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

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Making Siblings Happy

The other night, Brendan and Theresa were upset because they had lost a privilege.  Knowing that his siblings were upset, Patrick told them the following, "Brendan, you will be happy.  Theresa, you will be happy."  Then he paused and with a silly face and funny voice he exclaimed, "I've gone mad!"  He elicited smiles from both of his siblings.

Friday, March 26, 2010

In Loving Memory

My husband put this slideshow together last year for his mother's wake.  "Danny Boy" was one of her favorite songs.  My mother-in-law was a very loving, giving, and thoughtful person. I miss her.  Please pray for the repose of  her soul.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Social Whirlwind

I thought that Ginny Seuffert shared some great ideas in Seton's newsletter this month (she usually does). I especially appreciated the advice that she shared in her last paragraph. With this in mind, I am sharing her article below:

Social Whirlwind
by Ginny Seuffert, Seton Home Study School Newsletter, March 2010

I spoke to a Midwestern mom not too long ago who inspired me to write this column. This mom loves home schooling and loves Seton, but she wishes she had more opportunities to meet and socialize with other home schooling, or even just observant, Catholic families. The conversation reminded me that many Catholics have not spent their lives near heavily populated major metropolitan areas. For some families, it is too far to travel to a home school support group, and if a parish does not offer activities outside of Mass and devotions, a family can feel isolated from other practicing Catholics. Often home schooling moms, especially with lots of children, feel that it is tough to keep the house “guest-ready” on top of her other responsibilities. Should home educators just write off socialization as one of those sacrifices we need to make in order to have the time to teach our children at home?

Absolutely not!

Like bees and ants, God made humans to be social creatures. Our children need companions. In large families, their best buddies will be their brothers and sisters, but their lives will also be enriched by cousins and other friends their own age. Children will naturally seek age-appropriate acquaintances on their own. Wise parents try to steer them towards pals from families with the same values, knowing they will enjoy peace of mind when the same principles of good behavior they try to instill are reinforced in the homes of friends. Sharing good times with friends is something children eagerly anticipate, enjoy immensely, and remember fondly.

 Adults, too, benefit from fun times with extended family and friends. In most parts of our country, being an observant Catholic is counter-cultural. Neighbors and acquaintances question—sometimes rudely—how we are called to live. Just ask parents with more than two or three children, how often they are asked, “Is this it?” when a new baby arrives. Total strangers on the grocery store checkout line have asked me if I could give my children the “attention they deserve.” While we need bravely to live up to the demands of the Gospel, it is very relaxing occasionally to be in the company of adults who are not asking us to defend our lifestyles.

Of course, it is one thing to be convinced that sharing good times with like-minded people is important, and quite another to find some free time and make plans. Here are a few ideas that have worked for me and my friends.

Breakfast Club

A group of home schooling moms formed an informal support group and met on the second Saturday morning of each month for breakfast. They chose a reasonably priced casual dining establishment so everyone could afford it. The only rule was that attendance was restricted to moms and new babies; the point was for moms to get away from husbands and childcare and have a few laughs. [I am not looking to get away from my husband and children.  In fact, I don't like being away from them; however, I do occasionally enjoy spending uninterrupted time with friends.]

This worked on several levels. First, Saturday morning was a good choice because most husbands were home, eliminating the need for childcare. Second, by meeting for breakfast, busy moms still had enough hours in the day to go grocery shopping and clean the house. By making the breakfast a regular monthly occurrence, it was easy to remember. Because it was such an informal gathering, if only a few moms showed up, those few could still share a fun time. Finally, these relaxed get-togethers were an ideal opportunity to introduce a mother who was contemplating home schooling, to mothers who were actually doing it.

A mothers’ breakfast club is economical, fun, and no one must clean her house!

Sunday Brunch

House cleaning is often put on the back burner during the week in a busy home schooling household; there are just not enough hours in the day. As many of us play catch-up on Saturday, our best shot for a clean house is on Sunday morning. A very good way to take advantage of this occasional cleanliness, and a no fuss, no muss, social opportunity, is Sunday-after-Mass brunch.

Invite some nice families you would like to know, or like to know better, to your house after morning Mass. All you need is coffee, tea, milk for the kiddies, and some baked goods. My sister, my daughter-in-law, and I rotated houses for several years and it was very easy and low-key. If you can make this a regular affair, have each family bring a box of doughnuts or bagels, and have the host supply the beverages and some fruit.
 To save on clean up time, use paper plates and cups, and move the brunch outside during the warm weather months.

Holy Day Parties

I am putting the finishing touches on this column on Fat Tuesday (or Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras). Tonight we have invited a few people over. I planned a dinner that can be put on platters on the table, and we bought some paczki, a Polish traditional pastry that gives one a little taste of Heaven before starting Lent. Gathering together to eat fish on Christmas Eve or St. Joseph’s bread on March 19 reminds us of Catholic cultural traditions that have almost disappeared since the Second Vatican Council. Try to plan just one event a year around a Catholic celebration: sweets on St. Valentine’s Day or a saint dress-up party for All Saints’ Day.

As a final thought, moms, do not be like the author of this column. Too often, I turned down an opportunity to entertain because my furniture was threadbare, or the door was falling off the bathroom vanity, and I was ashamed for people to see my house. I waited until we could save the money to make our house more presentable. Through the years I have learned that Catholics who are eager to spend time with like-minded families really do not care what your home looks like. They just want some shared time and support. You will never regret time spent with other Catholic families.

The text between [  ] are my thoughts.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

April Picture Book Basket

I noticed this classic by Arthur Ransome in Little Saints: A Catholic Preschool Program when my eldest son was three and immediately put it on hold at the library.  When the Czar of Russia announces that whoever builds a flying ship will marry his daughter, the two eldest and favored sons in a family set out to try and build the ship and are never heard from again.  Eventually, the youngest son leaves home to try his luck.  Along the way, the fool of the world meets an old man who gives him instructions on how to build a flying ship.  The fool listens to the old man and succeeds in building the ship.  As he journeys to the Czar, he meets some interesting people and they are all invited to climb into the ship.  The fool's traveling companions help him overcome hurdles, so that he can marry the princess.  My husband and I have read this humorous story numerous times over the years to our children and they thoroughly enjoy listening to it.

When one of my children pulled this book off the library shelf, I noticed that Red Butterfly: How a Princess Smuggled the Secret of Silk Out of China was sitting next to it. Knowing that we had enjoyed reading Red Butterfly, I checked to see whether Deborah Noyes was the author.  After confirming that this was the case, I added the book in my child's hand to our growing stack of titles to check out.  I am glad that I did.

Deborah Noyes writes in the "time of Rembrandt" about a young girl, Hana, and her father's tulip prospecting. Hana wants to be a doctor and tends to her father's ailments, but as her father worries about his "tulip business", he seems to grow farther and farther away from her.  Hana tries to cheer him up with a sprig of rosemary, fireflies, and by weaving nature's simple smile out of daisies.  Eventually, Hana (Rembrandt's student) paints a beautiful tulip for her father and succeeds in drawing him out.

This book would make a nice accompaniment to a study of Rembrandt.  (Book added on September 29, 2010).

Home for a Bunny (Big Little Golden Book)Home for a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown*
This Little Golden Book has been read to my children over and over again, since Mrs. Lowry (a friend and Montessori teacher) gave it to my two eldest several years ago.  All of my children enjoy listening as the bunny meets various animals in his search for "a home for a bunny, a home of his own, under a rock, under a stone, under a log, or under the ground. Where would a bunny find a home?"

Mortimer's First Garden        Mortimer's First Garden by Karma Wilson
We really enjoyed Mortimer's Christmas Manger, so when I saw this book, I knew that I needed to check it out.  Wanting to see something green at the end of winter, Mortimer plants his last sunflower seed.   He waits and waits for it to grow.  Eventually, Mortimer's doubt is transformed into hope.  With a little patience and help from God, he sees his sunflower seed produce amazing results.  My children appreciate Dan Andreasen's oil pastel illustrations.
Although I will most likely check this book out again, it is not one that I would want to include in our personal home library.

A Nest Full of Eggs by Priscilla Belz Jenkins
This book follows the development of baby robins from the beginning of one spring to the beginning of the next. This Lets-Read-and-Find-Out Science book has a good amount of information to help young children learn more about robins.

Otters under Water (Picture Books)Otters Under Water by Jim Arnosky
In Otters Under Water, Jim Arnosky tells the story of two young otter pups swimming and playing in the water.  The simple, one-line text on each page is enhanced by Arnosky's beautifully realistic colored pencil and watercolor illustrations.  My children enjoy both listening to the story and simply looking at all the details of nature that Jim Arnosky has included in this book. 

Rabbits and Raindrops (Picture Puffins)Rabbits and Raindrops by Jim Arnosky
The watercolor illustrations in this book are what originally grabbed our attention several years ago.  The detail that Jim Arnosky put into depicting raindrops is truly amazing.  The illustrations are complemented by Arnosky's story of five young rabbits who enjoy leaving their nest under the hedge for the very first time.

I first learned about Jim Arnosky from Michael O'Brien's Landscape with Dragons.  In addition to Arnosky's Otters Under Water (mentioned above), I also recommend many of his other nature books.

Spring Story (Brambly Hedge)Spring Story (Brambly Hedge) by Jill Barklem
A Montessori teacher and friend introduced us to the Brambly Hedge books about 10 years ago.  She enticed me to check them out from the library by sharing that they came in a nice compact size, like Beatrix Potter's books.  In this story, Wilfred celebrates his birthday by going on a picnic.  When he gets there, he is delighted with what Mr. Apple and the other mice of Brambly Hedge have planned for him.

Saint George and the DragonSaint George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman (April 23)*
Margaret Hodges has successfully adapted Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene for young listeners.  After a three-day battle, George, the Red Cross Knight, slays the dragon who has terrorized the countryside for years, restoring peace and joy.

Take It to the Queen: A Tale of HopeTake It to the Queen: A Tale of Hope by Josephine Nobisso*
I am looking forward to reading this book for the first time after Easter and will update this listing at that time.  I have heard some wonderful things about it. 

Where does the butterfly go when it rainsWhere does the butterfly go when it rains by May Garelick
In this book, May Garelick shares where creatures go when it rains.  The title is perfect since we often release butterflies from Insect Lore in April.

As always, the books marked with an asterisk belong to my family's home library.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

U.S. Census: Partially Wrong Address

I filled in the U.S. Census Bureau Information and was going to mail it tomorrow, but thankfully we received a reminder card in the mail today.  My eldest daughter looked at the card and said, "This is addressed incorrectly.  It has the wrong city."  I never even noticed.  The house address is correct, the state is correct, and the zip code is correct.  I'm assuming that we received the U.S. Census Bureau mailings because of the zip code.  I am wondering whether the Census Bureau made the same mistake with everyone who lives in our zip code.  If so, did others notice?  If not, it will really skew the population results for the city in which we live.

I will be calling the U.S. Census Bureau in the morning.

Getting What He Wants

Finnian: "Mommy, is it time to come inside?  It's been a long day!"

Me: "You can come in if you want."

Finnian: "I mean is it time to come inside?  It's been a long day!"

Me: "Yes, it's time for you to come inside."

Finnian (overheard a few minutes later): "Children, Mommy says it's time to come inside."

Monday, March 22, 2010

What I am Reading

Transformation in Christ: On the Christian AttitudeI am currently reading what is available of Transformation in Christ on Google Reader.  It is a lot slower than reading a physical copy of this work and I am very tempted to just buy Dietrich von Hildebrand's book.  It is excellent!

A Year With SaintsI am also reading A Year with the Saints on Google Reader. Each month focuses on a specific virtue with a quote and reflections on that virtue for each day. This is easier to navigate on Google Reader than Transformation in Christ, as I can choose the page where I stopped, save it as a pdf, copy and paste, etc. I will most likely read this book in this format each year; although, an actual copy would be nice too.

Note:  Thank you to Michele for making me aware that the first book was available on Google Reader. Another Catholic homeschooling mother recommended the latter book on her blog.  I will give credit where credit is due, as soon as I find the original recommendation.

Thank You Sacred Heart Books and Gifts

Thank you to to Sacred Heart Books and Gifts and the person (or people) who have been clicking on the link in my sidebar to purchase books, gifts, videos, and/or homeschool curriculum from them.  On Saturday, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a check from Linda Nelson.  At the same time, I felt very humbled.  Even though the money is helpful, I would recommend Sacred Heart Books and Gifts regardless of their affiliate program.  Linda has given me some excellent advice over the last year or two.  Her company offers some great products; almost everything is sold at discount prices.  May God continue to bless Linda and her apostolate, Sacred Heart Books and Gifts!

Sacred Heart Books and Gifts

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Requiescat in Pace Fr. Paul Marx, OSB

It was with a sad heart that I learned from LifeSiteNews that Fr. Paul Marx, the founder of Human Life International and one of the greatest pro-life leaders the world has ever known, has died.  LifeSiteNews shared the following words from Fr. Frank Pavone:
"I just learned with sorrow of the death of one of the world's greatest pro-life advocates, Fr. Paul Marx, OSB.

"Fr. Marx was, first and foremost, a priest who was not afraid to be a prophet. He knew that his mission in bearing witness to the Gospel and in fostering love of God and neighbor compelled him to speak up for our smallest neighbors, those in the first moments and weeks of life. He undertook countless initiatives, made seemingly endless trips, gave innumerable talks, wrote a warehouse of articles and books, and inspired countless people in the effort to build a Culture of Life.

"I first came to know Fr. Marx through his founding and leadership of Human Life International and the remarkable conferences he held for pro-life advocates around the world. He was always a clear reminder to his brother priests that we should never be afraid to speak about abortion, contraception, and the beauty of human sexuality as taught by the Church. All of us at Priests for Life are grateful for the strong encouragement he gave to our ministry. We will pray not only for the repose of his soul, but for the continued fruit of his labors in the minds and hearts of so many people and in the policies of so many nations."
I met Fr. Paul Marx at a Human Life International conference in Tacoma.  My husband (we were dating at the time) and I attended this conference together each day.  During a break, I saw Fr. Marx in the hallway and he asked me if I wanted to go to confession.  His words took me by surprise, but they echo Fr. Pavone's statement, "Fr. Paul Marx was, first and foremost, a priest..."

Lent and Easter Picture Book Basket

The Beautiful Story of JesusThe Beautiful Story of Jesus by Maite Roche
Maite Roche chronicles the story of Jesus' life from the Annunciation to the Descent of the Holy Spirit.
I purchased this book from the Daughters of St. Paul at our local Catholic homeschool conference and I am happy that I did. Patrick really enjoys listening to it.

Anya's family is poor because Papa is at war.  Anya has watched her mother decorate Easter eggs, since she was small, but this year they do not have any to decorate.  When a fox kills a goose, Anya finds an abandoned nest with four goose eggs inside. She decides to surprise her family with Easter eggs, traditional Ukrainian pysanky.  Little does she realize that there is a surprise in store for her.

The Parables of Jesus by Tomie dePaola
This book presents seventeen of the parables told by Jesus, including “The Good Samaritan” and “The Lost Sheep”.

My Path to Heaven: A Young Person's Guide to the Faith by Fr. Geoffrey Bliss, SJ
Fr. Bliss' book provides a wonderful little retreat for children during Lent. The black-and-white pictures have intrigued some of my children. They can be copied, printed and given to children to color.

Petook: An Easter Story by Caryll Houselander
My eldest wrote the following review of Petook when she was six:
"The story takes place on a farm near Jerusalem when Jesus was alive.  Petook and Martha are the main characters.  Martha and Petook had 12 little chicks.  Petook though a boy was going to step on the chicks.  He saw the boy admiring the chicks.  Years later, Petook saw someone die on a cross.  On Easter, a chick came out of its egg.  I like the story because it is about Easter."
She still likes the story.

Rechenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco
Catherine, Bernadette, and I discovered this wonderful book on a library shelf about ten years ago.  Babushka, who makes prize-winning pysanky, finds a wounded goose and brings it into her house.  As the goose, Rechenka begins to heal, she flies around knocking over Babushka's paints and ruining her Easter eggs.  Babushka is upset until something miraculous happens.  This story appealed to my children and the beauty of the eggs intrigued them. 

Thanks to Deirdre, Rechenka's Eggs, and Easter Eggs for Anya, we will be doing more than just dyeing Easter eggs this year; my older children will hopefully begin a tradition of making Pysanky using this kit from the Ukrainian Gift Shop. 

The Story of the Easter RobinThe Story of the Easter Robin by Dandi Daley Mackall
As Tressa worries about the robin eggs outside Gran's window, Gran tries to ease her worrying. While she and Tressa make egg birds, Gran tells Tressa about the legend of the robin's red breast.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...