Thursday, June 23, 2011

June 24th ~ Feast of Saint John the Baptist

Prayer to Saint John the Baptist
O God, You raised up St. John the Baptist to prepare a perfect people for Christ. Fill Your people with the joy of possessing His grace, and direct the minds of all the faithful in the way of peace and salvation.
Grant that as St. John was martyred for truth and justice, so we may energetically profess our Faith in You, and lead others to the Way, the Truth, and Eternal Life. Amen.

Tomorrow is the memorial of the birthday of Saint John the Baptist. As a result, I asked my daughter to look up some activites for his Feast Day tomorrow. She looked in my copy of "The Big Book of Catholic Customs and Traditions" to find some ideas how we can celebrate it. (I am trying to incorporate more feasts into daily life) It suggested to do a few neat things:
* Make a celebration table
* Look at baptismal pictures of each family member
* Eat a snack with honey
* Water Play

When we lived in Germany and the kiddos went to a Waldorf kindergarten, they celebrated Johanni (Feast for Saint John the Baptist) with a bonfire. We hope the weather is favourable enough to do a bonfire and plan on using this blessing to bless the bonfire.

Since yesterday was supposed to be the nicest day of the week according to the weatherman, we decided to do some water play in memory of the baptizing Saint. Dumb as I am, I questioned my daughter about the significance of playing in water for the feast day. A moment later came the duh' effect. Then I set up the water slide and planned for an afternoon in my beloved backyard.

Have a blessed Feast Day.

Summertime Stay-cation

Summer is officially here! Yeah! I love the freedom of summer. Sipping cool drinks on the backyard patio until the sun sets and the smell of the barbeque are all I need for a few months of the year to rejuvenate after the long winter. Did I mention that I love summer?

Where are you going this summer? Everyone makes great plans to go here and there, day-camps, summer-camps, holidays, vacation and the list goes on. People always give me the "Awwwww, you aren't going anywhere." But in all honesty, I love my backyard and that is somewhere isn't it? We also just came home from 'back home' for the funeral of my godfather and spent two weeks on the farm.

I love my backyard. When we moved here in February, I couldn't visualize what potential my backyard would actually have. It was buried under a few feet of snow. I knew there was a patio, but I had no clue how big it was. I couldn't image a garden fitting in the backyard and a swingset, sandbox a firepit and shrubs and all that is there now.
In our quest to live simply, we decided to make our home and yard our place of prayer, work, relaxation and fun. Do we really need to go to an all-inclusive resort to relax? Perhaps, but I personally don't need that. Although, we spent quite a lot on the backyard buying plants (2 rosebushes, 4 current bushes, 5 raspberry bushes, 2 hacksapberry bushes, 2 rhubarb plants, three ornamental bushes, a strawberry plant, a few marigold and pansies, onions and various seeds)and accessories (hoe, shovel, pitch fork, rake, compost, gardening gloves, a few containers, topsoil and pro-mix), it was probably worth less than an all-inclusive vacation for 2 people to the Dominican or Mexico and it lasts longer (hopefully). This year our harvest won't be as bountiful as in the next few years, but it is worth the investment. We bought smaller bushes with a smaller price tag, so we will have to wait. On the other hand, we have already been able to harvest some baby spinach and the lettuce and radishes are soon ready. The pea are climing my climbing apperatice and the bean will be too in a short time. There are plans to buy a few fruit trees as well. We still can't decide if the should be pear or apple. Our winter conditions make it hard for many fruit trees, but if they grow I will have lots of canning to do. Too bad there isn't room for an orchard...

Living simply and gardening go hand in hand. Gardening teaches patience and perserverance, faith and understanding. You must wait for your food, but if you keep everything weeded and watered you will be rewarded. You have to have faith in God that He will provide you with the knowledge and material you need for the success of growing an abundance. He also provides you with the understanding that you are working with Him in providing for the family. I love garden for all of these reasons. I love staying in my backyard and praying. Praying for His help and mercy, praying that a few bees or butterflies show up to aid in pollination (hence the ornamental bushes and flowers).

My backyard also provides the making of happy memories for the whole family. I don't mind a stay-cation in one of the loveliest places on earth (not meant to bragging, just humble contentment)... my backyard.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Teaching Little Ones to Love Jesus

My little one tries so hard to say his prayers. He is only 16 months old, but really tries. I was able to capture his attempts at making the sign of the cross on video. He loves Jesus and if I can remember correctly, Jesus was his first word. A priest in the making, perhaps? Who knows? Please pray for him.
Thank you for stopping by and God Bless.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Living Simply ~ Unschooling

Today I am going to touch on a subject that has been on my heart for some time: unschooling. I have been feeling more and more drawn to unschooling my children. Unschooling doesn't mean "no school", it is rather child-led learning. There is a great new Catholic book available about unschooling and being Catholic.
I have been reading a copy of "the unschooling handbook" that I borrowed from the library to learn a little bit more about the concept of unschooling. I also happened upon a few good Catholic unschooler blogs:
Unschooling Catholics

Living Without School

The concept of unschooling is very appealing to me. I have tried to teach the kids things that were on other peoples lists and keep up with rigorous schedules, to only drop them after a few months. Every fall we get off to a great start, are burnt out by Christmas, hate school for a few months and then scramble to meet outcomes presented to us by our school board. The result has been burnout, sense of failure, arguements and threats to send the kids to "real school." If unschooling can reverse at least a few of these negative reactions to school as we have been doing it, it will be well worth it.

I am a schooly type person, though. How can I let go of all of what I know? I don't have to luckily, because my kids are schooly-types, too. They like to research and do unit studies and lapbooks. This makes it easier for me. They want to learn all sorts of neat things, just not the things that I pick out for them. We did more school this week, than all year it seems like.

This week we:

prayed together
cooked and baked
pulled weeds
planted onions
pushed the baby on the swing
rode bikes
went for walks
mowed the lawn
built mecano without instructions
started a study on horses
found Egypt on the map
read two different stories about the Trojan horse
researched keeping quail
researched keeping angora bunnies
contacted a breeder of both
baked brownies
made homemade pizza (grain-free)
sewed a bonnet
made a hobby-horse
read horse books
did lots of dishes
read rtv catalogues
started a pig lapbook
read pig farming books
started a unit on farming
PAT testing
went to the library and signed out tons of books
played Wii
looked at sewing books with lots of great projects
daydreamt about farming and being self-sufficient
laughed and joked
cried and fought
and lots of other things that I have forgotten. Btw, the list is a compilation of everyones' learning adventures for this week.

Thank you for stopping by and God Bless.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bathroom Renovated

Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike our bathroom previous to the renovation. I hated detested it!

The shower doors were the causing me to go insane. Who ever thought that shower three-door shower enclosures were practical or even nice. It is nearly impossible to bath a little one in the tub with the shower doors always in the way. If you have ever tried, you know what I am talking about. Try getting the baby out without elbow scrapes.

Another problem was that the toilet paper holder was in front of the toilet on the opposite wall. If you have little ones who use the toilet independantly, but have to call because they can't reach the toilet paper, it is not good. Especially when they don't call and choose not to use toilet paper anymore. Do you understand where I am coming from?

We ended up ripping out the shower doors and this left an unsightly mess behind. It wasn't pretty, but what was even worse was the drowning hazard our low tub provided us with. I usually bath the littles together and then the bigger ones bath themselves. It was problematic if they forgot to let out the water. Our baby is very drawn to water and if I forgot to check if the tub was emptied, our little one tried more than once to jump in. It only takes a second. It was stressful for me, especially when you need to help more than one after a bath and can't have eyes and hands everywhere.

So, we saved up some money, watched the sales and started gathering all of the supplies to make our bathroom beautiful and practical. The contractor came the day we left for Ontario. When we came back, we were blessed with a beautiful, practical and SAFE bathroom. Did I mention that this is our only bathroom? I love it. We did hire out someone to do the actual work, but it was our design and we chose the materials. All in all, we spent about $4000 including labour. It was well worth the money spent and it will last a lifetime
long time, we hope.

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