Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lots of feast days to celebrate...

I would have posted earlier in the week, but we had a really bad ice storm that has knocked our power out twice now. (I hope no more trees fall on the power lines!) Despite the weather, the power outages, and other schools being closed, we trudged on in our studies.

This week is packed with wonderful Saints to study! I didn't want to miss celebrating their feast days. Monday was the feast of St. Paul's conversion. We read the story from the Bible during our morning prayer time. The kids had such great questions about why Saul would want to kill Christians. Thanks to Seton's wonderful art, we had a copy of the painting St. Paul's conversion. That was a very good starting point for discussing art appreciation.

On Tuesday, we celebrated St. Angela Merici's feast day. Throughout the day we took breaks and read a part of the story of her life from the book I have pictured. We were finished by bedtime and the kids really enjoyed it. There was much that the kids could learn from St. Angela's example, but I think the most interesting thing for them was seeing how much St. Angela loved to read about the lives of the saints. This story book speaks of her father teaching St. Angela to read and then after his death, she inherits his book of saints. It becomes her favorite book to read. I think it encouraged them to think that someday, maybe they could be a saint, too. After all, isn't that what we are here for, to become saints and join our Blessed Lord in heaven?

On Wednesday, when we had no power, we celebrated St. Thomas Aquinas's feast day. Again we read about his life and discussed what the title "Doctor of the Church" means. I think they were amazed that you could become a doctor of other things than just medicine.

Though we haven't done it yet, I thought I'd post what we plan to do to celebrate St. John Bosco's feast day (which is on Saturday). On Friday, we will be reading the book about St. John Bosco from the "Along the Pathways of the Gospel" series. You can purchase it through Seton books. (See picture.) We will be celebrating on Saturday by having an Italian dinner night and watching a movie about St. John Bosco. (Now, I just have to brave the weather and get the movie from our parish library!) I hope to even let the kids try their hands at juggling and doing other tricks that St. John was famous for performing. I don't think I'll let them tight rope walk, though! LOL!

A week like this one, with all the feast days that fall with in it, is much more interesting and rewarding for the kids and I both. Because I did not grow up learning about the saints, I feel as if I am just now starting to make their acquaintance. I have found a treasure trove of friends that I want to introduce to my children. If you lay a firm foundation now, they will always have these lovely friends to rely upon when troubled times come.
St. Paul, pray for us!
St. Angela Merici, pray for us!
St. Thomas, pray for us!
St. John Bosco, pray for us!
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph pray for us!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sale over at

In my last post I mentioned A Catholic How-To-Draw by Andrea Smith. Over at Catholic Heritage Curriculum they are running a special. The book is normally $16.95, but is on sale for only $12.50! Offer valid until 1/31/09. Limit 2 copies per family. This lovely book makes a perfect First Communion gift!

To receive this discount, type coupon code "CHTD25" in the Comments field during checkout; 25% will be deducted from the book price when your order is shipped. Click here for book details.

The illustrations are dark enough that younger children can trace the images and then color them. My oldest won a poster contest by using the ideas and step by step instructions in this book. While you are visiting the CHC website, you might want to order a copy of the Foxhoven singer's CD. It is excellent for reinforcing the faith and helping your kids to learn the angel of God prayer. My kids love it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lots to catch up on...

Yes, I know it has been 10 days since my last post! So much has been going on that I just couldn't find the time to write about it all until now. Let's see, where to begin... Oh yes...

The girls' Birthday party went well. It was very relaxed and low key. They had a wonderful time and even Aunt Olivia and another friend were able to spend the night.
Our three year old, big girl, was given a booster seat by her Nana and is so proud of it. This makes things a little easier for me in setting up seats in the van. We now have four booster seats and a forward facing toddler car seat for the baby---er--- I mean toddler--sigh.
Where did the time go? I can't believe the baby is already big enough for a toddler car seat! They have all loved the new seat arrangements (yes, plural!). We are still trying to figure out just who is best at being a car buddy to whom. Since, my now five-year-old still can't buckle herself, she still needs one of the older two to be her car buddy. I hope my new seating arrangement will soon fix that problem and give her enough space to see the seat belt buckle and practice putting it in herself. Until now, she always sat next to the toddler seat. It was nearly impossible for her to reach it herself.
Also over the past few days, my dear husband went out of town for three days to do some continuing education classes, leaving me home with the kids. Thank God my mother was willing to come and help me with the kids because I had three meetings on those same days. She was also a saint at watching the kids while I tried to reorganize( who am I kidding, I mean organize. Reorganize implies I was organized at some point prior to this!) The kids were ecstatic to have Grammy here for an entire week. They miss her terribly now that she is gone.

The kids were excited to play in the snow on another day. We don't get snow that sticks around more than a few hours, so this was a rare treat for them. The older three were the only ones brave enough to stay out in the cold more that a few minutes.

I was also busy attending my Faith Formation class's reception of First Reconciliation over the weekend. Things went rather well, and I hope those who were able to receive the sacrament made a good and holy First Confession. You can always tell which kids have parents that care about passing on their Faith. I don't want to go into it here, but suffice it to say, there aren't that many in this class. It saddens me profoundly at how hungry these kids are for the Truth and how they are starving for it. How can I possibly give them enough knowledge in just one hour of class a week?( That could be a whole other post in itself!)
My son also pointed out a nasty cavity to us over the weekend. Of course this happened on Saturday morning, when there was no way of getting to a dentist until Monday! As God would have it, we were able to see the dentist first thing on Monday and the cavity was temporarily filled until they can work him in at a later date.
While I was at the dentist with my son, my mother watched the kids and snapped the picture of our toddler in the upside down stool. She is such a ham whenever she sees a camera. One of her best pronounced words is "Cheese!".

Despite all this chaos, and much more, (of which I will spare you the details) we were able to do school work each of the week days. I wanted to post some of the resources we used for today's lesson on St. Agnes.
First I had our oldest read the short biography of St. Agnes out of her Saint book that she received from a very kind old lady at church (see picture). Next, we discussed the symbol of the lamb and how artists usually portray St. Agnes. After the kids had their "book work" done for the day, I gave them the Catholic How to Draw book which you can get from .
They had a great time trying to make their picture look like the one in the book. Okay, maybe great is too strong of a word. Some of them got discouraged when their lamb looked more like a dog than a lamb! Hopefully, though, they will remember that St. Agnes is usually represented holding a lamb and that Jesus is the Lamb of God whom she had given herself to completely.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

FOCA Novena...

On Sunday we started our Novena (meaning nine days) prayers for the intention of the defeat of the FOCA legislation that Obama has pledged to sign and possibly on the day of the March for Life in Washington D.C. (I guess that is one way to thumb your nose at the pro-life movement!) This act is very disturbing and would permanently alter our society for the worse. To read more about this horrible piece of legislation check out my links to the right side. Another great post is at my friend's blog
Please join with me in these next few days to pray for the unborn. If you are able, please fast or offer up some little sacrifices. Thanks. May God's Will be done.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Girls!!!

It is hard to believe that my middle girls are another year older. Their Birthdays are only two days apart, so they have been sharing a Birthday party. This year they chose a Littlest Pet Shop themed cake. They were surprised when I showed them the cake. Their favorite part was choosing out the little figurines and putting them on the cake. The older daughter turned five today, so she got to pick out five figures. The younger daughter is turning three on Saturday. So, she got to pick out three animals to place on the cake. I think it turned out pretty well for only taking about 20 minutes to decorate.
The last two pictures are of our baby in a really fancy dress-up dress. I think this was the dress my oldest daughter wore in my sister-in-laws wedding about five years ago. The baby was so proud of herself and kept running around the kitchen with her hands in the air squealing with delight. Now before you get all worried that I am ruining a perfectly good dress, let me assure you that this dress has had its fair share of wear! The stains down the front can attest to that, and no matter how hard I tried they just won't come out. So, I figured instead of throwing it out, why not let the kids use it for a dress-up dress? It has become a favorite at our house. As my oldest daughter likes to say, "Recycle, reuse, reduce!" Sounds a little like a tree-hugger to me, but it makes sense and it saves cents!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Creation Mural

The kids were back to school today. Our fun projects today included trying the Magi bread and our creation mural. the Magi bread we fixed was a little different that the original recipe. Instead of cherries, I substituted some frozen raspberries and since I didn't have any almonds I threw in the hickory nuts that the kids collected from our neighbor's yard. (Because it is so tedious to crack that type of nut, there weren't very many nuts to add.) The recipe made two mini loaves and one large loaf. Of course the two mini loaves didn't make it past lunch and this large loaf would have been long gone if I didn't hide it from the big kids. The kids thought the Mandarin oranges, which symbolized the gold given to baby Jesus, was the best part.

Addendum: The baby found the Magi bread, helped herself, and was very proud when Mommy came to gather proof of the crime with the camera.

The kids aren't quite done with the creation mural, but they have a pretty good start on it. If you can't tell by the pictures, the top flips up like a flap to reveal what God created on that day. So far they have finished day 1,2, and most of 3. I think we'll work on finishing days 4-7 tomorrow.

My oldest daughter started 4th grade today and loves it. She was so excited about her new books. I am so glad! Her favorite new book is the St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism #1. "I've read about this book! Now I have one of my very own! I can't believe it!" Real quote, you can't make that sort of stuff up! Who would have thought that an 8-year-old would be excited about receiving a Catechism? I just hope she doesn't scream when I tell her she needs to write all her answers in cursive starting next week.

Our middle daughter officially started Kindergarten today. Though she's been reading now for a few months, I officially told her she was now a Kindergartner since she will be turning 5 this Thursday. You should have seen her face light up. You could tell she felt so important! We did a fun review of her shapes, number words, and color words. She also practiced her spelling words for the week and read me a book.

The color word recognition activity is what is pictured. I laid out the color words on a blanket. I called out a color, she would find a toy that color, and bring it back to place under the color word. To put everything away, I'd call out a color word. She'd pick up the toy and see how fast she could put it away while I counted out loud. It only took her about 7-10 seconds on average to put it away! You'd never know from this activity that she is my lazy child who would rather be punished than help clean.

I can't complain about anything today. We had a really great first day back to school. This was really a great start to the new school year! God be praised!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Catholic Homeschooling Quotes to ponder...

"Catholic homeschooling is the planned and organized teaching and training of children at home for their peaceful an effective life in this world, and for their eternal salvation in the world to come."

"Home schooling in the United States is the necessary concomitant of a culture in which the Church is being opposed on every level of her existence and, as a consequence, given the widespread secularization in our country, homeschooling is not only valuable or useful but it is absolutely necessary for the survival of the Catholic Church in our country. Homeschooling, in our country, is that form of teaching and training children at home in order to preserve the Catholic faith in our country."

~Father John Hardon, S.J.~

"Is it consistent to profess our beliefs in church on Sunday and then during the week to promote business practices or medical procedures contrary to those beliefs? Is it consistent for practicing Catholics to ignore or exploit the poor and the marginalized, to promote sexual behavior contrary to Catholic moral teaching, or to adopt positions that contradict the right to life of every human being from conception to natural death? Any tendency to treat religion as a private matter must be resisted. Only when their faith permeates every aspect of their lives do Christians become truly open to the transforming power of the Gospel."

"People today need to be reminded of the ultimate purpose of their lives. They need to recognized that implanted within them is a deep thirst for God. They need to be given opportunities to drink from the wells of His infinite love. It is easy to be entranced by the almost unlimited possibilities that science and technology place before us: it is easy to make the mistake of thinking we can obtain by our own efforts the fulfillment of our deepest needs. This in an illusion. Without God, Who alone bestows upon us what we ourselves cannot attain, our lives are ultimately empty. People need to be constantly reminded to cultivate a relationship with Him Who came that we might have life in abundance."

"The goal of all our pastoral and catechetical work, the object of our preaching, and the focus of our sacramental ministry should be to help people establish and nurture that living relationship with Christ Jesus, our hope...."

~Pope Benedict XVI, On the Role of the Church in the World, April 16, 2008~

I rediscovered these quotes today while trying to organize our classroom. They were from a homeschooling conference that I attended with my dear husband last summer. I thought they were worth sharing with others, so I decided to post them today. So, for any of those out there who still question our decision to home school, I hope you better understand where we are coming from and where we hope to go someday. I absolutely believe that it is my role as a mother to help my children to know, love, and serve the Lord here on earth so that they can be happy with him in heaven. After all, isn't that why God made us? Have a blessed day. God bless.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Interesting Start to the New Year...

We started off the new year a little differently than planned. My dear husband cut his thumb on a Leatherman (multi-tool pliers that is part pocket knife). Because my mother-in-law and her parents were able to watch the kids, we went to the hospital alone to get my dear husband stitched up. After 2 1/2 hrs of waiting we finally left the emergency room. The E.R. doctor put 6-7 stitches in the thumb and gave him an anti-biotic. In the picture he is sleeping on the couch after the whole ordeal. It amazes me sometimes how quickly he can fall asleep and in what appears to me to be a rather awkward position. And yes, that is one of the kids' stuffed animals he is using for a pillow. Happy New Year!