Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Holy Season of Lent

I am following the lead of Kimberly at Catholic Family Vignettes for making my Lenten season more meaningful. Here is a tiny snippet from her blog:


Time to give up, take up, let go and accept all that God has in store for us throughout the Holy Season.

In this family, we try to focus equally upon that which we will take up, as well as give up. Sometimes, the truest sacrifice is not that which we’ve forsaken, but that which we’ve embraced."

During the Holy Season of Lent we will:

~give up TV on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, & Saturdays. We will also give up desert except on Sundays and First Class Feast Days.

~take up going to daily Mass on Fridays and Saturdays, recite the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the family Rosary daily. We often do these things, but never on a regular basis and I hope that Lent will help us become more consistant in our devotions.

~let go of distractions. We are going to limit computer time 2 days per week (this includes blogging and Facebook). We want to focus on spending less time doing meaningless activities. This will be hard for me because I love to read blogs and see all my friends and family on Facebook.

~embrace more quality family time. Read together more and listen to each other. Embrace the Gospels. Spend time reading the bible as a family. Also, see where we can help in the community and actively help.

I really want to address my spirtual lazyness and stick to what I have set out to do. I set goals and then give up because of lazyness. I am missing out on so many graces and I know this. Focusing on Christ is the most important goal and I neglect it. I will be posting less and hopefully following through with my efforts to receive Sanctifying Grace.

40 Ways to Improve Your Lent

This is an interesting list that I found when researching ways to make my Lent more meaningful. This list is a few years old, but is still relevant. I changed the original 26 which suggested watching "The Passion of Christ" instead of the Academy Awards. The Academy Awards were this past weekend, so I suggested watching the "Passion of Christ" anyways.

40 Ways to Improve Your Lent

By Brian T. Olszewski
Catholic Herald Staff

During Lent, the church instructs its members to make prayer, fasting and almsgiving integral parts of their lives. For you who wish to supplement your spiritual diet, your Catholic Herald presents the following 40 options for prayer, fasting and almsgiving, in no particular order, as ways to help you experience a grace-filled Lent — a Lent in which you deepen your relationship with God.

1. Learn about your patron saint.
2. Pray for — by name — people you don’t like and for people that don’t like you.
3. Participate in a healing service.
4. Read a Catholic magazine every time you visit the library.
5. March 19, in honor of St. Joseph, patron saint of carpenters and fathers, build or build upon a relationship with one of your children.
6. Buy two of everything on your grocery list, and give the duplicates to the local food pantry.
7. Find out why you should have fun on Laetare Sunday, and then do so.
8. Start a “cuss bowl.” For every unkind word you utter, put in a dollar — two dollars during Holy Week. After Easter, give the money to an English as a second language program.
9. Bring a “Baltimore Catechism” to a gathering of Catholic friends, and start asking each other questions.
10. Give away a material item you really value.
11. Pray for those, e.g., children, parents, spouse, siblings, who have left the church.
12. Talk to a neighbor you rarely or never talk to.
13. Keep a dish of ashes in a prominent place as a constant reminder of the season.
14. Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
15. Test your knowledge of Scripture.
16. Read a biography about Archbishop Oscar Romero and/or watch the video “Romero.”
17. Open a Christmas Club account with the intention of giving the money to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
18. Visit a church when you don’t have to.
19. Reserve a button on your car stereo for the Relevant Radio station in your area.
20. Pray the news — for the people whose stories of hardship are reported daily and weekly.
21. Read an entry from a Catholic encyclopedia.
22. Attend Mass at a parish other than your own
23. Tithe your tax return.
24. If Catholic schools get NCAA tournament bids, learn for whom those schools were named.
25. Observe five minutes of silence every day.
26. Watch “The Passion of the Christ.”
27. Use a Lenten theme in decorating part of a room.
28. Memorize a Proverb.
29. Participate in a faith formation presentation.
30. Tell someone your story(ies) of faith, how God has made a difference in your life.
31. Disconnect the TV and/or the computer.
32. Identify your God-given gifts, how you use them, and how you could use them better.
33. Fast from gossip.
34. Pull the rosary out of your drawer and say it. Too boring? Say the Scriptural rosary.
35. Remove your watch before leaving for church on Palm Sunday.
36. Develop a prayer list.
37. Read a history of the papacy.
38. Find out who Raamah, Putiel, and Uzzah are.
39. Sacrifice your time in order to help others.
40. In the words of St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.”

Monday, February 23, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook ~ February 23, 2009.

 For Today...

Outside my window... the air smells like it is going to snow.

I am thinking... I can't wait until the two feet of snow finally disappears. When is winter ever going to be over!

From the learning rooms... Music and German lessons are finally on the table. I have been meaning to do more of these subjects for a long, long time.

I am thankful for... a loving husband. I was so sick again last night and he was always waiting to help in any way he could. I hate being around people when they are throwing up. I gag and feel sick when other throw up. God bless my husband.

From the kitchen... I am not sure. Something that is easy on the stomach.

I am wearing... jogging clothes. I am an all dresses and skirts gal, but not when I am sick.

I am reading... hopefully, the special books I ordered for Lent. I hope that they arrive son.

I am hoping... that I can find out what I am reacting too. I hate getting sick.

I am creating... notebooking pages. I am so glad that I found a tutorial.

I am hearing... the kids doing their school work. I love when they get an ah-ha after figuring out something difficult. Noah is planning ways to use the newly learned Roman numerals.

Around the house... cat hair. I have to vacuum. I love our cat, but I hate cat hair. It gets on everything.

One of my favorite things... playing Wii with the kids. We finally bought a Wii on the weekend and it is so much fun. Noah is a great boxer and Mia is an amazing bowler. I am used to winning all the time, so this is very humbling.

A few plans for the rest of the week... preparing everyone for Lent. Looking for ways to make it more meaningful for the whole family.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you... Mia learning how to sew doll clothes.

Friday, February 20, 2009


We love to notebook and lapbook and be very creative. We use the Charlotte Mason Method of teaching/learning in our home for most of our subjects. This requires the children to learn using living books and have them narrarate what they have learned. I have found that this is not only an effective way of learning, but a most rewarding one. Noah has become quite talented and thorough in his narrations. Mia gets easily frustrated because she can't remember all of the details as well as her brother. She likes to draw, but hates to write. I started using free notebooking pages from several websites to make narrarating a little more appealing to her. Here are a few sources that I find helpful:

Notebooking Nook
Notebooking Pages
Our Los Banos Homeschool

The minimum of what I expect from her for the time being is a picture (drawn by her, cut out of a magazine or a colouring page) and a few key sentences about what we have read. Sometimes we just use key sentences from the book and use them as copywork. To me, it is important that she retains the information. When she doesn't write things down or draw a picture, she forgets the whole story, lesson or whatever we were working on. Girls love to make things pretty, as does Mia and this has been the key to her success in retaining information. The only drawback so far is that we can't always find notebooking pages (FOR FREE) that correspond to what we are learning. Luckily I have stumbled upon a really neat http://www.squidoo.com/make-notebooking-pages and have just created my first notebooking page for our upcoming study of Franz Liszt. What do you think?

You can use this notebooking page, but for personal use only. Not for retail sale.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Small Successes

1. I managed to thoroughly brush the dog twice this week. Any poodle owner knows that brushing the dog twice a week is a must, but I don't claim to be the best poodle owner. In the summer he gets brushed almost daily. We don't do school in the summer, so I have lots of time.

2. I cleaned the carpets! I finally got around to borrowing a friend's carpet cleaner and the carpets on the upper floor got a good cleaning. The carpets are light coloured and with kids and animals they were looking pretty well... you know what I mean.

3. I finished knitting my son's hat. I only started it in November. hehe

My success are literally small. What are your successes? No matter how big or small, a success is a success. Let's encourage each other in our successes. Share them at Faith and Family Live.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Well, it turns out the car only cost $439 to fix and there doesn't appear to be any motor damage. We are praying that there are no more surprises like this for a while. Living on a budget can be difficult, but not impossible. God has been so good to us and we are so grateful.

Despite our financial difficulties as of late, we are praying for more children. It appears that we are suffering from secondary infertility. We have three children already, so it appears that I am a very fertile woman. The first two times around we were pregnant the second month of trying. We tried for a year for our third and now we have been trying for over two years for more. I miscarried between the first two as well. I am a very lucky woman. There are many couples who try for many years to conceive to no avail. I pray for them and can not imagine their pain. The love that my husband and I have is so great. I come from a large family and have always wanted to have a large family and never thought that infertility would affect me. We have even considered adopting and filed the first round of papers. It appears that it would be diffictult because we have not lived in this country long enough. We need to provide papers from Germany that simply do not exist and therefore are forced either to wait three to four more years until these papers are no longer imperative to our legibility. So we wait and pray and continue on with our life. God has a plan and I am trying to be patient while watching it unfold. Only he knows when... and I pray that I can openly accept his plan no matter what.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Trying Not To Panic

The car is in the shop and it is our only means of transportation. It is already going to cost around $500 and we still don't know if the motor is damaged. If it is damaged, then we need a new motor and that will cost tons of $$$ (my 3 yr. old's favourite saying). Right now we are so strapped for cash. About a month ago, we received a letter from the government. They reassessed our 2007 income tax and realized that they refunded us just short of $2500 too much. They gave us two weeks to come up with the money. We were debt free for the first time of our married life for three weeks when we received this huge bill. It was such a great feeling to be debt free. We had to pay using our line of credit and now the car. With the recession in the States, investors are holding back their money. My husband is working in a trade that depends on these investors. Right now the project they are working on is in full swing, but will be finished in March or April. They are waiting for the confirmation on the bids they have made for future projects. I don't even want to know what will happen if he gets laid off. Incurring debts is not something I prefer to do right now. All I can do now is have enough faith and to pray that God will provide.

I have a Steiff teddy bear collection that is worth a bit of money. I was doing some research on what some of the bears are possibly worth. The bears I have are mostly limited edtion bears and worth a lot. My only problem is figuring out how or where to sell them. If you know anyone who collects Steiff teddy bears, please direct them here. Does anyone know if you can sell things directly from your blog? I am not sure of the regulations.

My Little Knight in Shining Armour

I found a really cute pattern for a dinosaur hat for my three year old. He likes dinosaurs a lot. I bought yarn in the fall to make some scarves, hats and mitts for the kids for Christmas. Well, things got busy and I only finished one pair of mits, one hat and one scarf. I wanted to finished a set for each child. Between them they had a set. Those who know me, know that I start a project, let it sit for a while and then eventually I finish it. I finally parially finished the above mentioned pattern when I realized that the colour makes better knight gear than a dinosaur hat. The material is so soft that the dinosaur spikes would fall over. In the end, my three year was thrilled and my eight year old is begging for his own. There are some mistakes, but I hope they don't show too much.

Family Day

Yesterday, here in the province of Alberta, we celebrated Family Day. There were a number of free events taking place all over the city, but we opted for a day at home. After it warmed up yesterday, we managed to reach a sunny -6C. It was warm enough for a nice bonfire.

Sascha got the fire going while I made some cornbread style muffins. Being gluten free forces you to be inventive. Nobody complains anymore that we can't eat our favourite hotdogs on buns. They know that whatever mom makes will be fine and trust that we will make the best of any situation. Going out is still a challenge. All of the free events around the city had concession stands full of stuff we couldn't eat. We just can't buy something when we are out, things need to be planned. We are not very good at planning ahead. I also make almost everything from scratch and don't buy typical snack foods. We have learned to snack on fruit. So, you can see why we opt out of going to many places. We plan on doing some camping this summer, but this will have to be thoroughly planned.

Here are the pictures of our Canadian, mid-winter, sub-zero bonfire! Are you proud of us mom?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Daybook Entry for February 9, 2009.

For Today...

Outside my window... the snow is slowly melting and the sun is shining.

I am thinking... how much I miss Germany. I miss the walks on the banks of the Rhein, trips to the Rheinaue, the Eifel region and bicycle paths.

From the learning rooms... gearing up for our facilitator's visit and trying to accomplish our outcomes for this visit.

I am thankful for... a good night's sleep. I haven't had too many lately.

From the kitchen... gluten free heavenly hash no bake cookies. Yummmmm.

I am wearing... my jean skirt, a black long-sleeve shirt and my felted wool vest.

I am reading... Mothers of the Saints by Wendy Leifeld.

I am hoping... that we will become pregnant again soon. My baby is almost 4 and I am only 31. It's not that we haven't been praying or trying.

I am creating... well not creating, but organising my photos so that I can scrapbook someday.

I am hearing... my kids playing and my daughter singing.

Around the house... a tornado hit the school room. Toys on the floor and picture envelopes and boxes on the table.

One of my favorite things... the smell of a newborn baby.

A few plans for the rest of the week... getting a care package to a sick friend and baking for the homeschool valentine's party on Friday.

Here is a picture I thought of sharing with you...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I was tagged. A few blogs that I follow have been tagging people and I was actually crossing my fingers that I wouldn't get tagged. I am not a great writer and never have much to say. So here goes,

6 Things you might not know about me...

#1 ~ I went to University to become an opera singer and after second year took a leave of absense to go to Germany. I fell in love and never finished my degree.
#2 ~ I could hardly speak German when I met my husband and he couldn't speak English. We still fell in love and married only 10 months after meeting. This year we are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary.
#3 ~ I have been married twice on two different continents to one and the same man. In Germany,you cannot get married in the church if you haven't been married by the state. We got married at City Hall in Bonn, Germany and had our marriage blessed in Walkerton, Canada.
#4 ~ I grew up on a beef farm and spent a lot of time babysitting for other farmers and swore that I would never ever want to live on a farm when I grew up. I am living in a city now and wish I could raise my kids on a farm.
#5 ~ As a kid, I was very athletic. I actually won awards in track and field, cross-country running and made it on the school basketball and volleyball teams. The sad thing is that I am not very athletic now and neither are my husband or kids.
#6 ~ I love to home school the kids. I can't imagine how I would pass the time without my kids at home. I never intented to home school my kids and never thought I could do it. With God's grace and many blessings, I have found that I can and will for as long as possible.

That's it. Six things about me. What about you? The following bloggers have been tagged by me.

Lord, Make Me A Saint
Hail Mary, Full of Grace
Totus Tuus Family and Catholic Homeschool
Simply Catholic
Inside Deanna's Diary
Bountiful Blessings

Here are the rules:
Rule #1 ~ Link to the person that tagged you: That was another Melanie at Springs of Joy Homeschooling
Rule #2 ~ Post the rules on your Blog.
Rule #3 ~ Write 6 random things about yourself
Rule #4 ~ Tag 6 people at the end of your post.
Rule #5 ~ Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their Blog.Rule #6 ~ Let the tagger know your entry is up.
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