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I just got back from doing our local egg run.  Our local Farmer’s Auction Market sells eggs in bulk.  I opt for a case (30 doz) and share the savings with our friends and family.  They come in large and extra large size in either brown or white.  This week XL white were the best priced at 1.36/doz.  (down 4 cents from last week)  and come beautifully packaged on 2.5 doz flats in a big brown box.  Just barely light enough for me to haul into my van.

.. .Unless you start smiling at a nice farmer and you get help… I’m just sayin’…

Eggs are very good for you.  Now that I am rather GREEN and will be for at least another 5 weeks…hint, hint…

I am really enjoying the fast protein snacks and meals they make!

Thanking God for the incredible edible egg…

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St. Nick  arrived dutifully on December 6th filling eagerly waiting shoes with goodies and placing this Miter (printed on cream-colored cardstock with each child’s name written on the back of it in gold paint pen..just leave off the treat cup base) in each shoe.  I am sure he found it easier to keep each child’s goodies from falling onto the hearth and I am sure he avoided any hurt feelings over whose chocolate was whose!  Of course he included a new toothbrush with those chocolate coins…he is very practical thinking!

funny thing…he left a scroll of parchment like cardstock hanging from the fireplace with this message:

Dearest Tappclan!  Blessed Feast to you all!!

I know you have all been very good boys and girls this year and I want to give you a very special surprise!  After your chores are dutifully done at day’s end, return to the feasting table for a scavenger hunt!  Your dear Mother and Father will instruct you what to do!  Enjoy this special day…all for the Glory of God!!

….and it was tied with a striped pipecleaner and shaped like a Crozier….how cool is that?!

After dinner Mom placed a pretty basket in the middle of the diningroom table and announced that aaallll of the dishes had to be done quickly and the table washed as the fun was to begin as soon as they were done.  She remarked at how incredibly quickly the work was done and reveled in the first non-complaining night of the season…lol

In the basket were 10 scrolls of parchment-type cardstock.  I numbered them and coded them with a word on the outside so I would know where I needed to hide that one.  Each scroll was rolled and tied with a red and white pipecleaner with the end shaped like a crozier…see a theme here?? 

After the kids finished their chores they all went down into the basement as Mom, Dad and baby hid each clue.  They were then called up and read the “offical words of the game”…

“”Share Ye All Thy Gifts With One Another! ”

Nicholas gave to others because that is what Jesus commanded us to do, but did so anonymously so people would think only that gifts came from God.  Look to God’s sky, under which we all live together and are to care for and help one another”

….They scurried to the boys’ and then the girls’ room where they found the next scroll hanging from the ceiling fan. (The ceiling is painted in both rooms to look like a blue sky with clouds.)  …get the idea??

I went to the Saint Nicholas Center and printed out this story and re-wrote it leaving each paragraph as a clue to lead you to a location for the next parchment.  I hid them in almost plain sight so that the house didn’t get too torn apart….gulp…that would be bad… 

As they found each clue they had to bring it back to the dining room and read it out loud at the table…always TAKING TURNS (we can’t have hurt feelings here) and making sure all of the younger ones “found” at least one clue on their own. 

10, as it turns out was just the perfect number.  It kept their attention just long enough.  The fun part is playing the final prize at the end:  

“Imitate Good St. Nick in his heroic virtues.  You are each called to be a SAINT!  Always be ready to give a good witness.  “Finally, all of you, be of one mind, sympathetic, loving toward one another, compassionate, humble.”

Begin this new church year preparing your hearts for the Christ Child!  Make a WARM place in your hearts to shelter Him from the COLD and let Him be the FOOD for your Soul!   Ready? SET! Go!

…and the final clue was found in the crisper drawer in the fridge…LOL!

It was also a good time to color in their new St. Nicholas Feast Day Folders that they found under their shoes in the morning.  They had a large assortment of coloring pages, (FWIW these images make great shrinky-dink images to hang on your Christmas tree!!) a word search and a crossword as well as a few paper crafts (already printed out on cardstock) and a story of St. Nick and a personal note from him on the inside….Each younger child had a different colored folder with an icon of St. Nicholas laminated (with clear packing tape) to the outside with the words printed with gold pen on the front as well as their baptisimal name… :

“My St. Nicholas Activity Book”

and on the back:

The Nicene Creed (laminated with packing tape)

Just don’t ask what time Good Ole St. Nick went to bed

…of course he didn’t get this ‘revelation‘ until the night before

…when all through the house, not a creature was stiring…and mom had enough quiet to start to dream…..(which of course my dh calls my “dangerous time”  LOL!!   

Meanwhile…. My 15yo twindds used a St. Nicholas cookie stamp (we got ours from Hillside Education) and made a huge batch of sugar cookies.  I got the idea to print out St. Nicholas wrapping paper which I copied into a word document and edited the properties of the image to make it a watermark…and then printed out the paper so that we could wrap a few cookies in it and place it into the shoes. 

 We may have been low-budget this year, but it was not short of fun on both sides…both from the makers and the receivers. 

Hey!  I held myself back!  I really really wanted to do this….but I will do that next year….into the liturgical year file it goes…..

In Just 3 Hours…

In just 3 hours I managed to do this with the middle children(9 and 10) and the younger children (age 4 and 6)

  • Morning Devotions
  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Baltimore Catechism chapter 9: Holy Spirit (they seem to have it allbaltimore catechism picture down pat..will quiz tomorrow for snacks 😉

Sing Come Holy Ghost and discuss what the words mean.

  • Each child (except 4yo) read from American Cardinal Readers and discuss new words…also stressing speech skills projection and enunciation
  • Character building/Virtues Training:

mind your manners dick and janeMind Your Manners Dick and Jane (from Library)

Read the rest of chapt.1  Children and I take turns reading text and discuss. (it is a rather “light” book but it is a good conversation starter.  We laugh over the fact that Dick and Jane now have a computer…)

  • Geography: Yo Sacramento!yo sacramento pic

Go over Midwest states and quiz all info memorized up to this point (mental note to play a “mother may I” type game with the facts memorized up to this point tomorrow)

  • Middle aged Math (for 9 and 10yo):

Review times tables up to and including 5…quiz for speed and acuracy

  • foin the templer6yo: Standard Bible Story Readerbible story readers

Read “In the Temple

while 4yo colors St. Scholastica stained glass coloring from yesterday’s saint story.

  • for 6yo: Language of God for Little Folks

Do 2 pages Titles of Respect and Period and Telling Sentences

Laugh over the definition he gives for Mrs. :

“a martyred woman” (supposed to be “married woman”) [LOL]

  • little angel reader a4yo works in phonics workbook for short e and short i

spells words, reads Little Angel Reader “A Cab”, letter practice

  • 6,9,10yo Copywork:

Poem: “Little Jesus” by Francis Thompson (worked on better handwriting at the same time)

  • 6yo finishes pop-up book of Jacob’s Ladder (started yesterday) and narrates the story to me while I record it on his little booklet…immediately placed in page protector in his binder
  • Science:

what is a lifecycleRead What is a Lifecycle? by Bobbie Kalman

  • Computer time: to drill math facts, play Carmen Sandiago, and watch EWTN kids shows 4-5pm

For tomorrow:

put out Montessori cards for Punctuation Stories

print out graphics to be used in lifecycle books to be placed in binder until other parts can be assembled in a lapbook

Notes:

We do pages for a lapbook or scrapbook every other day in one subject or another.

Right now we have a scrapbook going for Religion studies (parts of the Mass, items used at Mass, and  Discovering the inside of the church are pages we are working on right now).   I am marrying this into some COGS work in those areas. ….s l o w l y…we are still trying to get work consistent here and we don’t want to burn out.

In addition, we are working on some lapbook pages for Science exploration on several topics.  These hands-on works really seem to cement new topics and help us to retain more of what we read.

I have been alternating math days with the younger two (4 and 6) so we can really “play” at math for an extended period of time.  I also alternate history and science days with the younger 4 so we can focus on it more…it works for us!

meanwhile…the older 3 were working on independent studies…math, bible study, copyywork/poetry study and more…

Dinner is veggie barley soup with fresh herbs and is bubbling away on the stove…time to hit night speed-clean up and prepare for tomorrow followed by a long refreshing 5 mi walk with good friends after the younger ones have been tucked in….I will be the slightly harried mother nursing in that blue chair while I direct traffic around me. ..I can’t believe that:

  1. This is MY job!
  2. I am old enough to be a grown-up.
  3. I am actually accomplishing amazing things…(it doesn’t  always seem so whenever I start out, however…talk about FAITH!)
  4. I actually have a job I don’t mind getting up in the morning to do.
  5. I am still vertical without caffiene.

I’m Back!

I have been off the computer for a few weeks due to a messy hard drive crash.

I did use my time wisely, though.  My laundry is looking better (I reduced the pile by HALF!) and I have been re-organizing our learning spaces.  I need more time though…  (I won’t even deny that I wonder how I was able to get so much done…it WASN’T the lack of computer….really.)

It is odd to find funny things in your life and not actually blog them.  (I get through some general ick by thinking: “and how could I blog THIS” and it takes the heat off…LOL)  But, I did write  funny things on a piece of paper…You know, the ‘old fashioned’ way?  Now to FIND them… like this:

One night while finishing up a meal of yummy BBQ chicken, sunshine boy (6) was told by his Daddy:  “Go, wash up!”

Sunshine boy was heard scrubbing and bubbling in the bathroom for quite some time…and emerged later holding his hands flat (palms upward) in front of him..”Dad?  I tried and TRIED and I just CAN’T get these LINES off! ( he was rubbing his fingertips really hard and showing them to his dad.

Dad: “Those are your FINGERPRINTS and they aren’t meant to wash off!

Sunshine Boy: (Grinning from ear-to-ear)  “Oh Yeah!” and he happily skipped off to play.

The library and I are on better terms.  I am learning to use inter-library loan better and I really wish that the books they found worthy to be on their shelves were of better quality.  I did find however, that if I get out a book I should check back there the next day because it would often be placed out for SALE…sigh!

Well…off to do… more and more of …whatever it is I do…

(I do so much these days, I have no clue what it is called.  The work goes around the labeling part of my brain…to protect me, perhaps ;o) LOL!…my hands and feet just keep on moving and my lips and heart keep on praying!)

A Serious Commitment

….for almost 2! years I have been walking.  Not just a little stroll in the park, mind you.  I have been WALKING in the rain, in the snow, in the cold wind, after a good day, after days that hit so hard that I could barely breathe, while I was pregnant, and while I was greeen with morning sickness, and with muscle aches and pains, and when I was in LABOR! I have been walking for 1.5 years…every night…5 miles a night after the kiddoes are in bed and with a sitter.

The police around town know us…

The people that I see in the supermarket point and say “hey!  its them! and boy is that baby getting big!”

Do I know these people?  Nope.

But I have prayed for them.  Round and round our town past their houses and cars …with a friend from Church and my dh.   We have been walking, and talking and praying and trying to make sense of our world, our vocations, our gifts, our unique calls, and whenever possible…to laugh…out loud! ….for a loooong time….YES! Even in LABOR! (although I am sure it made our friend a little uneasy as I thought the laughter would just evict that little man 2 miles in the middle of no where..and me gasping for breath as my stomach shook up and down and my eyes rained tears for the unexpected joy of friendship!   I tell you, that boy should have been named Issaic!

Today we tested our commitment a bit…

We followed the Letter Carrier’s creed.  We put that to the test.

Neither rain nor gloom of night kept us from our appointed rounds. AKA: “THE Walk”

The rain (I should clarify that, the word DELUGE comes close) was unabaiting, coming sideways…the wind pushed us off course (ok, so there was no wind)

walking-with-GodThe first thought I had was rather girly of me….“Oh no, my hair!” and “Thank God I didn’t wear a white shirt!” But, once I was in that shower for about 5 minutes and nary a bar of soap in sight,  I started wondering how hard God was laughing….pride be dammed, I decided.  I was going to ‘test the waters a bit’.  We walked on…we took that walk God was leading us on.  We didn’t want to stop.  We wanted to stay strong and finish strong.

…no hat, no raingear, no umbrella to block the view(not that I could keep my eyes open too much).  The puddles turned into rivers (and some nice swimming holes).  Something funny began to happen as the icy rivulets seeped through our soggy clothing and down our necks.  We lost our stress of the day…we lost many years and tried every forgotten yearning of our childhood.  “let’s check the depth of this puddle now…!!” We learned how to play again.

Can you imagine what people were saying??  Here it was 9 something at night…. “why are you doing that??!”

“Because we can!” (and because our kids weren’t with us.)

Truth be told, I had to imagine that I was my 10yo son to figure out what to do with those puddles.

the_promise_zoom_777I have to say our friend from church has been such a bad influence on us.  No matter what the stress, what weirdness this world has thrown at us during the last year and a half, his laughter has made it all so much more bearable.

We thought many a day “HOW can we do THIS?”

I think that the correct answer is what we told people in the rain…

“because we CAN!”

and

This is COMMITTMENT, Baby!”

These beautiful pieces of art work are among my favorites by Morgan Weistling:  Walking With God and The Promise

Darn those kids!  They show you so many things about yourself that you have to work on.  I am so old…(ok I only feel old)…that I find I want to throw a temper tantrum like a three year old when it comes to too much change.  What is wrong with me? 

Growing pains.

The house is getting too small…What’s wrong?  Weeeelll….I need to seriously re-look at my surroundings and declutter.  (and include a novena for a larger home 😉 and try not to feel claustrophobic while we are all in the same room.

My little kids are now getting to be BIG kids…the little kid noise…down there, has become the NOISE up HERE and over my head!

I feel tired…what’s odd with that?  Well,  I am doing so much at once trying to “better myself”…

…that the inner me…again

…wants that darned tantrum.  It is begging for some GOOD chocolate now...

(woah…hope that isn’t addictive behavior there)

and the inner me says..who cares?  I WANT IT NOW

….hmm inner-problem child??

rose clip artI can’t tell you how much I have grown in the past year.  God has had His hand on my back propelling me through the last year saying “Good job (or read Job as in the Old Testament), but you need to be holier…faster…THEY need you to be…how about this wonderful method of sanctification….the refiners fire

gulp…the “they” is my family.  We had so many changing needs this year…lots of unexpected medical bills, a new baby, new growth in body (13yo ds is now 5ft8 1/2″!!) mind and soul.   We have to make do with less money, although we are eating more (see last sentence), and the bills all around are so much larger??  I needed heroic virtue to do my job.  I would rather prefer just plain virtuous now and then, just for the break!  Heroic virtue takes so much out of you…eventually you grow into a new normal…but you FEEL like giving in or giving up juuust before the JOY hits (yes Job, you have learned this lesson before 😉

I have learned SOOOO much.  I can’t tell you how creative I can be …even in the kitchen.  With a few onions, some garlic, cilantro, lime and ginger…..think cilantro pesto-type sauce…and herbs are my best-friends..they can add pizazz to any bean to make it sing for joy!  (I finally made my peace with beans after many fouled attempts, although dh claims that it wasn’t THAT awful…)

Dh is praying the rosary with us now… I can tell you one thing, the evil one that deserves no name, hates it.   he lets me know here an there that I am on the track where I need to be…LOL…those unprovoked attacks are a dead give-away….and it only took me some thirty some odd years to learn that trick.

I have good days and bad days.  Three gallons of tears today have passed and later I can tell you I feel a little better.  God is asking me to change so many things at once that sometimes the lack of “MY” control bothers me and I want to do something impulsive…like delete this blog…or paint the livingroom red(oh, only 1 wall over the fireplace…)..or scour clean the basement steps (to which the kids replied:

“Wow, I never saw her do that before!” …ouch!

(btw, the only impulsive thing I did was the stairs…not the other 2…)

…and  I am praying like mad, even though the words are dry as toast in my mouth and I can’t pay attention no matter how hard I try.  I figure that I couldn’t be doing anything better at the moment so praying done however badly is better than none…

…and I am praying through my work.  My work comes close to an escapist job but it isn’t…I am finding God there.  I have to make hard choices de-cluttering our learning spaces…it is a penance and a mortification that frees me…oddly enough.    I thank God for the gift of things even though I cannot afford to purchase the curricula that I really want to get this year.  I have to rely on the library even though I hate the looks they give me when I am there…we are just plain odd ( I mean why be so picky about a book about the life of a plant?  Umm…the book that you have is rather..boring and the one I am looking for isn’t?)… another mortification…arg  So it looks like I need to be HEROICALLY creative…even with our curricula!

…and I am smiling at the baby a lot!  He is so funny and sweet and innocent and he gives unconditional love…even while he is pinching my skin reaaaal hard trying to get my attention while I blog….

so I am off to do the right thing…cuddle my little man…and pray and work..and pray and work and find peace amongst the chaos of trying to put my heart and home in order.

what did I start off saying??  oh yeah…kids.  They show you the things about yourself that you have to work on. Ds(6) came up to me as I was upset today.  He wrapped his arms around me. “It’s ok mommy.  You are my best girl.  Now, do you want me to show you how to play?  I will teach you how to play with my cars. Don’t worry, Mom.  I will go slow!” The lesson I learned is this:  I can’t get so caught up in my own inner struggles and growth that I forget what is important…passing time with a child.  I think I learned more in my son’s arms today than I have in a long time.  Through the heart of a son, this foolish woman learned much today.

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