Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Reflecting on Pentecost

I know it is already Wednesday, but I felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to share. I know the many blogs that I follow posted lovely pictures of Pentecost cakes or cupcakes and I posted nothing. That is because I didn't even think about baking a cake or making something special. I need to get my act together, I know. I hope to get a binder put together with liturgical ideas according to month and season before the baby comes.

Our Pentecost was a quiet day. We went to Mass and then my sweet husband made brunch. He always makes brunch on Sundays.  We had a lovely roast chicken with potatoes and peas for supper. Then we managed to get everything cleaned up, kids off to bed and had a very special date night.

Without taking the feast of Pentecost into consideration, hubby built a bonfire. We have a fire pit in our backyard. We also happened to have a bit of scrap lumber and leftover firewood from last year.  We sat by the fire with drinks (I had almond milk and hubby had a coffee) and talked. With the babyphone stationed outdoors, we relaxed. We talked about old times, relatives that we miss and had a lot of good laughs. It wasn't  until later that it donned on me that it was still Pentecost. We had a fire on the feast of Pentecost. Everything went perfectly, no loud neighbours, no raucous kids that wouldn't sleep, no wind. It was perfect. That date night was the most precious gift from the Holy Spirit and I will cherish it forever.

"Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth."
God Bless friends,

Wordless Wednesday ~ Pics from Saturday Morning

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Resting and Not Relaxing

Like the title says, I have been resting. The last few weeks have kept me on my toes. Those darn Braxton hicks have come so often and have been very painful that I decided I should rest as opposed letting babe come early. This time around they have been stronger than I ever remember them to be. In truth, I get a lot of Braxton hicks in the best of pregnancies. Before the actual "labour day", I have worked away my first 5cm or so and the actual labour isn't too bad until my water breaks. But this time around, the contractions have been nearly as strong or as strong as those "normal-for-me" labour pains. So, I have upped the Cal-Mag intake, the water intake and threw in the towel to my long to-do list. Instead, I have spent the last week on the couch with my laptop and began planning the next school year.

I always get an overwhelming sense of 'not knowing what I am doing' and 'maybe I should just send the big kids to school' at this time of year. I look at other peoples' plans and read books on how to homeschool and choose curriculum to psych myself up. Oddly though, I seldom feel 'psyched-up'. I feel even worse. This year, more than in previous years I prayed about it. I asked God's divine assistance. This year, I am at peace with myself and am not second guessing every choice. Hmmm.... maybe I should take note and pray more.

Today, I ordered all of the new books and supplies for next year. I still have to make detailed lesson plans for the kids, but that will have to wait until I actually get the books. We are using a mix of Classical, Charlotte Mason and Unit Studies to round out our year. I tailored each child's studies to their particular learning style and interests. Our plans look somewhat like the following...

Grade 6 Plans

Math: Saxon 7/6
Reading: various books on Saints and Literature
Art Appreciation: Pablo Picasso, Norman Rockwell and Salvador Dali
Composer Study: John Phillip Sousa, Igor Stravinsky and Aaron Coplan
History: The Great War

For those of you who might be interested, we are following the suggested readings of Shakespeare and geography as outlined in Year 3 of Mater Amabilis. The poetry comes from the Ambleside Online Year 6 lesson plans.  After watching the Discovery Channel Documentary, The Sinking of the Lusitania, Noah was really interested in WWI. So we decided to make that his main focus for history this year. The composers and artists lived during the period of history that Noah is studying. We are trying to do more Charlotte Mason style learning and are therefore using living books for most of our subjects.

History Reading List:
For Art Appreciation we are using the following books:
For Music Appreciation we are using the following books:
Music from the Great War era:

Grade 5 Plans

Bible History: Concise Bible History
Math: Saxon 6/5
Spelling: Spelling 5 for Young Catholics
Reading: various books on Saints and Literature
Art Appreciation: Pablo Picasso, Norman Rockwell and Salvador Dali
Composer Study: John Phillip Sousa, Igor Stravinsky and Aaron Coplan

Grade 1-2 Plans

Owen still struggles with reading, so we are doing a lot of grade one stuff before moving on to grade 2. I suspect he has Sensory Processing Disorder and possible is also ADHD. He is quite a challenge to teach, so I am hoping that being seven when school starts works better to our advantage. If you have a child that can't sit still or retain anything you teach, you will know how it is to teach Owen. He needs to repeat, repeat and repeat in order to retain the simplest things. He is the sweetest boy, but struggles. He is joyful, though and doesn't get that easily frustrated. I get frustrated though. I was a straight A student and most things come easy to me. If anything, Owen is teaching me more than I am teaching him.  I have a wide variety planned for him, but we are sticking to the basics for the main subjects. We are not ditching what is working, even if it takes him longer to get through the material.

Sacramental Preparation: Jesus and I
Shakespeare: MP3 stories & Coloring Pages from HomeschoolFreebieoftheDay
Poetry: nursery rhymes, A.A. Milne Poetry, Harp & Laurel Wreath
Copywork: prayers, nursery rhymes, short poems
Art Appreciation: Pablo Picasso, Norman Rockwell and Salvador Dali
Composer Study: John Phillip Sousa, Igor Stravinsky and Aaron Copland
History: A Little History of the World audio version

We plan on studying science together. I ordered the Apologia Astronomy Science Kit that goes with the Apologia Astronomy. I also ordered the notebooking journal and jr. notebooking journal for the kids to record their observations in. My hope is that daddy will teach science or at least supervise if I am unable to because of a busy toddler and a bitty baby. Since dad is interested in astronomy and the kids all seem keen, we might actually do more than nature study, garden or read living science books.

I am so grateful that my two oldest are really independant learners and don't demand a lot of help or fuss about their work. Ok, they have their days, but they are generally keen on learning new things. Since Maria likes more of the unit study type of activities and notebooking, I tailored her studies to be more notebooked and unit study oriented. Owen is a very hands on, audio learner and so I plan to use a lot of mp3's, cd's and read alouds for him. We also made two splurges to aid in our school year. We ordered the Math Whiz Game to work on basic facts and speed and the GeoSafari Laptop with both younger and older versions of the learning cards. I am not a big fan of twaddle, but these two computer-like games seem educational and hopefully worthwhile. When you are nursing a baby or have a day when kids don't want to get school done, you sometimes need bribery tools. I hope these are good. Does anybody you know if they are good?

Now, I just have to start feeling better because until a lot of books arrive, I can't do a lot of planning. I also have great plans to make planners and a household binder. I am so excited to do this since I ordered a binding machine. The one that I really, really wanted won't deliver to Canada, so I settled for this one, a Fellows Star Manual Comb Binding Machine. I was able to order it in Canada here and I got the spines and cover sheets and other office supplies here. I love getting new school books and supplies every year. This year I am trying to get ahead of the game with baby being due mid-August.

Have you started planning your new school year? What are your must-haves and favourite resources?

God Bless and have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Versatile Blog Award

A few weeks, Eva from Untrodden Paths for awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award. I want to thank her and appologize for not posting sooner. She is a homeschooling German Catholic blogger who inspires me to try to be more bilingual with my own kids.

I have never won a blogger award and was very delighted to be counted amoung others as a versatile blogger. I often just blog from the heart and am tickled to receive comments and feel very blessed that someone has taken the time to read my blog.

Now it is my turn to nominate and award 15 blogs that I read or follow with the versatile blog award.

I nominate the following blogs in no particular order for  The Versatile Blogger Award:
  1. Lord, Make Me a Saint.
  2. Cheerios Do Fly!!! 
  3. Cherished Hearts at Home
  4. Patch O' Dirt Farm 
  5. Small Things 
  6. Totus Tuus Family & Catholic Homeschool
  7. Waltzing Matilda 
  8. Forever, For Always, No Matter What 
  9. In Pursuit of Sanctity... and a little bit of sanity 
  10. Crafolic
  11. My Little Flower
  12. Trinity Acres
  13. Counting Coconuts
  14. Pondered In My Heart
  15. retromummy
If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger award.
  • Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  • Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
  • Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. ( I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!)
  • Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.
  • Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.
So I will tell you seven things that you may not know about me.
  1. I am a very shy person.
  2. I love to make up riddles. I admit that they are very bad, but they make my kids laugh. (ie. What did one berry say to the other berry? --- I'm stuck, I think I'm in a jam.) I warned you that I am not good at it.
  3. Honey is my favourite sweetener. I love it on bread with butter or in my tea.
  4. I miss Germany. I miss my friends and some very special places. I miss teaching ESL and I especially miss walking on the Rhein pathways and picnicing in the Rheinaue. Some days I wake up and wish I could go for a walk there. I would if it weren't so far away.
  5. I hate driving. I have my license, but am glad, very glad that we only have one vehicle. I prefer to be a passenger. My heart races when I am behind the wheel. I have never had an accident and plan on keeping it that way.
  6. I detest cooking alone. I am a bit of a foodie and like to make nice meals, but I only enjoy it if I am not alone in the kitchen. I love helpers and choppers and stirrers and dish washers. I love cracking jokes and doing Swedish Chef impressions or to comentate Food Network style.
  7. I got the nickname "Tina Tyson" in grade 7. I got the awful nickname after punching a grade 8 guy in the nose, on the busride home for trying to grab my chest. In case you don't know, I was the only girl in a house with five boys and had nothing to grab.
So now, you know me a little better, but please don't judge me. I am a quirkly person for sure. Don't forget to visit the blogs that I have nominated, if you don't already visit them on a regular basis.

God Bless friends,

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mary for Modern Mothers and a Giveaway!

As I woke up this morning, it became immediately apparent to me that I have to write about Our Blessed Mother Mary. It was laid upon my heart to share some of the modern resources that I use to bring myself and my family closer to Jesus through Mary.

Nothing beats the lovely hymns of days gone by. I love the classic hymns like Hail, Holy Queen, Bring Flowers of the Rarest or the Ave Maria itself. I like to play these on the piano and sing along. But that wouldn't be something to share with others, only my immediate family.

Over the last couple of years, I have collected a few cd's, books and ipod apps that I think are worth sharing. My list is not conclusive by any means, it just includes a few of the treasures that we could afford or were given to us.

My first recommendation is for the littles. It is Vol. #1 "Mary Leads Me Closer To Jesus". This CD is a favourite on car rides and Patrick insists on listening to this CD most mornings. The songs are catchy, some traditional like the "Hail, Holy Queen" and others are more catchy like "I Wanna Say Yes." I like that this CD is like a mini-cathecism on Mary. There are stories between the songs that explain Mary's role in the life of Our Lord. I catch myself singing the songs throughout the day. Some of the most important Marian prayers can be learned by not only the little guys easily. I am a music person and singing my prayers helps me learn them. I have a hard time memorizing the Angelus or Magnificat, but not with this CD in hand. They are available as mp3's on and you can listen to them here.

Another cd that I have recently purchased, is a rosary cd. I have written about my struggles with praying the rosary in an earlier post. I sometimes need to be pushed in the right direction and the following cd has helped me to pray the rosary without losing focus. I love that this cd keeps me focused on the virtues of each mystery and the greater meaning. The rosary is more than a string of repeated prayers and this rosary definitely has me meditating on the life of Our Lord and Mary's life as well. You can listen to excerpts of this cd and other's in the series, here.

Next, I would like to bring your attention to a few ipod apps that I have found really useful. I was given an ipod for Mother's Day, two years ago. It is not always compatible with the newest apps, so I am just including three that work on my device and that I use most often. There are many more apps out there, but these are the ones I have.
  • Pocket Angelus App This is a free app. You can set your ipod to chime as a reminder. This has never worked for me, but I am not the most savvy when it comes to modern technology. It also includes the Regina Coeli and has the prayers in several different languages including Latin.
  • Mary App This App has been created by the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception and is meant to bring everyone closer to Jesus through Mary. There are three chapters, Doctrine, Devotion and Mary Plus. This is a great app to have to learn more about Mary, pray along with and helps you to develop a deeper love for Mary and Our Lord.
  • Rosary Delux App This app is available for $2.99. I tend to only download free apps, but I love this app. It is a little hard on the eyes (in my opinion), depending on the background you choose. When I pray the rosary with the ipod, I generally don't look at the screen. This is a fully audio rosary and you pray along with it. I like to pray with this app while folding laundry. If I have to stop, I push pause button and it keeps my place, even if I don't come back for hours. This app also includes the fully audio versions of the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.
This post is getting longer than I initially anticipated. I realize that modern mothers don't have a lot of time, so instead of rattling on about some of my other favourite resources that I have to run and find right now I am going to offer a giveaway.  I want to give one of my readers the following resource, a book about the Rosary.

Karen Edmisten does a beautiful job of explaining the devotion and makes a case for every person to pray the Rosary. This book is a wonderful tribute to Our Lady. It includes everything from the basic mechanics of praying the rosary, to it's miracles, how to meditate on the mysteries and how to make praying the rosary fit into your busy life.

Along with a crisp new copy of this book, I will send the winner a devotional wallet, including a simple plastic rosary and prayer card.
Devotional Wallet - Front Cover
Devotional Wallet - Inside
This is just an example, but not the actual prize. I will make you a new one based on your cover preference. So please leave a comment at the end of this post stating your favourite Marian devotion and your cover preference chalice, monstrance, or lamb of God.

Contest closes on Wednesday May 9th, at 9:00pm MST.


And the winner is Stacy! Congratulations.

God Bless Friends,

Friday, May 4, 2012

{this moment}

. . . . . . . .
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments here for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . . .

Visit SouleMama for more Friday {this moments}.
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