Monday, December 6, 2010

On Santa's Knee

Happy Feast of Saint Nicholas!

We aren't doing anything out of the ordinary today. The kids got a little something yesterday for the feast of Saint Nicholas. Their German cousins had already gotten their treats, so we made an exception. Dad was home and we wanted him to be there. Each child was given a new book.

After Mass, brunch and Mia's choir practise, we went to one of our favorite stay-cation destinations: Heritage Park. We learn something new every time we are there. Did you know that it was the Germans who had the first artificial Christmas tree? We learned that yesterday. They had a trivia quiz at the park. You had to go to various buildings to answer questions, collect check-marks and ultimately recieve your prize for participating; a candy cane. It was fun and educatiional.

Afterwards, we visited and pet Santa's reindeer and then went to visit Santa. Did I ever mention that my kids have never sat on Santa's knee. It isn't a tradition in Germany. Saint Nicholas comes on December 6th and the Christkind (Christ Child) comes on the 24th. In the years we have lived in Canada, we have never gone to sit on Santa's knee. The malls always have such long line-ups and they want you to buy pictures. So we avoided it until now. Yesterday we could sit the children on Santa's knee, snap a picture ourselves and then go on about our business. So that is what we did. Unfortunately, Paddy was sleeping the whole time we were at the park, so he didn't sit on Santa's knee or see the reindeer. Suse's Kinder Coat and my Ergo Carrier sure come in handy. I felt sorry for those littles in their strollers. They looked so cold. The wind was really sharp.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Home-made Christmas Ornaments

We made some home-made Christmas ornaments. It started off being just one for my grandma. She puts family pictures of her kids, grandkids and great-grandkids on her tree. Not all of us can be there for the holidays, you see. The whole family is spread out across the country. Well, to make a long story short, we got our family pictures in the mail and I was inspired. Our family had them done recently for the church directory. So here is the ornament that we (my daughter and I) made for her great-grandma...
and this one is the version we are sending the aunties...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Homemade Gifts - Totes

I love making Christmas presents. If it were up to me, all Christmas presents would be homemade. I hate the commercialism around Christmas time. Not to mention the fact that homemade gifts show that you truly care. You wouldn't spend hours of your precious time making gifts if you didn't truly love or care about the recipient, would you? I try to instill the art of homemade gift giving into the hearts of my children. Each year I ask them what they would like to make for their sibblings within their realm of talents. Of course, the aspirations are beyond their scope of talent or our purse strings, but I love hearing the ideas. I then funnel their ideas into conceivable and do-able present ideas. The two oldest are pretty proficient on the sewing machine. Last year, there was an apron and a few pillow cases sewn and a few treasure boxes made.

This year I quilted tote bags for my German niece and nephew. I used paper foundation piecing for the first time. I used their initials, M & L for the front and a star for the back. I added coordinating borders, machine quilted, added a lining and then straps. I think they turned out pretty good.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Jesse Tree

We begin our Jesse Tree readings in two days. Here is a link to the readings we use. We are using the same tree that I made last year. I still have to purchase some advent candles. Our church is selling some for $3.00, so I better not forget money when I go there today for Holy Hour. I pray that my baby brain goes away and I can remember to buy them from the office, today. Do you have your Jesse Tree and advent wreath ready? What Jesse Tree readings do you do? Do you have certain prayers to say when you light your wreath? Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know how your family prepares for Our Lord's birth.

Christmas Cards

We made our first Christmas Cards of the year. This was a great art project and a lot of fun. We love scrapbooking and now we can make beautiful cards. We used a faux quilting technique. I adore these little cards and wish I could see the faces of those receiving them in person. Hopefully, we can make some more and share them with you.

The Fall - Continued....

Yes, I am doing a bit of a blog catch-up. I use our blog as a journal. So for my sake, here is the happenings of November:

All Saints Day Homeschool Gathering.
This year, the kids were St. Padre Pio, Blessed Kateri, St. Mark the Evangelist and his lion.

We also had our first facilitator visit for the 2010-2011 school year. We seem to be doing well. I thought I was suffering burn-out. Perhaps, that was the case. I am sure I am not the only one who feels overwhelmed from time to time. A teething baby, hurt daddy, school, housework and very little sleep left its toll. Not to mention, Noah was taking an online French course which was stressing me out to no end. There were so many problems getting online, staying online, etc. A technical nightmare that possibly fried our pc (which is in parts at a friend's house). I removed Noah from the course and my stress level went down to normal and the burn-out symptoms disappeared.

This fall has also been spent trying to train the dog. Funny, that wasn't one of my priorities, but kind of just got added to our day. The dog babysits the baby. Wherever the baby is, so too is our puppy. She greets the baby when he is playing, gives him lots of kisses and lets me know when he is crying.

The last thing of any significance to mention, is our first snowfall. It started snowing on the feast of St. Cecelia. The kids love the snow. Owen asks about snow all summer long. He loves to play in it and has been known on occassion to eat it. We are settling for a long winter and hope to share more soon.

God Bless and thanks for stopping by.

The Fall in a Flash

We are just days away from December. I can't believe how fast time flies. I hardly ever blog anymore. Every time something great happens, I am too busy to blog. I didn't even blog once in almost two months. Wow! I know it was busy, but that is crazy. Well here is a breakdown for the archives:

Noah and Maria started karate. They love it. They are studying Renbukai style karate and have their first evaluation coming up. They hope to get their black bar. I will post a picutre (if I have time lol). Here is a picture of them now in their Gi.

The baby is now sitting on his own. He sits and plays and now baths with his older brother. I love when they get to this age. He loves sitting infront of the back french-style patio door to watch the kids play in the snow.

We enjoyed a very warm fall. Until two weeks ago we were having very warm and beautiful weather. Normally we would have had snow or at the very least colder temperatures. We even had time to rake leaves this year!

Noah went to altar server training. He used to be an altar server, then we started going to the Latin Mass. We stopped going to the Latin Mass, so he can serve in our local parish. I love the Latin Mass, but we also love our local parish. We are involved there as much as we can and never really felt a part of the Latin Mass community. So we love and serve God from where we are at. Here is a picture of Noah and our pastor Father Jack.

My dear husband had a work accident. He ripped open his finger and required 8 stitches. This was a difficult time because this is the same time that the baby started cutting more teeth. He wanted to be held almost non-stop and daddy couldn't hold him. I am not sure who that was harder on, the baby or daddy. Sascha is doing better now, but he still doesn't have full movement of his baby finger. This picture was taken in the waiting room. There are always long wait times and I happened to have the camera in the diaper bag for once.

We had family pictures taken for the parish directory. Now, I don't have those to show, but I do have one of my new haircut and my cute 5 year old. He still loves sitting on my lap and giving me kisses more than anything.

So far I have only mentioned the things in October. We also had a wonderful November, but that will have to wait until my hands are free to blog about it. My baby is demanding my attention. God Bless, and thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We Were Blessed By the Bishop

I should not boast, but it is always special to see the Bishop. I feel like it is something so special, that I am always sad when I miss an opportunity to see him. Our Bishop is a special man. Most Bishops are, I'll give you that.

This evening the Bishop came to our parish to bless all of the children who received Sacraments in the 2009-2010 school year. Two of the children received Sacraments, so we felt that reason enough to attend. Of course, a number of school trustees were there, numerous parish priests, the Knights of Columbus in royal garb, school teachers, principals, families and all were present. Even though we "home school", I felt that we should be there, at least some of us. The two oldest just started karate classes, so I let them go to karate and attended with the two little boys. I cherish the time with the little guys so much. A five year old is so funny on such occasions. Since the Bishop was wearing white vestments, I was continually asked if he was the Pope. The Knights of Columbus men were mistaken for real "knights", you know the kind that live in a castle. Anyway, you get the picture. Comical but just as Jesus would have expected. Child-like innocence.

He (the five year old) insisted that we spend some time with the Blessed Sacrament. Of course, I obliged. I love spending time with Jesus. But remember, a five years old's prayers are short, so I must pray fast and to the point. Everyone else was gathering around in the foyer to speak to the Bishop and get their pictures taken with him. Smart me, I remembered the camera. My shy little five year old and I got our picture taken with the Bishop. That was all he talked about on the way to pick up the "kids" from karate. "Don't tell the kids, I want to tell them that I got a picture with the Bishop." He always calls them "the kids". He also picked up one of those rubber arm bands in his sister's name because only the kids who received sacraments got one. He was offered one for himself, but he told the priest who was handing them out that it was for his sister because she received two sacraments. He told her all about it as soon as we picked her up. God is so good.

Little Owen loves Jesus so much and I absolutely adore his child-like innocence. I hope he never loses it. I really need to scan in his spontaneous sketches of the Sacred Heart, Rosaries and churches and share them with you. Please remember to pray for him and our whole family that God may always keep them close to his heart and perhaps choose one or all of them to have vocations. God Bless and thank you for stopping by.

Rosaries on a Journey

As mentioned in earlier posts, our family are members of the Totus Tuus Rosary Making Association. It sounds really official, I admit, but it is an amazing group. Our group made and distributed over 37,000 rosaries last year. We play a very insignificant part. We never seem to make as many rosaries as others in the group (some bring in grocery bags full). We attend group meetings less regularly than others do and we are not the prayer warriors that we would like to be. Nonetheless, we are members. The children especially love going to "Rosary Group" every Tuesday morning. They love to hear the stories about where the rosaries have been sent and see the pictures of them being distributed in Africa, Mexico and other remote areas of the world. The children work hard trying to learn the special knot used to make the rosaries. They are doing Our Lady's work here on earth. Even if we do not make the most rosaries, or pray the most, I hope that Our Lady will always hold us close to her heart. I hope that the children will remember when they are all grown up and have busy lives of their own, to pray the rosary and to promote it wherever they go. Right now, they just enjoy the atmosphere of the group and help where they can. This past Sunday, two of the children helped to sell rosaries after mass.

Last week, we were able to send 300 of the rosaries made with a dear friend Br. Paul on his journey across Canada. I know that Our Lady will see to it that they come to those in great need. I can't wait to hear from Br. Paul whom we gave them to and here about where the rosaries went. Please pray for Br. Paul on his journey for his safe arrival in Nova Scotia and for his spiritual journey as well. We were very fortunate to take a picture with him on his short visit with the Mary-Mobile and the rosaries.

If you are in need of rosaries or know of someone who is on a mission in need of rosaries, please let me know. I will pass your information along to the group coordinator. It doesn't cost you a penny. Please also pray for this apostulate. Continued prayers are needed for the success of this group. Success is not measured in dollars and cents, but rather in distributing rosaries to everyone who wants and needs one. These rosaries may be the only rosaries that some people will ever own.

Please pray the Rosary often.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Seven Sorrows of Mary

We have added a new twist to our home school experience - Scrapbooking! I love to scrapbook, but don't have a lot of time to do it, so I have let the kids use some of my tools and supplies to enhance their learning. So far they have scrapbooked a number of pages for their portfolios. (We have to keep portfolios to show our facilitator during her visits.) We already notebooked and continue to notebook. We use this as a type of narration. The kids typically read from one of their books and then draw a picture and write a few sentences. Last week, for the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, Mia had an assignment from her 3rd Grade CHC curriculum to use "A Year with God" to learn about the Seven Sorrows of Mary. This is what she made:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Baby is Seven Months Old

Yet another month has passed and my baby has grown a little taller, a little wider and a little cuter (well, maybe a lot cuter in my eyes). We love our darling Paddy-Cakers as we like to call him. I admit it is a ridiculous nickname, but it suits him well, for now. I didn't actually take a picture of him yet today, but here are a few from Sunday. Yes, the woolly hats have replaced the sun hats and warm fuzzy outfits have replaced the shorts and T's and even the fuzzy cover is back on the car seat for now. The second picutre is with his proud big brother, who not so long ago was our baby.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

End of Summer Woes

I believe that summer has officially ended here. I woke up this morning to a fresh blanket of snow. I don't know where fall went, but winter seems to be upon us. Really?!? It is only the middle of September. The weather has been chilly here all week and really soggy. The kids don't want to play outside and I don't really blame them. We have been plugging away at another week of school work and find ourselves right in the thick of things. I believe that my plans for school this year were a tad bit more than ambitious. We enjoy everything for the most part, but there just doesn't seem to be enough time to do it all. We have a freshly painted school room and some great new supplies, a new organization system and co-operative children, so what could go wrong? Well, everything and nothing. I think the kids are getting a great education regardless of my expectations. We learned about the Rosetta stone and wrote some awesome sentences in our guided writing, learned about the properties of matter and finished a few cool art projects amoung many other things. Actually, writing things down helps me realize that we did do a lot this week.

We can also see that it is no longer summer, when the Fall Fair has already come and gone. This is the first year that the children have participated in the Heritage Park Fall Fair. I made finishing their entries a part of "school". It was mandatory. I entered them in categories that I knew we could easily finish under the time contraints that a demanding baby and learning to cook and eat grain-free would allow. In total, the kids took part in 13 categories. Everything from soap-carving, drawing self-portraits, painting without a brush to making Christmas tree ornaments. The children placed in 11 of the 13 categories. The little guy even won the best of his sub-section for his entry of his marble painting. That won him a special ribbon, a Dinosaur Train dvd (we never watch it on tv and he happens to be a huge dinosaur fan), a book, a soft football, a pin from Country FM that lights up and blinks and 4 entrance tickets to Calaway Park. We still have to pay for one ticket, but those tickets save us $75 + GST. You can believe that we were quite proud of our little bunch. Here are pictures of some of their entries...

Owen's Potato Print
Owen's Marble Painting
Maria's Potato Print
Maria's Potato Self-Portrait in 1905
Noah's Soap Carving - Wolf
Noah's Christmas Tree Ornament

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Little Girl is Eight Today!

Daughters are angels
Sent from above
To fill our heart
With unending love.
~ Author Unknown

Maria's 1st Birthday

Maria after her 2nd Birthday
Maria's 3rd Birthday
Maria's 4th Birthday
Maria's 5th Birthday
Maria's 6th Birthday
Maria's 7th Birthday
Maria's 8th Birthday

Monday, August 16, 2010

Home School Plans for 2010-2011

This year we are using an eclectic mix of Mater Amabilis Level 1A, Catholic Heritage Curricula and Seton. Our aim is to give the children a variety of good living books, some straight forward directions and a good portion of imagination to build a memorable, enjoyable and virtue building school year. Academic achievement is important to us, but the ultimate goal in planning our home school is heaven. Whatever our children learn or do, should be used to know, love and serve God. With this in mind we chose to use the following to build this year's curriculum:

We are using Sue Patrick's workbox system as a tool to keep our home school organized and fun. That is a whole other post in itself. We will also be using the books: A Year with God, Catholic Garden of Puzzles, Sewing with Saint Anne, Tea & Cake with the Saints, A Catholic How-to-Draw (all from CHC) to enrich our studies. This is just an overview of the books we plan to use. I don't plan on completing every book from cover to cover, but hope to make use of the best parts of most of these. We are really looking forward to our study on Ancient Egypt and lots of read alouds. Now, if only the baby will be good and everything will run smoothly, execution would be a breeze. But as we all know, life happens. All the best wishes to all of you heading back to your kitchen tables, dining room tables, school rooms etc. God Bless and have a great new year of learning to know, love and serve our wonderful God.

My Baby is 6 Months Old

I can hardly believe that my little baby is already 6 months old. He is the apple of our eyes. He is a happy baby as long as he is being entertained or being carried around by someone. In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned that he is a high maintenance baby and he still is. Our munchkin hates tummy time, he doesn't lay on his back for very long to play, he loves being held and still doesn't sleep through the night. Although he loves to be carried around, he is pretty easy going. He loves car-rides, stroller rides and being carried in the ergo-carrier. He is very alert and loves when his older siblings dance and sing for him. Nothing within his reach is safe. If he can reach it, he has it. He loves chatting and making noises. He also has a passion for sucking his little toes. None of my other kids were interested in toes. This little guy loves his toes. He also loves his thumb. None of my other guys sucked there thumb, but this little guy loves his thumb. Life these past six months have been busy, crazy, funny, overwhelming and amazing. Babies are so much work, but so much fun. Here is my baby on his six month birthday, wearing his brother's shades and playing with the measuring spoons.
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