"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."
(1 Jn 4:16)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Are you going to a homeschooling conference?

Have you been trying to decide whether or not you should attend the Northwest Catholic Family Education Conference? (Please fill in the name of the homeschooling conference nearest you.)

Have your reasons for not attending been:
I can't go because my children are too young and I have no one to watch them.
We like to spend Saturday as a family.
We can't afford it.
It's too hard for me to get away from home on Friday.
I am a veteran home educator.

As much as I wanted to attend in the past, I did not do so for some of the reasons listed above and I regret it. I wish that someone had said to me:
If your children are young, attend the conference on Saturday as a family. You and your husband can share the responsibility of watching your children.

If you attend the Northwest Catholic Family Education Conference on a Saturday not only will you be there as a family, your husband will have the opportunity to spend time with other like-minded men. As mothers, we have the opportunity to receive encouragement from our friends, but our husbands are often surrounded by the secular and are unable to receive encouragement for being in the world, but not of the world.

Scholarships are available for those who need financial assistance. Please contact if you need a scholarship.

If you can't get away from home on Friday, come on Saturday.

Regardless of how long you have homeschooled, there is always something that you can learn. Several of the colleges listed in the The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College: What to Look for and Where to Find It will be at the conference to answer your questions. The colleges that will be present at the conference can be found here, Lee Binz will be speaking specifically about homeschooling during the high school years. As a mother and grandmother, Stephanie Maricich has a lot of wisdom to share.

The conference offers more than just homeschooling encouragement; it allows you to improve your family life and learn more about the Catholic faith and vocations. As a friend of mine said to me, the Northwest Catholic Family Education Conference is a celebration of family.

My family and I hope to see you on Friday and/or Saturday at the Northwest Catholic Family Education Conference.

You may register online at

Friday, April 25, 2008

Attempting the Impossible Booklist Confession

I have tried. I have really tried to read some of the books on my "Reading List". I have attempted to read Confessions of an Organized Homemaker: The Secrets of Uncluttering Your Home and Taking Control of Your Life, The Hidden Art of Homemaking, Simplify your life: get organized and stay that way, but I just can't do it. I can't help but think what a waste of time...I could be reading something else, or I could be cleaning. I did read Splendor in the Ordinary and Don Aslett's books without any trouble.

Perhaps my inability to read these books is because according to others I tend to be a naturally organized person. My house may be messy at times (I have six young children), but I do have a place for everything. Children's clothing has always been placed in marked bags and then into marked boxes/tubs. Toys have always had a home in containers of some sort. Bills have always been filed in the kitchen, where I see them often and am reminded to pay them in a timely fashion. Appointments, extracurricular activities, etc. are always written down as soon as they are scheduled. School supplies (pencils and art supplies included) have a home. Or maybe I am in self denial about the state of my home.

Does the fact that I cannot read the books on my list mean that I am giving up on making more room in our house by October? Definitely not, I am continuing to pray, give things away, and clean. Tomorrow, in addition to spending time weeding in the backyard, I fully intend to spend a couple of hours working on continuing to turn our old learning room into a bedroom.

If I am able to read any of the remaining books on my reading list, I will share. However, I am thinking that I will stick with reading what I prefer. What are the books that I prefer? I like to read anything written by Pope Benedict XVI, saint biographies and autobiographies, books on education, titles in Bethlehem Books' "Living History Library", Michael O'Brien's books, Melissa Wiley's books, classics, any of the numerous picture books or other books that I read aloud to my children, and the list goes on and on.

I have appreciated everyone's posts on organizing, homemaking, etc. Thank you!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

St. George's Feast Day

Yesterday, thanks to Jessica's new group food blog, Catholic Cuisine, Catherine made cupcakes in honor of St. George.

Finnian thoroughly enjoyed them.

After dinner, we read the story of St. George and the Dragon from William Bennett's The Children's Book of Virtues.

Thank you, Jessica and company.

As Mommy Weeds...

Finnian plays in the dirt

and tests the watering cans.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

More on Global Warming?

Last year, March to April's average temperature, in my neck of the woods, was 48 degrees. This year's average temperature for March to April was 42 degrees. It seems that this year's temperatures have been consistently lower than last years.

And this from Cardinal Pell

Hmmm...could it be "Global Freezing"? ;) .

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I Needed to Read This From Testosterhome

Future Gentlemen of America

"While negative behavior must be addressed, I find so much freedom when I recognize that some of my boys’ frustrating traits can eventually lead to very good things. Scaling the pantry walls shows motivation. Constant questions show a love of learning. If channeled correctly, this energy can inspire great things."

I need to remember the above quote when my middle son (age 3) paints the washer and dryer, colors on the windowsill and kitchen cabinets with a permanent marker, systematically removes the tiles from the bathroom counter, carves marks in his and his brother's bunk bed with a knitting needle, puts a hole in his bedroom door, breaks the bar in the freezer door by swinging from it, etc. God has blessed me with a loving big little boy (he is the average height of a 4 or 5 year old) who is full of physical energy. I can be fairly certain that if he is not by my side, then he is almost definitely destroying something in the house. Now, I just need to figure out, with God's help, how to channel his physical energy correctly.

Updated to add the above photo (taken by Catherine) of my little rascal. He truly is as mischievous and loving as he looks.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Global Warming?

I just got this email from our friend and realtor (no, we are not selling our house):


My deck has disappeared under this blizzard. It looks like it’s never going to stop.

This must have something to do with global warming or the CIA.

I’m going back to bed to hide until springtime.


Yes, you read that correctly. It is April 18 and it snowed in Western Washington today. My children and I were shocked to see the white fluffy stuff coming down. It does not snow in Western Washington in April, except in the mountains.
The last time that it snowed in Western Washington in April was on April 17, 1972 and I was not around to see it, so this is a first for me.

Last Day to Save!

Based on the number of registrations that the Northwest Catholic Family Education Conference has received since last night, I know that many Catholic homeschooling families, who live in the Northwest, are already aware of the following, but just in case you somehow missed this information:

If you want to save money on the Northwest Catholic Family Education Conference, please register online or via snail mail today, Conference prices increase $10 tomorrow, Saturday, April 19.

Families and/or individuals are welcome to register for the conference at the door if need be.

The conference organizers are looking forward to seeing everyone on May 2 and May 3!


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI's Words

The Vatican is providing all of Pope Bendedict XVI's messages, etc. to the U.S. during his visit on their website. They can be found here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

April Shower of Photos

Homeschool Field Trip to Odyssey
April 4, 2008

Playing a Board Game with Daddy on Sunday
April 6, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

Celebrate the Visit!

"The Pope in America 2008"

Thank you to the children's choir director at Holy Family in Seattle for sharing the above link which has "free reproducibles to use with children of many ages in celebration of our Holy Father's visit."

April's Shower of Photos

I wanted to participate in April's Shower of Photos as soon as I read about it. However, since our photos are on our main computer and I tend to use our laptop when I blog, I dared not commit. I do have some photos that I want to share and take, though, so I am going to try and join in late.
Photos taken at Woodland Park Zoo
April 3, 2008

Mountain Goat

Brother Grizzly Bears

Taking a Short Break

The dishes, the laundry, the toys...

Brendan: "Our house would be a lot messier if you didn't have all of us."
...a lot messier!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

This is how I know the boy can dance

Finnian has been known to stop whatever he is doing and start dancing when he hears music.

I pray that everyone is having a happy and holy Sunday and that you all have a blessed week!

My Youngest Sister's Family

I just saw that my sister had emailed some photos of her family, via Costco, over a week ago.
I always like receiving family photos. Their baby is my godson.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Lessons from a Closet

When we first moved into our current house, my husband and I knew that our bedroom closet, with a single rod for hanging clothes and no shelves, would not work for us. Thus, my husband dutifully went to the store and purchased ClosetMaid #1628. Due to the fact that I have always liked clothes, our closet was still overflowing. Every time I opened the closet door, I was disturbed by how messy it looked. There simply was not enough space for my clothes, let alone my husbands. Therefore, for the first couple of years, I occasionally found myself wishing that we had his and her closets like my parents. Then, I became realistic.

I started to give unused or outdated clothing away. I eradicated my temptation to buy clothes by avoiding the clothing stores that I had once frequented. Every other year, I took everything out of our closet, vacuumed the carpet, and gave away a few clothes (my husband gave away a lot more). Somehow, our closet still remained full.

Two weeks ago, I continued my impossible challenge by taking everything out of the closet. After vacuuming the carpet, my husband and I worked section by section determining what we should keep and what we should give away. When all was said and done, we had several bags of clothing, seven boxes of shoes (my feet have grown 1 1/2 sizes since getting married) to give away, and a little boy sitting on the floor of our closet.

Seeing Finnian sitting on the floor of the closet, gave me some food for thought. I had never seen one of my children sitting on the floor of our closet; there had never been enough room to do so. Why was there more room in the closet this year?

Upon reflection, I realized that, somewhere along the way, I had started buying clothes only out of necessity. I also realized that I had finally accepted the fact that if I hadn't worn something for a while, then I would not miss it and that just because x amount of money had been spent on something, did not mean that I needed to keep it. For the first time, I had given away more than or the same amount of clothing as my husband and I felt so much better for it. I can finally look in our closet without thinking that it is messy and I can also see Finnian sitting on the closet floor. I learned to live within our means a long time ago. I am slowly learning how to live within the space with which God has blessed us.

Northwest Catholic Family Education Conference

The Northwest Catholic Family Education Conference is three weeks away. Fr. Nagel will be the first speaker on Friday and as the mother of three boys, so far, I cannot wait to hear his talk, "Forming men of God: Theological reflections upon what it means to be and to raise Catholic men".


If you have not already registered for the conference, you may want to do so this week, as registration prices increase $10 after April 18.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI's Message to the U.S.

He is looking forward to his visit. I wish that my family could be in New York or Washington. I would so like to see Pope Benedict XVI.

Priests are Always Watching

On Sunday, the visiting priest asked my eldest son how old he was and then proceeded to congratulate him on his knowledge of the Nicene Creed.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Don't miss this article

Elizabeth has shared her wisdom. I wish that I had read it a couple of years ago, but it may not have made a difference at the time. I am ready for this message now.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

John Paul II was “a sign and witness of the Resurrection of Christ,” says Pope

Vatican City, Apr 2, 2008 / 10:41 am (CNA).- Recalling with emotion the passing of Pope John Paul II three years ago today, Pope Benedict said April 2 will remain imprinted on the mind of the Church as the day when the Servant of God departed from this world.

Thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for a memorial Mass in honor of the beloved pope, whose abiding memory continues to draw thousands of visitors every day to his tomb inside St. Peter's Basilica.

Pope Benedict said that the life and pontificate, was as a whole and in many specific moments, "a sign and witness of the Resurrection of Christ."

John Paul II died on the eve of the second Sunday of Easter, the fulfillment of the "day that the Lord has made."

The Holy Father said, "Like three years ago, today we are not far from Easter. The heart of the Church is still deeply immersed in the mystery of the Resurrection of the Lord. Indeed, we can read the entire life of my beloved predecessor, in particular his Petrine ministry, as a sign of the Risen Christ.”

Recalling how today is the day John Paul II died, Benedict XVI said, "His agony was beheld by all this "day," in this space-time that is the new ' "eighth day," desired by the Holy Trinity through the work of the Incarnate Word, dead and risen.

"In this spiritual dimension,” the Holy Father said that “Pope John Paul II repeatedly demonstrated that he was some way immersed in this mystery during his life, especially in carrying out the mission of the Supreme Pontiff."

Since childhood, Karol Wojtyla experienced the truth of St. Paul's words, 'if we die with him, we shall also live with him. If we persevere with him, we also reign with him" (2 Tim 2,11-12), the Pope said.

Please visit the Catholic News Agency to read more about what Pope Benedict XVI had to say about John Paul II.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Library Books Arrived

My husband checked out some of the books from my reading list yesterday. After skimming through them, I realized that Better Homes and Gardens: Stretching Living Space was not what I had hoped for. The photos were reminiscent of the 70s and did not inspire me. I will be removing this book from my list and substituting it for Don Aslett's Clutter's Last Stand: It's Time To De-junk Your Life! and Is There Life After Housework. A friend gave me these books a couple of years ago and I devoured them.

The latter book had some wonderful cleaning tips. Mr. Aslett gave instructions on how to clean a microwave's fan. He gave advice on how to let your spray cleaner do the work for you, what types of doormats to use, and numerous other time-saving tips.

I did not agree with his dismissal of vinegar as a cleaner. While I do not like using vinegar on windows or mirrors, I often use it to clean counter tops. Since I like having my children clean with me, I lean towards safer or more natural cleaning products. Baking soda and peppermint-scented castille liquid soap work really well when cleaning a bath tub. My eldest son thoroughly enjoys sprinkling the big bag of Costco Baking Soda into the bath and helping me scrub away the soap scum.

Oops, I am rambling again. Happy cleaning!

Rambling Answer to Jessica's Chore Question

Brendan is seven. Theresa is five. Theresa decided to start doing the dishes on her own a couple of months ago. This made me aware that her brother was more than capable of this job.

Friends refer to Theresa as my independent child. She really enjoys cleaning. However, the thought of using the big vacuum had, understandably, overwhelmed her.

The yellow vacuum is one that we purchased at Costco eight years ago at the recommendation of my mom. She told me that it was perfect for little children to use. The Amazon picture does not show it, but the handle actually goes down, making the vacuum the perfect height for a 5 year old. Actually, my three year old (average height of a four or five year old) enjoys using this vacuum, too. He also likes using the hose and carpet attachment on our regular vacuum to do the stairs. He is very upset that I have not assigned him any chores, so I am trying to figure out what I can have him do. I have had him help me make cupcakes and bread in lieu of chores, recently.

I am somewhat lax about broken plates and glasses (other than making sure children do not get cut). I see broken dishes as part of learning to use them. That said, we have never had any dishes broken when they are being washed. You might ask your son to start by washing his plate and utensils plus a younger siblings plate and utensils. If he wants to do more, let him.

Thanks to my mom, I tend to lean towards a Montessori type philosophy when teaching my children to do things around the house. When the child shows an interest, I teach them how to do it.
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