Monday, December 28, 2009

Hearts for Home ♥ ♥ December 29


"In today’s busy and aggressive society mothers at home are not given much encouragement to be committed to their role in being home.

In my weekly 'Hearts for Home' post I am encouraging myself and others to commit to thinking about what 4-6 things we can do each week to bring our thoughts, prayers and actions to keeping our 'Hearts for Home'.

I am praying that a spirit of gentleness, generosity in thoughts and time along with loveliness and grace would lead us to be all that God wants us to be.

So each week list 4-6 things you will commit to that will keep your "Hearts for Home". Gae from Cherished Hearts at Home


My list for the 29th December is ♥ ♥

Make a list of family goals for 2010. We started this last year and we accomplished most of our goals. Home improvement, family outings and general goals make it on this list with approximate costs and times of suggested completion.

♥ Make a to do list of all of the things that I want to accomplish before our baby's arrival.

♥ Put books on hold from the library for the month of January. Refer to the Catholic Mosaic book list as a guide.

♥ Enjoy daddy being home early everyday this week and enjoy another long weekend with daddy at home.

♥ Make a new menu for the next two weeks and plan the grocery lists accordingly.

♥ Start looking for a babysitter for the home birth and begin preparing our birth plan.

For more "Hearts for Home" ♥ ♥ lists, visit Gae's blog at Cherished Hearts at Home

My Birthday Daybook ~ December 28, 2009.

FOR TODAY...

Outside My Window: A cold winter's day. It is still grey outside with the hopes that the sun will come out to shine.

I am Listening to: The children playing quietly.

I am wearing: My favourite pj pants and hubby's t-shirt and a fleece zip-up jacket. I am a little frosty. None of my other pj's fit and I have yet to get dressed.

I am Thankful For: My family. I love my husband and dear children more than anything in the whole world. They know how to make me feel so special.

I am Pondering: What it will be like to have a little baby again. It has been over four years since we had such a little baby in our arms. Will it be easier or harder? How will I manage baby, house duties and homeschooling?

I am Reading: You're a Better Parent Than You Think!: A Guide to Common-Sense Parenting I just started it, so I can give you a better review later. So far, I have found it very uplifting and confidence boosting.

From the Kitchen: Today there will be leftover Shrimp Creole for lunch and homemade gluten free pizza for supper with a yummy blueberry cheesecake using gluten free chocolate cookie crumbs as a base. Yummmmmm!

I am Thinking: About all of the hopes and dreams I had as a child. I am thoroughly amazed, that even though my dreams were different than today's reality, I am a million times happier than I could have imagined. God's plan is always the best plan.

I am Creating: Baby's Fringed Playmat from the book Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures I just love this book and all of it's ideas. This playmat is a family project that will be a gift to the new baby. Pictures to follow for sure.

Towards a Real Education: Right now we are enjoying some time off from the regular school routine to nest and prepare for the baby. If that isn't real education, then I don't know what is.

Towards Rhythm and Beauty: I have to think about this one. We are always trying to keep up with our chores and are always creating new ways to be efficient and tidy. I guess this our contribution to rhythm and beauty in our home.

To Live the Liturgy: We ordered a new bible with hubby's Christmas bonus (gift card from the mall). Our family really enjoyed doing all of the bible readings for the Jesse Tree during advent so much, but agreed that we needed a modern translation of the bible. We own the Douay Rheims bible, a German bible, a children's bible in English and one in German. Between all of the bibles we were successful in understanding the daily readings. On the other hand, it would have been nice to just use one bible for the whole season of advent. My husband wants us to continue our bible reading in the evening, but would like to be able to understand what I am reading. I also am pondering the idea of reading the King of the Gold City and the Acts of the Apostles for Children in the evenings while we are waiting for our bible to arrive.

I am Hoping and Praying: For a safe and healthy home-birth. I keep offering up everything for this one particular thing. We have never had a home birth and the children really want to be present to welcome their little brother into the world.

In the Garden: Lots of snow. Winter is here. The garden is covered in a blanket of snow.

Around the House: Tidying, decluttering and all-around nesting. I really want to dig out the baby cloths and get them washed and ready soon.

On Keeping Home: I received some money for Christmas and my birthday from my godmother and ordered the two above mentioned books as well as Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House I am learning a lot and looking at the tedious job of keeping home in a totally different way. I am trying to look at it the way I imagine Mary would have looked at it.

One of My Favorite Things: Cheesecake. Yummmmmmy!!! I know that my husband really wanted to make me a cheesecake for my birthday (he always makes me a birthday cake), but unfortunately he had to work today. I don't mind, then at least I get to lick the beaters and the bowl. Cheesecake is one of my all-time favourite comfort foods. Growing up, it was the birthday cake of choice by most of us six kids.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week: Nesting, making more cloth diapers, playing some Wii with the kids and relaxing. We are back to school next week and I really want to enjoy the break. We really deserve it after finished 18 weeks of Seton Home School plans!!!

A Picture Thought I'm Sharing (actually 3) Christmas Eve under the tree with my loved ones:




Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

At last, our Saviour is here! Thank you Lord Jesus, for coming into the world as a tiny infant. You are the King of Kings, Prince of Peace and Redeemer of the world! Bless all of your dear children during this wonderful and blessed Christmas season.


We wish all a very Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Advent in Our Home

I have been taking a little break from blogging in the hopes of keeping Advent holy and secretly hoping to finish week 18 of Seton Home School curriculum before Christmas break. Week 18 marks the half way point of the school year. We hope to get the 3rd quarter done before our baby arrives and have been ploughing through the school work and have been sticking to our schedule more than less.

Otherwise, we have been trying to include feast days in our schedule as well as attend art classes and piano lessons weekly. I must say that in our house, feast days that are on weekends tend to get shortchanged. On the feast of Saint Nicholas we enjoyed a St. Nicholas tea with St. Nicholas gingerbread cookies and goodies that Mia and I made the day before.



No, I don't own a table cloth. I don't even own a statue of St. Nicholas. I often read other blogs and feel somewhat plain and simple in regards to our dinner table. I see posts like this or this and secretly wish that my house and table were more beautiful. At the same time, I must remind myself not to covet and to rejoice in what I have. We do not have a large home, (actually we rent and will probably never own a home) or a large wallet and that beauty is also found in the simple things. If I can not afford a table cloth or pretty statues or even a tea pot, that is ok. I can be close to our Lord without all of the fancy things. It doesn't make me less of a catholic, a mother or wife. I am sure that Mary did not worry about keeping up with the Jones' or having the most beautiful things for her child. She would have provided with the resources she had and would have rejoiced in God's generosity. This is what I am trying to learn this advent.

On the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we were very busy. We had gluten free blueberry muffins for breakfast. It seems that without thinking, I make blueberry muffins on every Marian Feast Day. (The same thing happened on the Feast of the Immuculate Conception).


After breakfast, I cut the boys' and dad's hair, showered and bathed everyone and headed out in -34C weather to attend Noah's first piano Recital. We think he played really well, considering he has only been taking lessons since September.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcH8gAI4xAo&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x234900&color2=0x4e9e00&border=1]

When we came home we made some Mexican Shepherds pie. I would have liked to have had the children make paperbag Tilmas, but I decided to let the children play. It had been a very busy day. A few days earlier, I made a wreath in Our Lady's honour. The card pictured in the centre was actually blessed in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and given to me from the organizer of our Rosary Making Group upon return from her pilgrimage to Mexico.



For the Feast of Saint Lucy, we actually didn't do too much. I decided to make my own version of Saint Lucy bread, but forgot to buy candles. We actually ate it as a dessert after supper and not for breakfast. We also rejoiced in knowing that our little niece/cousin, named Lucy who lives in Germany was baptized yesterday. Her parents aren't church goers, but they make sure that their children receive the sacraments. They wanted her to be baptised a week earlier, but as God would have it, they had to wait until the 13th, which happens to be her Patron's Feast Day. God is so Good! St. Lucy, pray for us.



Our Advent has been rather quiet and I am glad that we have been faithful to our Jesse Tree readings every evening and that we have been reading lots of wonderful Advent and Christmas books from the library. We have also rejoiced in our daughter's reception of her first confession on December 5th. In joyful hope, we await our Saviour's birth. We wish your family a blessed and Holy Advent season.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How to get a Holy Card from the Pope

I stopped by Catholicmom.com to look at some Advent resources when I stumbled upon this link:

How to get a Holy Card from Pope Benedict the XVI this Advent

I followed the link and landed on a post from Nun Blog, dated November 19, 2008.

I don't know if it works, but it is worth a try. A blessed Advent to all of my readers.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Stockings for the Feast of Saint Nicholas

The feast of Saint Nicholas is in three days. As a German-Canadian family, we have always leaned toward the German celebration of this saint's feast day. I have been gathering activities from the Saint Nicholas Center. There are numerous activities, colouring pages and recipies appropriate for celebrating this wonderful saint. This year, I let the oldest two kids help make St. Nicholas stockings. I found this easy pattern. I don't have a fancy sewing machine with embroidery stiches, so I straight stitched the edge, leaving raw edges. They look charming anyway. I ordered a few things from the Saint Nicholas Centre to stuff the stockings with. We don't do presents on Saint Nicholas, but typically fill a stocking (or a shoe) with little goodies and prayer cards etc. I am planning on decorating some Saint Nicholas cookies that I baked the other day using one of the cookie cutters on the website. We also like to read stories about Saint Nicholas. A definite favourite is The Miracle of St. Nicholas.

A Stocking for Jesus

I was reading other blogs trying to get ideas for making Advent truly a time of preparation, when I stumbled upon the idea of having a stocking for Jesus. I had some leftover scraps from our Jesse tree and Mia's Christmas dress and sewed with Godspeed this stocking. The idea is to write down things that you are thankful for and put them in the stocking. On Christmas Eve, we will read them and offer them to Our Lord Jesus. We have the stocking hanging in the living room so everyone can access it. The pattern I used is here.

Did I mention that some of our nativity figures didn't survive last Christmas? A number of the figures broke and we haven't replaced them yet. Right now we have a felt family awaiting the birth of Our Lord. I want to replace the old figures, but this family is much more practical. I sewed what I called a five-minute-manger out of a scrap of felt and cut up scraps of yarn. The children put in a piece of yarn everytime they do a good deed. The plan is to give Jesus a really soft bed of straw come Christmas Eve. There are already a number of yarn pieces in the manger for helping mom without being told, or being extra patient when things aren't going as planned.

Advent is always such a busy season. I am really trying to keep it simple this year. Last year we tried to do everything. We tried to pray every Novena, do a Jesse Tree, celebrate Saints' feast days etc. In the end, we didn't follow through on half of it. I know that I might be copping out on the extra prayers, but reading the Bible every night is good, too. We are really enjoying doing the Jesse Tree. We are focusing on making our actions our extra prayers. This is not to say that we don't pray, rather that we don't try to do it all. So far our Advent has been very peaceful.

This is our Jesse Tree and little felt nativity. I took the picture a few days ago. I have to remind myself to be humble. I tend to get googly-eyed looking at other Catholic blogs. I see what other families are doing and sometimes feel like I am not doing enough or my stuff isn't as pretty or nice. I don't have a mantle to display things or a large dining room or etc. My husband always gently reminds me not to compare myself and that he loves me just as I am. He tells me that God has provided for us and that we should be thankful. I guess I should quickly write a note for Jesus, thanking him for blessing me with such a wise and humble husband.

Gluten Free Herb and Cheese Bread

This bread recipe was adapted from a German gluten free bread recipe that I found and didn't really like. The texture was good, but flavour was lacking. I tweaked it and now it is really yummy and goes great with soups, stews, chili and works well as garlic bread.

Ingredients:

4 cups Gluten Free Flour (more or less depending on your flour)
1 pinch of salt
3 Tbsp of cane suger
1 tsp psyllium husk (don't omit!!! this gives it kneadability)
2 1/2 tsp yeast or one packet
1 egg
400ml warm milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup cheese, grated
1 tsp herb mix of your choice (I use tomato and herb from PC)
flour for rolling out the dough
parchment paper for your baking sheet
1 egg yolk and a little milk to make an eggwash


Preheat oven to 425F.

Mix flour, salt, sugar, psyllium husk and yeast in a large bowl.

Mix separately egg, melted butter and warm milk and add to the flour mixture. Knead to a smooth dough. During the kneading process add cheese and herbs. Divide the dough in half. The original bread recipe tells you to take each half and divide into three parts and braid. This looks very nice. I was lazy and free-formed two loaves on my parchment paper covered baking sheet.

Beat your egg yolk and a little milk and brush it on top of the loaf. I cut slits in the top of my loaf, but you don't have to.

Put a heat resistant mug filled with water on the bottom rack of your preheated. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Mine was ready after 22min. but we live in a dry city at a high elevation. It should look golden brown on top. Enjoy.

We prefer to eat it warm. It does get very hard the next day. Reheat or toast and it is just like freshly baked.

For garlic bread I butter both sides, sprinkle with garlic powder and cheese (opt.) and bake at 350F for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and it looks toasted.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ribbon Blankets

Apparently, "Ribbon Blankets" are the latest craze. I had never heard of them before I went shopping at Fabricland looking for material for our Jesse Tree. I was waiting for my material to be cut, when the person behind the counter was explaining that she was cutting material for another woman who was making "Ribbon Blankets". My eyes where obviously saying "???? HUH ?????" She explained what they were and encouraged me to google them.

Ribbon Blankets are small lap blankets for babies, typically 12"x12" or 18"x18". I believe they were invented by two moms who noticed that their babies always suck on the tags of their stuffed animals. Tag blankets are made of two materials sandwiched together with ribbon (usually satin) sewn in along the edges. There are tutorials on the web, so I won't bother writing another one. While I searched for a tutorial, I noticed that the original blankets are patented, oops. Too late, I had already made two. I am not selling these, just making them for personal use and gifts. I had some leftover green fleece and bought some flannel to match and used up some ribbon that I had. One of the blankets is for my unborn baby and the other is for a friend's.

Simple Woman's Daybook ~ November 23, 2009.

Outside my window... it is a crisp, sunny 3C / 37.4F

I am thinking... that I have so much to be thankful for.

I am thankful for... a supportive husband and three children who are a great help, especially when I'm not feeling well.

I am wearing... nothing spectacular, jogging pants and a long-sleeve T-shirt from my husband. I woke up not feeling to well and these are typically my most comfortable grab when I am not feeling well.

I am remembering... my grandfather who passed away 27 years ago this week. I was only four at the time.

I am going... to take it easy today and play some Wii with the kids and hopefully catch a few zzz's.

I am reading... Prayerfully Expecting: A Nine-Month Novena for Mothers to Be

I am hoping... that the rest of pregnancy will go well and that I will give birth to a healthy little baby in the warmth and comfort of our home.

On my mind... I hate braxton hicks and hope that they stop.

From the learning rooms... lots of plans for advent. I have already begun reading books for the Advent season. The kids can't wait to read more and do more fun activities.

Noticing that... November flew by so quickly.

Pondering these words... "Mom, I only have x number of subjects left!" Oh, how I wish adult life was like that sometimes. Just one more chore and then I will be done. That never happens! I don't stress over it though, like the kids do.

From the kitchen... that all depends on how I feel. I do have a pork loin in the fridge. Any ideas?

Around the house... lots of unfinished projects. Next on my list is the Christmas Star wall-hanging/quilt. I started it last November and I am determined to have it up and hanging for the 1st of Advent. It reminds me of the star that the wise men followed.

One of my favorite things... finishing a handmade project, whether a quilt, stuffed animal or a potholder. The satisfaction is wonderful. I am in awe at the talents and perseverance that God gave me (not that I am an expert at any of these things). I have ripped out rows and rows, stich ripped entire projects and actually thrown out unsatifactory made objects. It has taken me almost 20 years to get things right the first time or at least second.

From my picture journal... another item for our baby. The pattern can be found here.



Go to Peggy's Blog to read more Daybook entries.

Feast of Christ the King

Yesterday we celebrated the feast of Christ the King. The children made crowns during children's liturgy and later in the afternoon I baked a cake in honour of Christ our King. I printed out a few colouring pages and word searches. After the children finished up the activities we had a piece of cake.





The cake is a gluten free marble Teff cake. I got the recipe here, but forgot that my gram scale needed a battery and just winged it as follows. I omitted the lemon rind and baked it for 40 minutes as opposed to 60. I got the glaze recipe here.

Recipe for Gluten Free Marble Teff-flour Bundt Cake

2 1/2 cups Teff flour
1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
1/2 lb of butter (softened)
5 large eggs
2 tsp GF baking powder
1 heaping Tbsp cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp milk

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs one at a time while beating contantly. Beat in milk and add flour a little at a time while stirring until smooth. Pour half of the batter in a well greased bundt pan. Add cocoa to the rest of the batter and pour on top. Use a fork to swirl the two batters to make a marble effect.

Bake in a preheated 325F oven for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick come out clean. Let cool 10 minutes and turn onto a plate. Cool completely and glaze or frost as desired.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Only 10 days left....


There are only 10 days left until Advent begins and I am trying to get everything ready. My dear husband dug out the Advent wreath this past weekend while looking for lights to put up outside. I still need to get some candles, but at least that can be checked off of my list.

In the past, we have tried to do the Jesse Tree, but without an actual tree. Today I found a pattern that goes with the readings and sybols that I have used in the past. I think I can whip this up in a few hours (provided I get the materials soon).

I have also actually tried to organize a Jesse Tea that Alice Gunther shared on her blog a few years ago. It never happened, but I am determined to make it work this year. I will have my work cut out for me, because I have to do it gluten free.

Other Feast Days that we plan on celebrating are:

December 6: Saint Nicholas
Activities and Stories from the Saint Nicholas Center
Bake Saint Nicholas Cookies using my new cookie cutter
The kids will put out their shoes or boots like they did in Germany

December 8: The Immaculate Conception
Novena from November 29-December 7
Colouring Pages and the Story of Our Lady of Lourdes and Movie. I love how she tells Bernadette, "I am the Immaculate Conception."

December 12: The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Make a Wreath
Colouring Pages and the Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe by Fr. Lovasik and The Lady of Guadalupe by Tomie dePaola We will cook something mexican (Noah's favourite).

December 13: Saint Lucy
TBA We have never celebrated this before.

I have also been looking at various reading lists and lesson plans for Advent and Christmas. I really like the ones on Elizabeth Foss' blog. They have descriptions to go with her favourite books. Here are the links for reading list one and two. I have put some of the books on hold at the library and will try to buy a few that are available and not out of print. I would like to slowly build our liturgical season library without breaking the bank. These books get read over and over and are always a treat. We bought a few last year and I hope to one day have an extensive library of my own and don't have to worry about returning books before having got to them.

I am also thinking of doing a study of the Nutcracker for Music/German studies. Maria got a beautiful book with CD from Oma last year for Christmas. I have yet to look for activities and Lapbook ideas. I will post more as the days progress and the it gets closer.

This is the first year that we aren't taking December off to do just Advent and Christmas prepartions, so everything we do will be on top of the regular school work load up until the week before Christmas. We are doing a great job staying on track and really long to take time off for the birth of our baby. We will be taking a two week Christmas break and hope to do more activities and maybe even do something for the 12 days of Christmas. It is not that we are lazy, but it is really hard to begin new traditions. I never grew up celebrating the feasts outside Advent/Christmas, Lent/Easter.

First Reconcilliation Preparations

On December 5th, 2009, Maria will celebrating her First Reconcilliation. She has been attending classes at our church and we have been preparing her in her Religion classes at home. I would like to share some of the things that we have been doing in order to prepare her for this wondeful sacrament.

We are working on a First Confession Lapbook and are using some of the activities from the blogpost on First Reconcilliation from the blog: I blog, therefore I am. We especially like the File Folder game, which Maria is working on making as I type.

The following is a video clip that I found on the above mentioned website.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdNwS-2qYDk&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en&feature=player_embedded&fs=1]

We are using the following books to help with preparation:

Catholic Prayer Book for Children
My First Catechism
My First Holy Communion (it has a great section on sin and confession)
Living the Ten Commandments for Children
Going to Confession

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Birth of a Monkey

With Advent just around the corner, and Christmas at it's heels, I have been busy trying to make some Christmas gifts for the children and for charity. Last year, we started making Christmas a home made event. Everyone has to think of something they can make for another family member. One of the things I am making this year are Sock Monkeys. I have finished the first one and I have five more started. I plan on putting a few under our parish Christmas Tree for the less fortunate. Every year our parish collects gifts for people of all ages and this year I plan to make two children happy with Sock Monkeys.



Some other things that I am planning to make are (listed under code names because my kids read this over my shoulder):

Project 1
Project 2
Project 3
Project 4
Project 5
and a few more that I printed out and didn't bookmark. This is what Mia wants to make for the boys.

The kids are very proud of what they make for each other and the gifts are cherished by the recipients. I hope to keep this new tradition going. If you have some ideas for me, let me know. I love to collect patterns and see those little eyes light up. By the way, if anyone knows how to make (sew, crochet or even knit) a white wolf, I could really use the pattern. My oldest is fascinated by white wolves and would love to have one made by mom.

Wordless Wednesday ~ My Laundry Helper




Thursday, November 12, 2009

Small Successes ~ November 12

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.


To participate, just write up a list of 3 of your recent Small Successes and post it on your blog along with the Small Successes button (go here to get the code). You are not required to use the button, but please do link back to the main post here. Then you can add your blog here using the Mr. Linky form (please link to the individual blog post, not the home page of your blog). Faith and Family Live


1. I made lanterns with the kids and didn't lose my mind. I mentioned my mess phobia in an older post.
2. We had a successful visit with our home school facilitator (a person from our school board who checks up on our progress and writes report cards for the kids).
3. I kicked up my heals and watched a geography movie and an American Girl movie with the kids, just for fun. Not to mention that I made popcorn and hot chocolate. This is something we only do when dad is around.

I could mention more successes this week. I feel like I have accomplished a lot. After our facilitator visit, Noah had a piano lesson. After that I bought three new music books at our local music store. One for each of the two oldest and one for myself. I taught Mia a few songs and I have been practising a difficult version of Mary Did You Know. I also finished this cute hat for the baby and have begun making some Christmas presents and have finished half a baby afghan. Yeah me!




To read more small successes go to Faith and Family Live.

Martinmas

Not only was yesterday Remembrance Day, but it was also the feast of St. Martin of Tours. He will always have a special place in our heart. While living in Germany we always took part in the St. Martin's Day parades, walking with our home-made lanterns behind St. Martin on a horse. After the parade, there were Stutenkerle (sweetdough men), gluhwein and a huge Martin's fire. My good friend Michaela introduced us to this custom when Noah was just a baby. Her son and Noah were only six weeks apart. I remember Noah's first lantern was a paper mache fish. Every year we spent a number of days preparing for this feast. I even had to practise the songs, because they were all new to me. I grew to love this feast more and more each year. The first few years we had a little one in a sling or a stroller. When the children attended a Waldorf Kindergarten, we attended their intimate little parade with all three kids in tow. It was cold, but fun walking through the darkness and singing songs. The children provided the only light. It was almost magical.

Since moving to Canada, we have only organized one St. Martin's parade. It is extremely difficult to start a new custom in a new country. Last year, we didn't even bother to organize a parade for the home schoolers. There wasn't enough interest. Our city does have quite a large German community and we learned that there is a parade in park in the far north of the city (we live in the south). We wanted to attend this year, but with my dear hubby out of town, I wasn't going to venture there on my own. I hate driving though this city, especially at night. We did however make lanterns and sang a few songs of our own. We will postpone our fire until the weekend and I found a recipe for GF Stutenkerle that I will bake then. I would have made some yesterday, but the recipe calls for psyllium husk and I didn't have any. Our day was so full already. Here are the lanterns the children made.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0uBd70mA7w&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en&feature=player_embedded&fs=1]

Some resources we also found useful:
Our favourite St. Martin of Tours book
Colouring Pages
Cat Lantern Instructions (in German, but the picture are self-explanitory)
House Lantern Intructions (in German, but the picture are self-explanitory)
Glas Lantern Instructions (in German, but the picture are self-explanitory)
Interesting Informtation about the Feast and how it is celebrated

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lest We Forget

Today we remember all of the fallen soldiers who have fought for our freedom. Today is Remembrance Day. The children and I stopped our usual school studies to watch the Remembrance Day special on CBC. Prior to the actual ceremonies, there were stories of Canadian war heros. Having lived abroad for so many years, I had lost the importance and significance of Remembrance Day. This is the first time that we have actually spent time out of our schedule to remember those who have fought for our freedom. We are very lucky to be living in a country like Canada. We will also read the book In Flanders Fields and reflect on the following poem.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNnX2K6FePg&hl=en&fs=1&rel=0&border=1]

In remembrance, we took the time to do some Remembrance Day crafts and discuss it's importance.


Colouring Page: Lest We Forget


Angel Craftand Poppy Craft

Monday, November 9, 2009

Highlights from C Week


We have just finished week C in our journey Along the Alphabet Path. We did a number of exciting and interesting activities. Along with colouring a number of pages, Owen made a collage, did some notebooking for the book Corduroy and worked on his colours and counting. I am trying to get him to say yellow instead of instisting on calling it "star colour."


Owen loves coloring the lovely colouring pages from Kimberlee's Blog Pondered in my Heart.



I introduced Owen to the wonderful world of collage making. I gave him last year's Sears Christmas Catalogue and let him have fun. He cut out cars for his letter "C" collage.


We read Corduroy and found some ideas for making a Corduroy lapbook on the Homeschool Share website. I am sure that I have mentioned before that we notebook now, rather than lapbook. The work is easily stored in three ring binders and receives less abuse that way.



Although, Owen knows most of his colours, we still need to work on colours like beige, gray and of course, yellow. I made him a Turkey File Folder Game last year around this time. He still loves to take it out and sort all of the colours. This time he worked on reciting the poem that is included in the learning folder.



Owen also worked on his letter formation using his Handwriting Without Tears Slate Chalkboard, his favourite gem stones and the tracing material on That Resource Site.



I started making cookie counters for number recognition one night when I couldn't sleep. They aren't all quite finished yet. I have a picture of them cut out below and you can look at the pattern as well as some of the finished product. I have used the pattern suggestion to embroider the numbers on the back side. Owen is just starting to realize that numbers can be written down, just as letters can be. He still asks what letter it is, even if he is referring to a number.



A few of the books we also enjoyed reading this week include:

Christopher`s Harvest Time
Children of the Forest
Clown of God
Saint Colette Along the paths of the Gospel
The Stations of the Cross
Fat Cat on a mat
Canada`s Maple Leaf
M is for Maple: A Canadian Alphabet

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tree Silhouette

We aren't following any particular art curriculum this year. We love the website ART PROJECTS FOR KIDS. We try to do some of the art from this website every once in a while. I love the different mediums and different techniques used on this particular website. There are always great ideas and many of the projects aren't messy. One reason that we don't do art very often is due to the great deal of work it is to prepare and clean up after some art projects. I think I am allergic to mess when it comes to science experiments and art. I really want my kids to get a well rounded education, so I am praying to overcome the nasty feeling I get when I pull out the art supplies or science experiment stuff. Here is a project that we did using the Tree Silhouette Art Lesson on ART PROJECTS FOR KIDS.


Left to Right (Noah, Maria, Owen - I like his immitation. I didn't let him use sharpies, for obvious reasons. Can you find WALL-E somewhere in his picture?)

Small Successes ~ November 5

"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.

To participate, just write up a list of 3 of your recent Small Successes and post it on your blog along with the Small Successes button (go here to get the code)."
Faith & Family Live!

1. I made GF homemade pizza and vanilla pudding from scratch for the kids last night for supper. They were very pleased.

2. I obeyed my dear husband with regards to the All Saints Day celebration. I stayed home! He isn't the type of person to demand that I stay home from such events, but with me being in the high risk group for H1N1 and his working out of town, I had to see his side. I can't risk getting sick. Normally I would try to persuade him to change his mind, but this time I was obedient.

3. I have been spending more and more time with my preschooler doing fun school stuff. He no longer says, "I don't do school, I just do recess." Yeah me! Yeah us! He is working on a Corduroy lapbook for letter C week.

Those are my small successes. What are yours? Go to read more small success here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

All Souls

"It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from sins." (Macc. 12:46)

Prayer of St. Gertrude the Great

Our Lord dictated the following prayer to St. Gertrude the Great to release 1,000 Souls from Purgatory each time it is said.






"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen."

Help My Former High School Teachers and Their Students Make a Difference

I am a graduate of Sacred Heart High School in Walkerton, Ontario. Although, I am an avid home school mom and promote it in any way I can, I can not deny that there are some great Catholic Schools! I attended one many years ago. Not only that, but during one of the hardest years of my young life, a teacher couple from that school allowed me to board in their home. They are a very energic and loving couple whom I admire very much. I remember asking Joy, "How will I ever be able to repay you for what you have done for me?" She answered something like this, "In the future, when you have the opportunity to help someone like we helped you, then do it."

I just recently found out that Joy, her husband Peter and their daughter are going to an orphange in the DR (Dominican Republic). If I weren't due around the time of their mission trip, I would have like to have gone myself. But I probably wouldn't have been able to afford it either. I really want to support them in any way I can. Joy and Peter and their team from SHHS (Sacred Heart High School) are a dedicated and lively bunch that need are busy fundraising and collecting donations to make a difference in the lives of the orphans in the DR.

Here is an excerpt from the newsletter that Joy sent me...


The orphanage in the Dominican Republic is located about one hour from the capital of Santo Domingo and about 5 minutes from the city of San Pedro de Macoris. At present there are about 165 children living on site. Over the eight weeks, four teams worked very hard and completed many projects. The following are just a few . . . .

- Started and completed the new soccer field and irrigation system - donated irrigation pipes and donated goal nets
- The medical team did a health assessment for all the children on site as well as their caregivers. This team also processed patients from 8 bateys (villages) totaling 800 in all. GREAT WORK!
- The sports outreach team, joined by some of the children from the orphanage and some of the members from the Texas Rangers Training Camp, played many sports games with children and adults at about 7 Bateys and left sports outfits and equipment for their "teams".
- Sports outfits and equipment were also left at the orphanage for the children - of course, all the teams had twice weekly games of soccer and baseball with the children.
- Irrigated the garden area near the kitchen - next year the whole farm will be irrigated.
- Started a building in Batey Nuevo to house an adult education school as well as a small medical dispensary. The team also left funds to complete and equip this building, teacher's salary and educational aids.
- repiring taps, toilets, shower heads, cleaned out drains, made new tables, installed towel hooks, mirrors, shelves, etc.
- murals painted in the Library. Julie (the one year volunteer from France who is also the librarian) was very impressed!
- mural and shelving painted in the therapy room at the clinic. Nina (the one year volunteer from Austria who is also the therapist) was very happy.
- Started the process of constructing the safari unit for the back of the new truck.
- Kick started the sewing program again to the point that it will be part of the regular curriculum
- Dr. Don was back and held clinics at the orphanage and the small village, Batey Nuevo.
- Many volunteers helped the English teacher in her class at the school.
- Clotheslines were repaired and 4 new sets installed
- About 4 of the children's houses were painted
- special tables made for the library and the special needs house
- Repairing playground equipment and general maintenance around the houses.
- cutting and storage table made for the sewing room at the school
- There were about 45 hockey bags of shoes brought with the teams. These were donated to the children at the orphanage, to the workers on site and to people in the local villages
- Music played a very important role this year. We had many talented volunteers that helped at the school, played and sang at the Sunday Church Service and played each night at different Casas (children's houses).
- We added another piece of playground equipment - a new swing set - to the school at Batey Monte Christi - and also had a BBQ for the children there.
Again, this is just a sampling of what the team members were involved with.



Volunteer team dates for 2010 -
This year the theme is "Farming"

#1A - Mon., Jan 25 - Mon., Feb 8 - general (min. of 20 to a max. of 40 members)

International NPH meeting Mexico - Feb 8 - 15 - no volunteer teams

#1B - Mon., Feb. 15 - Mon., Mar. 1 - general (min. of 20 to a max. of 40 members)
Note - If there are enough team members for 1A and 1B, both will be a go.
If not, we will combine 1A and 1B.

#2 - Mon., Mar. 1 - Mon., Mar. 15 - medical and general (40 members max.)

#3 - Walkerton Sacred Heart HS - Mon., Mar. 15 to Mar. 29 - This team is full(20 Walkerton + 6 Gina + 5 Elsie + 10 Truro Mac Tacs)


Note * All team trips are composed of many areas of work, be it in construction, landscaping, working with the children - art, games, helping in the children’s homes, working with the care givers, helping in the English class at the school, sewing program, general "handyman", mechanic, painting welding, etc. -- there is a spot for everyone.
*** one on one attention is so meaningful to the kids who are abandoned or orphaned***. Contact Ken or Mark if you would like to participate in any of the above dates, they will send you an application form, waiever and general question and answer sheets.

Also note - that the trips for 2010 will run Monday to Monday and we will fly with West Jet into La Romana which is about 45 minutes from the orphanage. We are doing this to get the best rates to the airport closest to the orphanage.

For about a dollar a day you can make a difference in the life of one of the children at any of the NPH orphanages in 9 countries. Contact Ken or Mark.

Donations . . . . again, your help is appreciated . . . Our volunteer groups depend on donations from organizations and individuals to support the work we do for the children at the orphanage and surrounding villages. Each volunteer can take two 50 lb hockey bags packed with donations (and possibly in 2010, one extra bag per person, if we get an OK from the airline for the extra "humanitarian" bag -- Thanks to West Jet for the extra bag last year!!!) . The volunteers on the 2009 trip brought with them over 300 hockey bags of donations!!! It was wonderful to see the look of thanks and gratitude on the faces of those receiving help. The extent of what we can do often rests with the generosity of people and the content of what is in those bags.

Some comments from team volunteers and orphanage volunteers -

"At the orphanage, I had an hour long conversation with a boy who is 13. He speaks French, so that is the only reason why I could speak with him for so long. He is from Haiti and came here three years ago because he has cancer. He was only to stay here while he was having his radiation treatments. However, his family never came to pick him up and take him home so he is still here at the orphanage. Hearing this story made my heart just drop but watching him cope and have such a positive attitude on life is amazing. He and I became really close so I gave him my cross (given to me by the school) so it gives him faith for the future." (one of the student volunteers)


"The warmth is wonderful. We feel it not only from the sun but through the eyes and smiles of the children."

"After supper, our entire large group, Nova Scotia and Walkerton, walk to Batey Nuevo and it is here we witness first hand the harsh realities that life in the Dominican Republic holds for so many."

"We had our first singing visit to the casas (children's houses) and this was a powerful, emotional highlight for all of us."

Someone once said to me, "You and Ken come here, this year for over 8 weeks, endure all this heat, cold showers, rice and beans, come home many pounds lighter, look after all the organizational needs for all the volunteers and still pay for the experience like everyone else. You are really dedicated!"

"I found inspiration in your groups and especially your leadership. I wonder sometimes if the decision I made (to come here) was the best and I am not sure if I will ever know, but I do know that I will forever be indebted to your groups that came here. They reminded me why I came here in the first place and why in some way this place will always be home. You reminded me of the importance of the work that we are doing and that it is not done in the vacuum of one country or home, but together.
Your volunteers graciously came to English classes to help, especially Connie's experiences for three weeks in the school! As they saw and you know, the school is an area of great potential and something I think can be improved significantly in the future. But if there were ever a place that reminds you where the kids are coming from and how important it is where they are going, it would be the school. The example your volunteers gave our children was priceless. Their time and their care in helping the children, talking with them, and smiling . . . more than anything, that. I was moved to tears of joy one day in the classes as I watched every single third grader have someone to work with them and talk to them, congratulate them and hug them as they completed their work. These are the moments that change peoples' lives. The kids never receive the one-on-one attention they need - a feat that is nearly impossible - but for that one afternoon they had what they deserved and they saw it and believed it." - Kelly, English teacher, one year volunteer from Boston.

"Wow, back to reality. We had 2 feet of snow and school cancelled today in Nova Scotia. We are all back and we are all humbled by the experience. Thank you all for making it happen. It's a real gift. It's great how giving a little love makes you come home feeling richer than when you left. It was all wonderful. We WILL see you all again." Ian & Brenda

Tools - would be nice if we could purchase them in the DR. This helps the local economy and you get a full tax receipt for your donation. Items the orphanage needs are - socket set, wrench set, vice grips, adjustable wrenches, side cutters (linesman pliers), any mechanic and carpentry tools, welder.


If you would like to give a donation of money for a special project (health care, schooling, sewing project, tools for trade shops, clothing for children, furniture for children’s house, etc.) we can make the purchase in the Dominican Republic and give you a tax receipt for the full amount. If you make note in the memo area of your cheque where you would like your donation directed, we will make sure your wishes are carried out. We guarantee the money donated will only be used for what you indicated and we can take photos to show you your money in action. Send cheques (made out to Friends of the Orphans Canada) to Ken Speers #5133 Line # 90 RR # 2 Palmerston Ont. N0G 2P0.



More on the 2010 trip . . . .

If you always wanted to experience a "working holiday" - think about this opportunity.

We are looking for volunteers from all walks of life and all ages. Men and women, students 18 and older (or younger people with guardians). Volunteers knowledgeable in . . . welding, electrical, plumbing, auto mechanics, carpentry - we hope to have children working along side you to get first-hand knowledge. As well, volunteers to help with handicap and special needs children, art and art therapy, help with the English teacher, massage therapy, music. This year we have a medical team and are looking for Doctors, nurses, optometrists and any other health professionals. Please note . . . you don't really need a special skill . . . just being there with the children makes a difference.

Costs . . . Each volunteer pays $2,500. to take part (this is the cost of a two week trip, one week is the same price) - (a tax receipt for the full amount will be issued). To raise the funds, you can solicit friends, relatives, your church, community service groups, auction a talent you have, work as a group to fundraise. All payments should be made out to Friends of the Orphans Canada and sent to Ken Speers # 5133 Line # 90 RR # 2 Palmerston Ont. N0G 2P0. (please mark in the memo line D.R. Trip). Of the $2,500. about $1,000. goes toward the orphanage projects, the balance covers your flight, food, lodging, sight seeing. The only other money you would need would be for souvenirs, etc. Team members are responsible for their own travel insurance. Trip applications are available from Ken or Mark.

During your stay at the orphanage, everyone will have the opportunity to visit the NPH (off site) housing project, go to town (San Pedro) to buy supplies, interact with the local villagers (bring cards or games, if you wish). We may also have the opportunity to visit a local shoe factory and/or arrange for a horse back excursion. During the weekends, we will be staying off-site at a hotel/resort. We will have lots of time to interact with the children at school and at their houses, games of soccer and baseball, possibly at the beach. There are side trips planned to take a tour of the Texas Ranger (or possibly the Blue Jays) Baseball Training Camp, National scenic caves, possibly a walking tour of the Zona Colonial (old city section) of Santo Domingo and you will have free time to shop, dance, etc. in San Pedro de Macoris. Most of the questions you may have are answered in the Question and Answer information available from Mark or Ken.

"You may only be one person in the world, but you may be all the world to one child." Father Wm Wasson, founder of NPH (1936-2006)


A bit about the children . . . The boys and girls at Nuestros PequeZos Hermanos (Spanish for "Our Little Brothers and Sisters") are orphaned, abandoned or disadvantaged. Many have suffered physical and/or verbal abuse, have lived in horrible conditions and may have been shuffled from one family member to another. Like all children, they are seeking love and security, a place they can call home. They are referred to NPH by family members, neighbours or government agencies. When they come to NPH, they range in age from newborn to teenager and are told they will never be asked to leave.

Children at NPH homes are not available for adoption. Instead they are welcomed with their brothers and sisters and become a part of the larger, stable NPH family environment, giving them a chance to focus on education, personal and spiritual growth, knowing that a loving support system will always be in place for them. The children grow and learn in their culture and language and become contributing citizens in their own countries.

There is no fixed age at which the children leave NPH. They stay until they feel prepared to live independently. Some children may leave NPH and start working after finishing secondary school or take vocational training or study at a university. Additionally, when a child has completed his or her education, or perhaps before going on to higher academics, they are expected to give back to their NPH family by completing a year of service (aZo de servicio or aZo familiar). In almost all cases, they gladly return to work with younger children, serve in the kitchen, offices, school or farm. During their time of Family Service, they continue to be supported by NPH.
Thousands of pequeZos are now self-sufficient adults with families of their own. Many are educators, doctors, accountants, carpenters, farmers, mechanics, artists, administrators and social workers. Some work for NPH in one of the nine countries where NPH has homes. Having learned the NPH philosophies of sharing and giving back, others support Friends of the Orphans Canada and NPH by sponsoring children, organizing fundraisers, or attending special events and serving as ambassadors for the organization. You can learn more at www.nph.org and also check www.fotocan.org



If there are any questions that have not been covered here, or if you have any comments, please be in touch with Joy or Peter King joy_king@bgcdsb.org.

To support the Team from SHHS please send cheques payable to:

Joy A King
Music Teacher ~ DR Trip 2010
Sacred Heart High School
Walkerton, ON
519-881-1900
joy_king@bgcdsb.org
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