

Inwardly, however, she was suffering.


A year has passed. A family lives on without a wife and a mother. School, dance lessons, and church activities all continue.

The cold of winter only lasts for a season. I wish you would have waited for the snow to melt and the flowers to bloom again.


 Do you not realize that the snow eventually melts?

They always bloom again.

I wrote a blog post last year about stress. http://www.ourcircleofmoms.com/when-stress-gets-the-best-of-us/

I wrote it, unknowingly, at the same time my friend took her life. It’s worth reading, if you haven’t already; and please get help if you are despairing in life.

Always remember that beautiful springs eventually come despite the harshest of winters.


Veggie Dump Soup

By: Danielle McFadden



Here’s an easy vegetable soup recipe that will easily feed a family of 2-4 for a couple of days. What I love about it is that it allows you to clean out your fridge and ‘dump’ veggies, beans, etc. that may go bad if you don’t use them.


The base for the soup is always the same:unnamed-1

– Sauté a finely diced onion in olive oil with garlic, salt, pepper and basil

– Add 1 box of vegetable broth

– A 24oz. can of Kitchen Ready tomatoes (found in the aisle with the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce)


And then add your veggies and beans (you may also need to add more veggie broth) and bring to a boil, then simmer.


Today I used:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 summer squash
  • ½ a can of kidney beans that were leftover from taco night
  • An opened can of peas (Zoe requested them last night and then refused to eat them 😉
  • A can of chick peas
  • ½ a bag of diced cauliflower (also leftover from a previous dinner)


Once you set the burner to simmer, feel free to add fresh spinach and/or kale.


When you serve it, it’s delicious with Parmesan cheese on top.



When There Is Crying In Baseball

By: Amy Dienta


My son loves and lives for baseball. We spent Saturday buying him equipment to play and he had been registered for months. Spent $90 on cleats that he has been eyeing for months at the sporting goods store. Traded in his old bat and got the perfect one, as he was moving up a level.

Then on Saturday, in the pouring rain, he tried out for senior league baseball for our section of the city. He was so excited and ran to my car after, stating, “Mom, I love baseball and can’t wait to play!”

Then on Sunday night, I received a phone call from the league, put my phone on speaker phone thinking they were calling with his team. The league explained that the league has too many kids and cut my son and he can not play on a team. He can be on a waiting list. At that point, my son’s face turned pale white and he started crying.

A boy who lives for baseball started crying, saying he hates it and doesn’t want to play. Then came texts from his friends who made teams to make it even harder on him. The next day in school, where his friends were so excited about playing and he can’t play, hurt him even more.

I think the hardest thing to do as a parent is to see your child go through this devastation and have his heart broken. In the grand scheme of life, is it a huge deal? No, but when you are 13 and love baseball and just want to play with your friends from school, it means everything.

I’m hoping that he will get on the league across the cities team. He won’t be playing with his friends; but,hopefully, he will make more friends and in the process play the game he loves.

I’m hoping that this makes him grow and learn that even if everything doesn’t go your way, you pick up the pieces and move on and find another way to accomplish what you want. 

I am also hoping that the league will learn that when they say everyone gets on a team, everyone gets on a team!