Thursday, October 29, 2009

Small Successes ~ October 29

"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."
Faith and Family Live!

I am sure that I have mentioned before that I find it hard to mention my small successes. This week has been a good week for me, for which I am very thankfull.

1. I made two huge pots of soup on Sunday for us to eat for lunch this week. We all know that home schooling doesn't always allow for preparing warm healthy lunches.

2. I started an immune boosting regime with the kids. We are enjoying foot baths before bed, lots of fresh fruit and herbal remedies. I wish this book was published in English. There are lots of fun ways to boost your immune system as well as naturally help your immune system if you do get sick.

3. I watched Gentle Birth Choices DVD with the kids last night to help them prepare for a homebirth. My kids couldn't get enough. I am going to have to watch more birth videos with them. My 9 year old didn't want to even be in the house when the baby was going to be born. Now he wants to come in when it happens. That is quite a success!

What are your successes? You can read more small success when at the Faith and Family Live! website.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Which Version of the Bible do you Read?

For some time, I have been contemplating buying a new Bible. I own two versions of the Bible already. I encounterd these feelings when I first moved to Canada. I researched and read people's ideas on which Bible is the best or the most accurate and enventually purchased the Douay Rheims version of the bible. The only problem for me is that it is very difficult to read and understand. I feel dumb, but when someone suggests a certain passage of inspiration and I look it up, I suddenly don't get the meaning. What I am trying to say is that I feel more at ease reading something in plain English. Instead of going to my Douay Rheims version I have been reading my German Bible (the one featured in the top left corner). It speaks to me. I love that there is an explanation at the beginning of each chapter about the person who wrote the book. There are also footnotes on each page pertaining to phrases that need more close interpretation. I love my Bibel, don't get me wrong, but it isn't until recently that we have had some serious issues. My oldest son is nine and is required to do some Bible reading as part of his studies with Seton. The Douay Rheims version is really difficult for him and he doesn't always understand what is being said, but the German Bible is too hard for him too. Although he can read some German, the Bible is beyond his grasp if you understand what I mean. The younger children can't read German at all. My daughter loves her children's Bible. Next year she will be in a grade where Seton requires Bible reading. What version do I buy? Do you have any suggestions? I am leaning towards the NAB because it is what is used during the Liturgy here in Canada.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Letter A Week

We are once again starting to follow Along the Alphabet Path. This time it is with the four year old. He has just begun to take an interest in letters and tries to imitate his older siblings. We began the Alphabet Path last fall, but it was not really age appropriate, but the older kids liked to do the coloring and listen to the story. Although, Owen is interested in letters, we are not bombarding him with all of the possibilities or suggestions that go along with this curriculum. We are doing a very simple version of the Alphabet Path.

A is for Saint Anne and Apple Blossom Fairy

A is for Adam

A is for Always Ask and Airplanes

A is for Alphabet

A is for Apple Puff Pancakes

Saint Anne Coloring Page
Alphabet Fairy Coloring Book
Bible Coloring Pages
Alphabet Tracing Pages
Always Ask Coloring Page

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Canada Studies ~ British Columbia

We are continuing are studies of Canada. This week we are learning about British Columbia. Noah and Mia proudly show off some of the things that he has learned.

Pretty Pink Portfolio

Every year the children make portfolios to hold all of their best work, test scores and notebooking activities. We starting making these as a request from our home school facilitator (someone from the school we've enrolled the children in)who checks our work periodically throughout the year. We use 2" three ring binders with clear pockets at the front for displaying artwork, holycards, etc. Inside it is divided up by subject as well as specific sections for some subjects ie. grammar, spelling etc. are part of the Language Arts section. At the end of the year, we have a wonderful collection of all the childrens' best work. We chose to keep these and the rest of the workbooks get thrown out. Each child will have twelve portfolios by the time they finish school.

I take much pride in their portfolios. I guess that is just me being a mom. I put a lot of effort into making special divider pages and in organizing them at the beginning of the year. I found this makes it easier for the children to file away their best work. It also makes it easy for the facilitator to assess all that the children have done. It particularily upset me when I found my daughter's portfolio ripped along the front. It is hard to find these particular binders and not to mention relatively expensive outside of back-to-school sales. I clear taped it back together, but it did not look nice. It has been bugging me ever since.

Today I decided to dig through my scraps and see if I had a few pieces of material I could use to make a cover. I found a piece of pink flannel and a piece of white flannel. I sewed them together using this pattern. It still looked plain and I didn't have enough material to make a pocket, so I thought about it for a while. I looked at the picture of Mary that my daughter had stuck in the clear pocket and suddenly remembered that I had cross-stitched a pattern of the rosary a long time ago. I was going to frame it, but never got around to it. I asked my daughter if she wanted the rosary cross-stich and she was thrilled. I made a border around it and sewed it on. It lookes more like a baby album cover, but my daughter loves it.

Puffed Pancakes

Recipes for puffed pancakes have been making their rounds amoung my fellow bloggers. This morning, I made an attempt at making some gluten free puffed pancakes. They weren't as puffy as their glutenous counterparts, but the kids liked them. They reminded me of french toast for some odd reason. I will definitely bake them again, but will play around with the ingredients to see if I can make some truly puffy pancakes.

In case you were wondering, I substitued the flour with a gluten free flour mix and added 1/2 tsp. of guar gum. The recipe I used is posted here.

After writing this post, I found a recipe for gluten free puffed pancakes. It doesn't look much different, with the exception of the amounts all being a little less and the addition of salt. Maybe they will puff for me next time.

Birth Art ~ 21 Weeks

I have borrowed Pam England's book "Birthing From Within" from my midwife. Pam writes about using birth art as a means of preparing for labour, birth and parenthood. Looking at the pictures a mom-to-be has created, helps the explore how she sees herself, the birth that lies ahead as well as her strengths and weaknesses. I have been pondering the things that she revealed to me through her book. I am not an artist and was afraid of what my picture might reveal about me. I began with the drawing of the PREGNANT WOMAN.

Pam writes: " Using the Pregnant Woman drawing I explore the pregnant women's self image: how they perceive their physical and psychological being in pregnancy or as mothers... Parents' portrayal of Pregnant Woman creates a mirror in which their self image and beliefs are reflected, allowing them to be seen clearly for the first time."

The following is the picture that I drew. I know what it means to me, but I was wondering if you would tell me what you see. This activity should be done in a group, but with my dh out of town for most of the last few months and the next, it is difficult to attend a class. I would appreciate your honest opinions of what you see. Thank you.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Starting the Stash

As usual, I was reading a few of my favourite blogs when I stumbled upon this one. I was really impressed by all of the beautiful things that she has made for her little one due soon. Her baby is going to be so lucky. A bit of jealousy struck. I am not truly jealous, but ashamed that I haven't started making anything for my baby. I can crochet, knit and sew, so there is no excuse why my baby shouldn't have beautiful home made welcoming gifts made by yours truly.

I was particularly interested in her blog post on cloth diapers. I have a stash here somewhere, but after a few kids there aren't too many nice ones. We were thinking of buying a whole stash of these. But at a unit price of $22.95, that would be over $550.00 plus shipping for 24. It is still a lot cheaper than buying disposables until the little one is potty trained. I am so CHEAP!!! I admit it. I am not frugal, but cheap! If I can reuse or recycle, I do.

After hours of research and contemplation, I decided to use the pattern used for the following video.


I had some old burping clothes that weren't so pretty anymore and have been in a box for over 3 years and an old sheet that had been partially used for Mia's quilt batting. I used these to make my first pocket-style cloth diaper.

I have some flannel in my stash that was supposed to be made into pj's that I will use to make 8 more diapers and I have a few flannel duvet covers that are euro sizing and don't fit on North America standard size duvets that I can cut up too. I should be able to make at least a dozen diapers from what I have on hand. I have prefolds in a box somewhere to put in the pockets. I even have a few diaper pins. I just hope that I don't do all the work and find out that the diapers aren't blowout safe. My old cloth diapers were good at preventing blowouts.

I am thinking of adding some sort of absorbent layers on the inside (see Step 2) and adding gussets, but I haven't decided yet. If you have any tips or advice on diapers that you have made, I would be more than happy to hear from you. I am not a professional sewer, I am self-taught. If you have any questions, I will try to do my best to answer them.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Canada My Country

We began a study of our great nation last week. We are using Canada My Country as our main resource. We are also waiting for some books from our library from Sleeping Bear Press.
Unfortunately, Sleeping Bear Press doesn't have a complete series like the Discover America Series for Canadians, but they do have a few books from the Discover Canada Province by Province series as well as a few Canadian themed books.

A is for Algonquin: An Ontario Alphabet
B is for Bluenose: A Nova Scotia Alphabet
C is for Chinook: An Alberta Alphabet
F is for Fiddlehead: A New Brunswick Alphabet
G is for Goldenboy: A Manitoba Alphabet
P is for Puffin: A Newfoundland Alphabet

S is for Spirit Bear: A British Columbia Alphabet
M is for Maple: A Canadian Alphabet
M is for Mountie: A Royal Canadian Mountain Police Alphabet
Loonies and Toonies: A Canadian Number Book
Z is for Zambonie: A Hockey Alphabet

The book Canada My Country has a polital map of Canada and suggests that you look at one province each lesson, from lessons 4 and 6-17. After my spending morning tea looking at my favourite blogs, I found a great idea. A fellow Catholic blogger is using the Discover America Series to learn about the different States of America and is scrapbooking information learned with her children. I loved how she used the information to make wonderful scrapbook pages on each state. Children learn so much more that way, than by just trying to retain information by reading alone. I did my own research on the weekend and found some graphics similar to hers and decided to have my kids notebook their way through the Canadian Provinces and Territories.

For those of you who are interested, here are the links to the worksheets we are using:

From KidZone Geography

- Provincial Flag
- Provincial Bird
- Provincial Flower


- map of each Province / Territory
- crossword puzzles

From Enchanted Learning (members only)

- map of Canada

General Information on Canadian Provinces was obtained from:
Wikipedia free online encyclopedia

I enlarged the picture of Jessica's son's scrapbooking page to see the list of information that she used and adapted it a little to compile my own lists for each province. That is where I used the information from Wikipedia and If you are interested in using the information pages, please email me and I would be glad to share.

We worked on our Alberta notebooking pages today and I would like to share my daughter's, since it is already scanned into the computer. I decided to notebook for the sake of simplicity. We have to complete a portfolio for our home school facilitator, so it is easier to use notebooking format and keep them in three ring binders with the rest of our work.

The Day the Sun Danced

On October 13, 1917, a miracle happened. The sun danced! Our Lady of Fatima appeared to three shepherd children for the last time. To prove that she really was from Heaven, she promised the children, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta that she would make a miracle. She asked the children on previous occassions to pray the rosary in reparation for the sins of others and to pray for peace.

On this particular day, when Lucia asked the beautiful Lady who she was and what she wanted, she answered, "I am the Lady of the Rosary, and I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. People must not continue to offend the Lord, Who is already so deeply offended. They must say the rosary." As a family, we are celebrating this day with our favourite book on Fatima, our favourite video and some colouring pages from Our Blessed Mother Coloring Book.

Finished Colouring Pages from left to right Owen's (4), Noah's (9), Maria's (7)

Halfway There!

This post is mainly for my family who live further away and keep asking me if I am starting to get round. Well, I think the picture speaks for itself. This is a picture my husband took of me on the weekend at 20 weeks. Only 20 weeks left until I can hold my baby in my arms (although, I might have to fight with the kids over that one).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. We celebrate Thanksgiving with a large meal. We do not have any family living close by, so we tend to celebrate the holidays at home quietly. There is usually significant time spent talking to the relatives over the phone, wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I grew up in rural Ontario. Thanksgiving brings back fond memories of fighting over one more helping of dressing (I was the only girl living with 5 boys)and playing cards. We always had our meal on the Sunday preceeding Thanksgiving which is celebrated on the second Monday of October. It was served at 5:00pm. We hardly ate a bite all day to save up and make room for all of the delicious goodies that were being served. It wasn't anything fancy at our house, but that didn't matter. There was always a large turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas and carrots, and salad. Pumpkin pie or cheesecake were the desserts. We stuffed ourselves. My husband swears that I suffer from food envy. Until recently, I tried to eat as much as he does during the holidays. This food envy comes from not wanting the "boys" to get more than their share. I love holiday food! I knew that if I enjoyed every bite, I might not get more. It isn't as though there wasn't enough made, but it seemed that the more food there was, the more food that was eaten. I laugh just thinking about the absurdity of it all. I miss visiting my great grandmother in the home and singing some really old songs. I miss going to my grandma's and eating pie with butterscotch ripple ice cream. I miss my family who live to the west and far east of here. I always wonder what it would be like to be home for Thanksgiving again. My children are growing up without knowing their cousins, or aunties and uncles. They have met a few, but only see them on rare occassions (when they come visit). I long to visit the family that is thousands of miles from here in all the places I am familiar with. Nonetheless, I am determined to start our own family traditions for the holidays.

Even while living in Germany, we celebrated a "Canadian Thanksgiving." I made a turkey or a chicken. We opted for a chicken in our earlier married years, because we (dh & I) were eating it pretty much on our own. We invited my mother-in-law to join us, but she didn't like my stuffing. She wasn't actually sure what it was. My dear husband fell in love with my stuffing and didn't mind if his mother didn't like it. My mother-in-law ate her first pumpkin pie and wasn't sure what to make of that either. It was interesting and fun trying to bring my strange culture into a German home. My husband insisted that we continue to celebrate Thanksgiving. He was thankful that I would go to all the trouble of preparing so much food for him to indulge in. So Thanksgiving stayed an important feast in our small family.

Now we have three children, two of which are hungry growing boys. The pot that once cooked potatoes for the whole family is now the veggie pot. The large soup pot is now the potato pot. Some day I will have to make potatoes in the dutch oven just like we did when I was growing up. The chicken is no longer big enough and a 10lb Turkey will have to do. There is much more food in general. This year I have decided to go all out. I am making my first ever gluten free Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for gluten free products and recipes.

Our Thanksgiving dinner menu looks like this:

Cranberry,Walnut and Feta Salad

Spicy and Super-Juicy Roast Turkey

Loaded Mashed Potatoes

Gluten Free Gravy

Cornbread Stuffing

Pumpkin Cheesecake(I used GF Graham cracker crumbs and GF Flour)

Jello Salad aka St. Joseph Salad


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Small Successes ~ October 8

I never find it very easy to find successes. I tend to dwell on the things that don't get done. Here are my small successes for this week:

1. I am managing a household all on my own while my husband is working out of town. The house is still standing, and the kids are well fed. (It isn't spotless, but mostly tidy and the dishes get done)
2. We managed to almost finish 9 weeks of Seton homeschool material. We just have a few more tests tomorrow and each kid still needs to finish their book report. All in all, we survived the 1st quarter.
3. I managed to drive to appointments without getting lost. This is a big thing for me. I hate driving, and I especially hate driving halfway across the city to places that I have never been before. I don't even think that my blood pressure went up as much as it usually does. With a husband out of town most of the time, I have to rely on my own resources for getting the family where they need to go.

These are not my successes alone. I pray constantly for my guardian angel to help and she always pulls through for me. What are your successes for this week? You can share them at Faith and Family live.

Paper Bead Rosaries

I really wanted to finish making paper bead rosaries on or before the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, but life isn't always as you plan it. So last night, after the kiddos went to bed, I made 40 paper beads. This morning as a special treat the kids and I strung the beads and made them into 1 decade rosaries. These will come in handy at Children's Holy Hour. We added separater beads that have no function other than to separate and that they look nice. If you want to make some of these rosaries, look at the directions I followed here.

left to right: Maria's, Owen's, Noah's, mom's

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary
October 7th

My Rosary is a silver chain

That binds my soul to God.

My Rosary is a mystic vine

That grows in Heaven’s sod.

The Aves form a rose bouquet

Of white and red and gold

To strew along our Lady’s way

As each blest bead is told.

The mysteries

are lessons learned

of life’s true gain and loss

and always at the chaplet’s end

I find

and kiss

the Cross +

Dearest Mother Mary

I am asking of you now
As I journey through this day
May the rosary in my pocket
Keep reminding me to pray.

As I ponder every mystery
You lead me to your Son,
Who gives me strength
To carry on
Until the day is done.

Author unknown, sent to me by a dear friend

Our Lady of the Rosary

Today is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. This being week 9 and the end of the 1st quarter of studies with Seton, we are really short of time for elaborate feast day celebrations. When I was reading some of my favourite blogs, I came across Jamie's and thought her idea of celebrating Our Lady's feast was simply awesome. After colouring some pictures from Waltzing Matilda's Blog, we made the rosary on Jamie's blog. I had plans for doing a few other activites, but I desperately needed a nap. My pregnant body was telling me to slow down, so I listened guiltily. There are so many nice things to do and make to celebrate our holy faith and I sometimes feel guilty for not spending enough time preparing and planning more. I am the type of person who likes to get ideas from others. I admire my fellow blogging moms who have many more children than I have and seem to accomplish so many wonderful activities alongside their home school days. I often feel like there is something wrong with me for not getting all of these things done. hmmm... I guess all I can do is my best. God gave me other talents, perhaps. Nonetheless, we prayed our fun and colourful marshmallow and Hershey kiss rosary. These rosary is probably the sweetest chain of prayers by us ever.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

UN Petition for the Unborn Child and the Family

Dear Friends and Family,

I ask you to go to this website immediately and sign the UN Petition for the Unborn Child and the Family.

A coalition of pro-life and pro-family groups, being led by C-FAM (Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute) will present the petition names to the UN this December. Their goal is 1 million names!

I urge you to go HERE, read the petition, and then sign the petition and send this link to everyone you know.

At THIS site you will also see the petition has been translated into more than 15 languages. It is truly universal!

Please go HERE and sign the petition and then forward this message to EVERYONE YOU KNOW!

Many thanks.

© Copyright 2009 Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.
866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 495, New York, NY 10017

Monday, October 5, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook ~ October 5, 2009.

FOR TODAY...October 5th

Outside my window... cool, overcast and tufts of snow that haven't melted yet.

I am thinking... that weekends are so much better than weekdays. I really my dear husband when he is gone all week.

I am thankful for... daily Mass and the rosary.

I am wearing... cord skirt, retro-looking top, tights and leg warmers. I am freezing!

I am remembering... how it felt as a newlywed and how different it feels now. I love my husband, my children and my life.

I am going... to do my best to make sure nothing breaks this week.

I am reading... "The Story of a Soul" again.

I am hoping... to get the kids to bed earlier than I have been and to make it more frequently to daily Mass. The Lord knows that I need Him.

On my mind... tomorrow is going to be a busy day. I need to get a good night's sleep.

From the learning rooms... lots of review and testing this week. After this week we are done our 1st quarter with Seton.

Noticing that... no matter how hard I try, I am never going to be finished.

Pondering these words... from my St. Padre Pio... "Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You. You know how easily I abandon You."

From the kitchen... leftover Chili that my dear husband made. Oh, how I miss him right now.

Around the house... laundry to fold. Owen seems to be out of clothes again.

One of my favorite things... a cup of hot cocoa and a good book.

From my picture journal...
A play donut that we made a few weeks ago, being served to mommy for a treat.

Other Daybook entries on the Simple Woman's Blog

Saturday, October 3, 2009

St. Thérèse

It seems as though all of my blogger friends are busy posting wonderful things that they have been doing to celebrate the numerous feast days that have recently occurred. I am sorry to say, that we didn't have the time to celebrate per say, but we did pray. One of our family's favourite saints is St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus. Especially my daughter and I feel a closeness to her. On her feast day, we had an ultrasound appointment, a piano lesson and registration for reconciliation. I hardly found time to breath that day. It was full of excitement and anxiety. I mentioned that children are not normally allowed to be present at ultrasound appointments in my last post. I prayed to St. Thérèse to send us a rose. I was in disbelief when the ultrasound technician invited the children into the exam with me. It was that easy. I had made up an excuse and a great story on how I was going to get them in with me, but when my name was called I left the children to tend to themselves in the waiting room. I had prepared them a bag of activies and they were more than willing to wait. In complete obedience, my prayer was answered. I didn't create some silly story or anything and I didn't have to lie! Thank you Thérèse. The other moments of anxiety were those leading up to registration for the sacrament of reconciliation. In our parish, First Communion is made in grade 2 and First Reconciliation is made in grade 4. This is how it has been handled in our diocese for years. I was timid to approach our priest to ask for special permission for our 2nd grade daughter to receive the sacrament. I remember how it was when my older son was signing up for his First Communion. We had somehow missed First Reconciliation registration after our recent move to the country. I was oblivious to the fact that such a thing as reverse order of reception of the sacraments. Both my husband and I had received our First Reconciliation prior to receiving First Communion. At the time, our priest was reluctant. My son asked him personally if he could receive the sacrament prior to his first reception of Our Lord. He told the priest that he wanted to receive Jesus with a clean soul. How could the man refuse, right? He didn't, because we are home schoolers and I assured him (the priest) that I had prepared my son. Anyway, to make a long story short, St. Thérèse sent us another rose. The sacramental prep lady saw the registration form and saw that my daughter is only 7 and in grade 2. Her only comment was that I should be aware that First Reconciliation is usually received in grade 4, but it was ok to sign her up anyway. Whew! I felt such a relief. I kept the kids out of bed for this 7:00pm meeting and registration and it wasn't for nothing. After the initiation, I spoke to our pastor and asked his special permission for my daughter's reception of the sacrament and he said, "no problem". I was surprised, but I shouldn't have been. He has gotten to know our family over the past few years. He sees us at daily Mass (on occassion) and at adoration. He knows we homeschool and that our children are being brought up in the faith. But he shares something more that than with our family, especially our boys... a birthday. Yes, our pastor's birthday and the birthday of both of our boys is on the same day! And to think that God had this all planned out. I sometimes doubt my faith and the power of the intercession of Mary or the saints. I need to learn trust and the feast of St. Thérèse reminded me of this. I just need to have more faith. Thanks again St. Thérèse for the roses you sent us on your feast day. They meant so much to us. St. Thérèse, pray for us.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Baby's Debut

Early this morning, I had my first ultrasound appointment. I was a little sad that hubby couldn't be there. He had to work out of town, so unfortunately he couldn't make it. As far as I can remember, he never missed an ultrasound appointment yet. I am more sad for him than for me. I get to feel the baby inside of me and he doesn't. This is his little window into the baby's world. At least, I got to take the my kids with me. I packed them a little bag with paper and crayons, books etc for just in case. Not all untrasound technicians let you take anyone in until the examination is over. I prayed to St. Therese last night that I could at least have this one rose. The technician gladly let the kids come in. She wasn't very talkative, but the kids guessed which parts of the baby they were looking at. It was kind of neat seeing how much they actually recognized. Noah asked, "How come there are only 4 fingers?" The technician, "The thumb is in the baby's mouth." Well, here is the first picture of our baby....

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