Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 2 - Immaculate Conception Novena Prayers

Day 2 - Immaculate Conception Novena Prayers

O most pure Virgin Mary conceived without sin, from the very first instant, you were entirely immaculate. O glorious Mary full of grace, you are the mother of my God - the Queen of Angels and of men. I humbly venerate you as the chosen mother of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Prince of Peace and the Lord of Lords chose you for the singular grace and honor of being his beloved mother. By the power of his Cross, he preserved you from all sin. Therefore, by His power and love, I have hope and bold confidence in your prayers for my holiness and salvation.

I pray first of all that you would make me worthy to call you my mother and your Son, Jesus, my Lord.

I pray that your prayers will bring me to imitate your holiness and submission to Jesus and the Divine Will.

Hail Mary...

Now, Queen of Heaven, I beg you to beg my Savior to grant me these requests...

(Mention your intentions)

My holy Mother, I know that you were obedient to the will of God. In making this petition, I know that God's will is more perfect than mine. So, grant that I may receive God's grace with humility like you.

As my final request, I ask that you pray for me to increase in faith in our risen Lord; I ask that you pray for me to increase in hope in our risen Lord; I ask that you pray for me to increase in love for the risen Jesus!

Hail Mary...


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Saint Gianna's Relics are Coming

Tomorrow, Saint Gianna Beretta Molla's relics will be coming to our parish. I have had this date marked (in my head) for weeks. I want to go, but I almost never leave the house in the evening. I know that sounds weird, but it is true.

I am not in any groups or involved in any community activities that require me to leave the house in the evening. I used to teach English at a night school in Germany. It ripped my heart out to leave the kiddos at home. I missed tucking them into bed and giving them kisses, reading to them, praying with them and just being there. My husband is fully capable of doing all of those things, but I hated missing out. I feel that it is my job to be home and close out the day with the family. The kids almost always slept terribly on those evenings. They woke up in the middle of the night and checked to see if I was there. It was exhausting.

When we moved here, I joined the church choir. Practises were on Thursday evenings. The same occurances took place. The children did not sleep well and I felt terribly guilty. Maybe I am not normal. I know plenty of moms who are uber-involved in the parish and community. Some are pro-life advocates, others are members of church groups, and others yet lead groups and talks. I am different. I have always known it. I am not better or worse, but rather trying to do what I belief God wants me to do. So it is for this reason, that I find myself torn on going out tomorrow evening.

I was sent an email from a blog reader that encouraged me to go to the presentation of Saint Gianna's relics. Actually, I must admit that I don't know that much about Saint Gianna. I remember once telling my husband that she chose the life of her own baby over hers. My husband got very angry and was horribly upset that I agreed with her actions. He still feels this way. Don't get me wrong, he is pro-life, but he can't believe a woman would leave behind a bunch of children in order to save one more. His feelings make me uncomfortable. He knows that I would do the same. He feels that her act was one of selfishness, not the opposite. He feels that the other children needed their mother more. It hurt to hear these things and I decided not to persue learning more about Saint Gianna. Talking about her with the family caused friction, friction that I wanted to avoid.

I am a coward. What a weak soul that I am. As much as I want to learn more, I am confronted with confusion, fear and aprehension. I love my husband, but I love God more. I still haven't decided whether I will go or not. The presentation is at 7:00pm, bedtime for my kiddos. Not to mention, the little guy still breastfeeds at that time. Do I take everyone with me, go alone, not go at all? What would you do? My six year old and the little guy are fidgety on the best of days. Will I even get anything out of it? Please pray that I find a peaceful solution.

If you live in Calgary, or surrounding area, you are more than welcome to come to the presentations held in our city.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 7 pm
in St. Bonaventure Church
1600 Acadia Drive SE, Calgary
[near Canyon Meadows Drive]

Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 7 pm
in St. Luke’s Church
1566 Northmount Drive NW, Calgary

The presentation will be made by Mr. Robert White, President of St. Gianna Society Warminster, Pennsylvania. The society has a beautiful website and there is a list of places that Saint Gianna's relics will visit. I read some of the testimonials from people who touched her relics and they brought tears to my eyes.

I will leave you with her prayer.

Prayer of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla

Jesus, I promise You to submit myself to all that You permit to befall me, make me only know Your will. My most sweet Jesus, infinitely merciful God, most tender Father of souls,and in a particular way of the most weak, most miserable, most infirmwhich You carry with special tenderness between Your divine arms,I come to You to ask You, through the love and merits of Your Sacred Heart,the grace to comprehend and to do always Your holy will,the grace to confide in You,the grace to rest securely through time and eternity in Your loving divine arms.

God Bless,

Saint Andrew Novena

The Saint Andrew novena begins tomorrow and is prayed each day until Christmas. It is a tradition that I didn't know about until a few years back. I first read about it on Elizabeth Foss' blog and then started seeing St. Andrew chaptlets and novena prayers popping up on other blogs. Praying for Grace is hosting a St. Andrew chaplet giveaway on her blog. I made a chaplet last advent out of beads that I had leftover from making rosaries.

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

We pray this beautiful prayer 15 times per day from November 30 until Christmas. Please join me, even if you don't have a chaplet. You don't really need one. Some people say the 15 prayers throughout their day and leave little prayer cards of reminders around the house, in prominent places. However you chose to pray this novena, may God bless you and your family during this advent season.

God Bless,

Immaculate Conception Novena

Today we begin praying the Immaculate Conception Novena. Will you join me in praying? You can have the prayers sent right to your email inbox. I recently subscribed to Pray More Novenas and now receive the novena prayers via email. As good as my intentions have been in the past, I usually forgot that a novena was about to begin, so I never bothered to pray novenas. Now there are no more excuses for me. You can subscribe to Pray More Novenas and pray with me and about 6800 others, you just need to follow this link.

Day 1 - Immaculate Conception Novena Prayers

O most pure Virgin Mary conceived without sin, from the very first instant, you were entirely immaculate. O glorious Mary full of grace, you are the mother of my God - the Queen of Angels and of men. I humbly venerate you as the chosen mother of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Prince of Peace and the Lord of Lords chose you for the singular grace and honor of being his beloved mother. By the power of his Cross, he preserved you from all sin. Therefore, by His power and love, I have hope and bold confidence in your prayers for my holiness and salvation.

I pray first of all that you would make me worthy to call you my mother and your Son, Jesus, my Lord.

I pray that your prayers will bring me to imitate your holiness and submission to Jesus and the Divine Will.

Hail Mary...

Now, Queen of Heaven, I beg you to beg my Savior to grant me these requests...

(Mention your intentions)

My holy Mother, I know that you were obedient to the will of God. In making this petition, I know that God's will is more perfect than mine. So, grant that I may receive God's grace with humility like you.

As my final request, I ask that you pray for me to increase in faith in our risen Lord; I ask that you pray for me to increase in hope in our risen Lord; I ask that you pray for me to increase in love for the risen Jesus!

Hail Mary...


God Bless,

Sunday, November 27, 2011

November 27th ~ The Jesse Tree

The past few years, we have begun advent with the Jesse Tree. We love the tradition. It is our way of preparing our hearts for the coming of Jesus on Christmas. I made a tree out of green tree material two years ago. Our ornaments are printed and cut out and are hung on the tree each day until Christmas.

Today we begin with the story of Jesse, the father of David. You can join us with today's readings from Isaiah 11:1-10 and 1 Samuel 16:1-13

For the ornaments and the daily reflections that we use, please follow this link.

This is our Jesse tree.

God Bless and warmest wishes from our family this advent.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

An Eventful Advent

With everyone, including me, having been run down with nasty colds, lack of energy and drowziness, I haven't really got much ready for Advent. In the past, I tried to plan for Advent, but somehow life always happens and has other plans. I have come to realize that a lack of planning and spontaneity is pretty much how our family functions. Actually, I often plan, but the plans get thrown overboard for various reasons. This Advent, I vowed to do what feels natural, so that my plans stay in tact and I can finally feel successful at something. I am learning that accepting our situation as it is, is key to my sanity. So this year, we are doing two Advent Calendars:

♥ Book Calendar
♥ Movie Calendar

I have seen other homeschooling moms post about the book calendar in previous years. This year, I finally have enough Advent/Christmas books to make this happen. I bought a lot of books second hand when I saw them available, so as not to hurt the budget come Advent & Christmas times. God provided in the greatest way so that I can share our list. Some of the books are from Oma and are in German, which is exciting for me. We don't read the German books as often as we should.

Der Nussknacker by Susa Hämmerle
The Legend of Old Belfana by Tomie de Paola
The Log Cabin Christmas by Ellen Howard
Saint Nicholas The Real Story of the Christmas Legend by Julie Stiegemeyer
Vom Nikolaus den Kindern erzählt by Barbara Cratzius
The Miracle of St. Nicholas by Gloria Whelan
The Legend of the Pointsettia by Tomie de Paola
Christmas in the Old Stable by Angela Lamatsch
The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell
The Clown of God by Tomie de Paola
The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson
Our Lady of Guadalupe by Father Lovasik
Hanna's Christmas by Melissa Peterson
The Christmas Candle by Richard Paul Evans
The Huron Carol by Frances Tyrel
The Cat on the Dovrefell by Tomie de Paola
The Star Tree by Gisela Cölle
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg
A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
The Legend of the Christmas Rose by William H. Hooks
Christmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Die Weihnachtsgeschichte den Kindern erzählt by Reinhard Abeln
Die Weihnachtsgeschichte by Anastassija Archipowa

My husband has always collected videos and now dvds. So we have an extended collection of vhs and dvd Christmas movies. I also added a few saint movies on feast days and we are watching Bernadette the Princess of Lourdes from CCC on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Again, the list is a mix of German and English movies. We saved the longer ones for the weekends and kept the shorter ones for the weekdays. I don't know if we will really watch them all, but it is our advent calendar, so we have to give an effort. Where there was an English movie version of the German one we have, I tried to provide the title and link to it. You will also see the I have the Sissi collection as the 25th movie. This trilogie always ran on German television during the holidays, so it is a holiday tradition and not a Christmas movie. I was surprised to see that there is an English version. It will take us a few days or maybe a week to work through this one, but who cares, it is the holidays, right? A few of the movies are my hubby's favourites, so I can't not watch them. You can guess which ones those are. I will watch them with him and the kids, explaining again that the language and behaviour is not acceptable and that blah, blah, blah. You know what I mean. Anyway, here is our movie advent calendar.

Franklin's Magic Christmas
Polar Express
Francis Xavier and the Samurai's Lost Treasure
Under the Greenwood Tree
The Toy that Saved Christmas
Nicholas the Boy Who Became Santa
Winnie Puuh - Honigsüße Weihnachtszeit
Bernadette the Princess of Lourdes
Lauras Weichnachtsstern
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Little House on the Prairie - Christmas
Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Franklin's Christmas Gift
Mickey's Magical Christmas
Home Alone
Jingle All the Way
Betty und Ihre Schwestern (Little Women)
Die Schöne und das Biest: Weihnachtszauber (Beauty and the Beast)
Merry Winter Wish Thomas & Friends
Das Weihnachtshaus (Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Cottage)
Ein Engel in der Stadt (When Angels Come to Town)
Wunder einer Weihnacht - Die Weihnachtsgeschichte (Christmas Story)
The Nativity Story
Sissi Trilogie (The Sissi Collection)

God Bless and have a blessed advent.

When a Man Dreams

Is it odd for a man to dream about having a baby? I don't mean that he gives birth, but that he dreams about his wife giving birth and actually naming the baby. Is this odd?

Last night, my dear sweet husband admitted to me that he has been somewhat freaked out for the past few days and couldn't get his mind off a dream he had the other night. My husband quietly told me that he dreamt that I gave birth to a baby boy at home and we named him Adam Gerard. Coincidence?

After my last miscarriage, I prayed the St. Gerard novena and promised that I would name my next baby after St. Gerard if the baby were a boy. My husband knew this, but the name Adam comes out of nowhere. I am shocked, stunned and hopefully excited. I would love to have another baby. I was secretly hoping for a girl, but boys are so much fun. Please pray that this dream comes true. I would absolutely LOVE ♥♥♥ to have another baby.

God Bless,

Thankful Thursday - Thanksgiving U.S.A.

Today I am wishing all of my American friends a blessed Thanksgiving feast. We were originally going to celebrate with you by making another Thanksgiving dinner, but I need to save the turkey I bought for Christmas dinner. So I will raise a glass and toast y'all from afar.

In lieu of Thanksgiving, I wanted to post a Thankful Thursday post, anyway.

♥ my sewing machine. It is working overtime right now.
♥ knitting needles and lovely yarn for the free patterns
♥ etsy shops
♥ Oma's generosity
♥ deep freeze with a generous amount of meat in it
♥ power tools: drill, stud finder, food-processor, blender, dishwasher.
♥ electricity: we had two power outages last week.
♥ lots of candles
♥ my Romertopf - makes the best, most tender chicken ever! (even if it starts out frozen
♥ the Wii. I love that I can get a workout without having to go to the gym. It comes in handy when the weather is -20C outside and the boys need to burn off energy, too.
♥ library books and their "holding system." It saves so much time and $$$.
♥ last but not least, family and friends, near and far.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Homemade Christmas ~ Chocolate

We are trying to have a simple, homemade Christmas this year. I must admit that it hard to do ONLY homemade. Each child will receive a little something from the Danish company that produces great educational and creative toy sets, but most of the rest will be homemade.

The one aspects of Christmas that most people love is the part that involves food and treats. While I know that this is far from the most important part of the season, it is an inevitable part of the celebration. In the past, I baked cookies and made squares and filled the fridge-top freezer for the holidays. That has changed since going gluten free. I can't make our family favourites anymore. In the past few years, our Christmas food has evolved and revolved around our dietary restrictions. I have a few recipes that I like, but most of them are candy recipes. Homemade candy and chocolates have replaced sugar cookies and sweet marie bars. Last year, I started making chocolates to give to neighbours and friends. We made some scd safe peanut brittle and some chocolates.

This year I plan on making more chocolates.
Last year, I bought candy melts at Michaels and molded them in chocolate molds from wilton. I found an online shop that sells Callebaut (Belgian) chocolate for a great price. I bought some molds on ebay because won't allow me to buy them from them. I actually wanted this mold, but I couldn't find it anywhere that ships to Canada. That isn't true, I found an online shop that ships the $4.95 mold with postage costing $21.95 and I couldn't justify that! I bought the three molds in the set for $15 CDN and change, which cost less than the molds on I plan on reusing these molds year after year, so the initial costs don't seem too high. I also bought a Christmas themed chocolate mold to add to my collection. This way, with these molds and the few that I bought last year, I can do all of the chocolates in one batch and not have to wait until the molds are set and empty again.

I am all about living simply and being thrifty, so I feel bad when I spend large amounts of money. Am I wrong to feel this way? I try to model a simple life, but want to create beautiful things for my family. This reminds me of what a priest once told me about wanting things. He said that it is not wrong to have things. He told me that we need to look at why we want to have something. He also told me to ponder whether it (the thing I want to buy) would bring me closer to Christ and whether it is something that helps you to be a better person? Can chocolate and molds bring you closer to Christ or make me a better person? I think so. If Christ himself were to come to my house at Christmas, I would want to have something to serve Him. I would love to have something for Him that I slaved over and made sacrifices to obtain and make. Chocolate making takes patience and perserverance, both admirable qualities any saint in the making should acquire during their lifetime.

Some food for thought.... how to temper chocolate.


Wishing you all a happy homemade holiday season. God Bless.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Daybook ~ November 14, 2011

Outside My Window it is dark and frosty. It smells like snow.

I am Listening to silence. The children are all sleeping, but one and that one is reading quietly in her room.

I am Wearing pj's as usual on a Monday morning.

I am so Grateful to be able to sew, knit, crochet, embroider etc. These things come easily to me. They have saved us so much money, but more importantly, they have created smiles and the warmest hugs.

I'm Pondering “Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.”
― Cornelia Funke, Inkheart

I am Thinking that I should never have begun watching the film version of books before reading the books themselves. I have cheated myself beyond belief. I knew that, I was just stupid.

I am Creating more Christmas gifts. I made this for my oldest, this for my daughter and I am making this for my 6 year old and for daddy.

I am learning that I can get a lot done if I spend a LOT less time on the computer. I knew that, but it is always good to remind oneself of accomplishments that happen when you avoid temptations.

To live the liturgy I am going to print out Lacy's Mass booklets and start trying to memorize the changes in the liturgy.

Towards a Real Education we are making this Canadian History week. We are studying Courage and Conquest this year and put it on hold because we didn't have the DVD "Canada: A People's History". We finally got the dvd from the library (it was placed on hold two months ago and we only got it now) and have it for only a week.

Towards Rhythm and Beauty I am trying to make an effort to make a better schedule for the littlest one.

I am Hoping and Praying that this nasty cold goes away and most importantly that it doesn't get passed around.

Around the House blankets. There is nothing better than cuddling up under warm cosy blankets, especially when you are feeling under the weather. I love that when I am wrapped in a blanket, I am magnetic to any child with a book.

From the Kitchen: for breakfast - banana bread; lunch - leftover roast beef and potatoes with salad; dinner - pumpkin sweet potato soup

One of My Favorite Things are books. I am reading Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt. It is a book about books. I have always loved books, but Gladys had reminded me why I love books so much. I have this book on loan from the library, but I think I might need to buy a copy of my own.

On the Calendar this week we have no plans. I need to get better, then I can make plans.

Worth a Thousand Words My little guy hugging his baby brother's Christmas present for the camera. We love waldorf dolls. They are so cuddly and innocent. I made this one and hope that my littlest will stop stealing his sister's dolls love it for a long time.

God Bless you and yours this week.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

How Do You Socialize Your Children?

Cute video. How many of us homeschoolers have found ourselves in exactly this situation?

God Bless.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful Thursdays

"A time to remember to be thankful. A pause in the week for praise, thanksgiving and thinking positively, in addition to the normal daily praise
we need to give God."

♥ washing machines (especially since we use cloth diapers)
♥ a cozy home
♥ lots of yarn to knit presents for the family
♥ warm blankets
♥ hot tea & honey
♥ family who helps me out because I am battling a cold
♥ husband with warm feet
♥ kind blogger friends who leave wonderful comments

I have so much to be truly thankful for. These are the first things that came to mind today. I couldn't possibly mention everything.

God Bless,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday ~ Costume Clearance Sales = Dressup Fun For a Few Dollars

Keepin it Real

Keepin it Real on Tuesday is hosted by Crunchy Catholic Momma

"Take a picture of one of your rooms (the way it really looks when no one is watching). Blog about it or post a picture on your Flickr, then link to this post at the bottom linky link. Lets stop pretending our lives are picture perfect, reality is more fun anyway and we can all share in the fact that we are not super heros we are women with real lives who make awesome stuff but forget to scratch off a few things on the To Do list."

I know that I was almost a week late for the last post and now I am a day late for this post, but oh well. From my last post, everyone now know that I am not perfect. I also mentioned that I dedicate spots in my house where clutter is able to collect without me going crazy. Well here it is...
This is our quaint little living room. Do you spy my laundry?
That is actually two bags of laundry and hiding behind that are two potties. There is no room in our tiny bathroom for the potties. We have two because the little one can never decide which one he likes more.
To keep it real though, a shot of my desk. Unread newspaper draped over the sewing machine, a recipe on top of that, notes, a Chalice gift catalogue, the head of my son's soon-to-be waldorf baby, a utility bill, camera case, my son's server schedule and various other little things that don't belong on my desk.

Thanks to Crunchy Catholic Momma for Keepin it Real

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

St. Martin's Day Lapbook

Friday November 11th marks the feast day of Saint Martin of Tours. Having lived in Germany for almost 9 years, I celebrated a number of times with my friends there. My dear friend Michaela introduced me to this feast when Noah was just over a year old. She convinced me that I should make Noah a lantern and come with her to a few parades. Since then our love of Saint Martin's Day has grown.

I remember making lanterns each year with the children and going on little parades after dark and singing St. Martin songs. At the end, we warmed ourselves up at the "Martinsfeuer" a huge bonfire and ate Weckmaenner.

In honour of good Saint Martin, I am sharing a lapbook that I made to commemorate his feast day this Friday. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

First you need to make an F3 folder. I learned how to make these from the lovely folks at thatresourcesite. I wanted to make them as an F3 folder so that my kids can put them in their portfolios for their facilitator to see.

When you have made your double F3 folder, you need to print out all of the pages. Please let me know if you want these files. Email me and I will send you the files. I am having difficulty posting them on scribd. They totally re-format themselves and I can't figure out why.

This is what the finished lapbook / F3 folder looks like...
Front Cover
First Inside Fold
This includes a story about Saint Martin, a flip-up folder, a timeline of St. Martin's Life and a map of the time.
Second Inside Folder
This page includes popular Saint Martin songs. You can listen to these songs here. I also have these songs in German for those interested. There is an acrostic poem flip flap book where you can write your own acrostic poem about Saint Martin. There is a prayer card and a pocket, a recipe for yummy Weckmaenner, a picture of Weckmaenner and card with information about Saint Martin.

Most of the images are available free on various German websites about Saint Martin. I hope that I didn't breech any copywrites. I will try to get these files available online if possible. I wish I had a clue about posting files online. It always worked before without a hitch.

God Bless and don't forget to email me if you want these files. Thanks.

Update: I have uploaded the files on 4Share
Saint Martin of Tours - this file has the majority of the lapbook pieces
Saint Martin's Story - a booklet that needs to be printed in landscape

Monday, November 7, 2011

Keeping it Real

I read this post about 'keepin it real' the other day. It got me thinking. I read other people's blogs and feel so inadequate. I have actually told my husband that I hate myself. I see what these other women accomplish and see all that I don't do, even if they have two or three times the amount of children as I do.

To be honest, my house isn't that messy. My husband and I are neat freaks people. We started teaching our children at a very young age to put their things away. We use different organizational tools to make life simpler and easier so that we can simply sit back and enjoy. We don't have nearly as many toys or art things as others. I hate when things aren't put back in their proper place and yes, my children will be scolded. They know where things belong. Now, you may be feeling sorry for my kids, that's ok. We like it tidy so that there is always a place on the couch to cuddle or on the floor etc. Our house isn't always perfect, but messes have a place in our house too. Unfolded clean laundry waits in an ikea bag in the corner of the living room, out of the way. Toys are cleaned up before every meal.

To keep it real though, my messes are of an interior nature. As neat as my house is, you should see inside my head. It is not the clean houses that are of deepest disturbance, but rather the family photos. I have always been envious of families. Let me explain....

My mom had me at the age of 17. She was a teen mom and that already says a lot. My dad was 18 and liked smoking pot. Needless to say, I was stoned before the age of 1! Yes, before my first birthday. My mother left my dad while pregnant with my younger brother because when she came home from work one day, she found me stoned in my crib. It took her half an hour to wake me up. I was eight months old. My mom moved all of the way across the country in order to try to have a fresh start.

At the age of three, my brother and I began living with our maternal grandparents without our mother. A year later, we moved to my grandmother's sister's place out on the farm. At the farm, I was only five when it first happened. I am a victim of incest. My second cousin was the abuser. This was the beginning of hell on earth as I knew it. I told, and I wasn't believed. My other cousins saw it happen and did nothing. When the truth came out (I told a teacher at school), I was twelve and was blamed by my family. They told me that it was my fault. I was a disgrace to the family. That's when my envy of other families really began to take hold of me. I knew that they were wrong and that I wanted a real family, a loving family.

When I was sixteen, I threatened suicide. I never wanted to commit suicide, but rather be removed from my childhood home. I began staying at my highschool chaplan's and his wife's home. They were an intact family. They loved each other, and their four children more than anything in the world. I believe that although I was a challenge, they actually liked me. During my highschool years, I had very few friends. You see, I had issues with trusting people. Most of my friends had great families. My highschool boyfriend's family was no exception. They loved me and I spent most holidays at their place.

During my highschool years, I studied hard. I was an honour-roll student, excelled at many things, including calculus! I had leading rolls in the highschool plays and was respected by a majority of the student body. I worked hard to get an education, hoping and praying that I could live a good life. I wanted to be educated, get married and have children. I got accepted into a university with a great reputation. I even won some scholarships that paid for some of the smaller things, like books. I was enrolled in the music program. I wanted to be a famous opera singer, funny eh? I had master classes with a Parisien opera star, Guy Fletcher. My piano teacher has played all over the world and has recorded a number of cd's.

So what happened, I am a stay-at-home mom, who homeschools? I dropped out after second year. I couldn't stand the cut-throat mentality, the snobbiness of wanna-be opera singers and the lifestyle they were trying to lead. So, I took a sabatical, well it was supposed to be a one year sabatical. I went to Germany to work as an au pair.

The next chapter of craziness began to unfold. Remember, I was only 20. I had no family to hold me back. I went on advice of the chaplan's wife. It was ok at first. I couldn't speak the language very well after attempting to learn it in university. I understood a lot, but didn't speak a word of German during the first three months of my stay. My au pair family spoke fluent English. I only had to take care of one little boy while mama worked from home as a head-hunter. I had the weekends off and had money from working to travel. On my first trip, I took a bus, then a tram, then a train to Bonn from a small little place near Frankfurt. It was a four hour trip to ??? I think that I must have been a little crazy, okay maybe a lot.

I went to Bonn to visit the birthhouse of Ludwig van Beethoven. Afterall, I was a music student. After sight-seeing a little in Bonn, I tried to find the youth hostel. My travel book wasn't as up-to-date as the new bus plan. Needless to say, I got lost. I found the place after taking a bus to the end of the route and wandering aimlessly in the rain for hours a long time. I booked a bed in one of the rooms (I shared with some girls from Stuttgart). I wandered the halls and went for a drink in the bistro.

Up until this point in my life, I had no direction, no plan, no idea what I wanted to do with my life. It was at this moment that this guy started eyeing me up. This guy who was standing amoung his buddies and laughing over a glass of Kölsch. This guy wouldn't stop staring at me. It was a little creepy. So instead of running the other way, I go up to this guy's table and say, "Hallo, ich heisse Tina. Ich komme aus Kanada und kann ein bisschen Deutch." They all laughed and asked me to join them and to have a beer with them.

Good Catholic girls don't go up to strange guys drinking beer in a foreign country, do they? They don't just join in, do they? They don't jump on a bus headed for downtown in order to have another drink in a disco and then another bar, do they? They don't let one of the guys escort them back to the youth hostel, do they? What was I thinking? I did just that. And I made a date to spend the rest of the weekend with that one guy. And that weekend turned into every weekend that I had off. By the end of the next month, my family dismissed me as their au pair (another long story) and I moved in with my German boyfriend and his mother. I got my visa changed, worked in an au pair agency and began learning German.

I had no idea what I was doing, no idea what I wanted. I never went to church, I never prayed and I cried a lot. My family hated me (or so I thought). I wanted to belong somewhere and this new boyfriend knew that I belonged with him. He proposed and we were married just under 10 months after meeting him. I was 21 and I was married to a foreign man in a foreign country and my family was ok with that. We had our marriage blessed in Canada. Both my parents came to the ceremony. It was a small ceremony in a Catholic church on a Friday night in the middle of nowhere. We had a little reception at the local Legion Hall. We spent the first two nights of our honeymoon in a bed and breakfast and the other two with my mother-in-law and her aunt in a beautiful hotel. We all shared a room! We were poor.

This post is getting rather lengthy. I am sorry.

Six weeks after we were married, we found out that we expecting. Needless to say, I never finished my education as a musician, I tossed myself into motherhood. I struggled a lot. Nearing the end of my pregnancy I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and was hospitalized. I was induced and my little boy was born two weeks prior to his date. He was perfect. We were so happy until our baby turned out to have colic. He wouldn't breastfeed, he fussed all of the time. I thought for sure I would be just like my mother, I would give up my child and run away.

Things turned around and my baby turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. We were so happy that we wanted another baby. Finally, I would get the family that I had always dreamed of. A family with a mom, a dad, no drugs, no abuse, no name calling, just love, stability, nuturing and all of the warm fuzziness that goes with it. When our baby was six months old, I ended up in the hospital having a d&C. We lost our second baby.

Just after by baby had turned two, we welcomed our sweet little girl into our hearts. This time for sure I thought I would fail. This baby never slept. She was the sweetest happiest baby for the most part, but when she was tired she screamed. I screamed and cried, too. My life wasn't perfect. We weren't the dream family. I had thoughts of running away or even worse. I was sure that I was just like my mother. I had nightmares about leaving my little ones or worse, having them taken away. My childhood scars and wounds were open. I just wanted to die. I would rather die than fail my children like my mother failed me. I almost jumped from the third story window in our apartment. Things got better, but it wasn't until my daughter was older than my brother was at the time we were left at my grandmother's. Somehow, I knew I would make it after that milestone was reached.

This was my reality. I struggled a lot with my childhood. I controlled what I could and the rest, well was left unsettled.

At the time, I wanted more kids. I strived toward having a perfect family. For me, that meant a handful of kids who loved me. I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, craft with the kids, make them things and spoil my husband with homecooked meals. My ideals were based on what I thought families should be like. I looked to parenting magazines and playgroup moms for advice. I wanted the best for my kids. I wanted them to be creative, well-rounded, emotionally balanced and good little kids. We tried for a long time to get pregnant again. I gave up all hope and finally was happy and accepting of my life when I became pregnant with my next child. Everything changed again.

I didn't want baby number three. I knew that I would never abort, but I was resentfull. We tried for over a year and I had taken on a new job. I didn't want to be pregnant anymore. It wasn't on my time. The pregnancy was terrible. I had so much pain in my legs that I could hardly walk or take care of my other two kids. I had to quit my job and stay home even though we really needed the money. (I taught English a few hours a week) I struggled with how I would handle the new baby, the one I never wanted.

When my baby was born I cried. I never cry after having a baby, but I cried that day. I cried a lot. What kind of a mother doesn't want a baby, a precious little baby? What kind of a mother felt those aweful feelings? I must be the worst mother in the world? I owe this baby so much or he will surely hate me. He loved me. It was like he didn't care what happened before he was born, he just loved me. He brought us so much joy. He slept well and wasn't fussy. To this day, he cuddles me more than any of the other children.

Life was getting difficult in Germany. The cost of everything doubled since the Euro was introduced. Sending children to school was mandatory. The list of school supplies was long and expensive. The cheapest school bag was 69 EUR at the time. My husband was uneasy about the economy, so he applied for permanent residency in Canada. Four months after applying, he not only received his permanent residence status, but had a job and a house to rent. We left Germany behind to start a life in my homeland.

Reality check - after nine years living abroad, I was moving home. Not! I was moving to a city in the west, 1600 miles away from my hometown. We knew nobody, had no family, no friends, nothing. I can't imagine what the first immigrants felt like. At least we had a place to rent. We bought a new-to-us car and tried to live in a strange place. My husband long and hard hours for less than average wages. I was living as an immigrant in my home country.

We moved in July. I had so much to do that summer. I had to find a school for the kids. Then we decided to homeschool. It was a little out of the blue, but thought it might be a good idea. I made a few phone calls and started looking for curriculum. I planned to school them at home. I checked out the internet and saw lots and lots of ideas and more importantly blogs about how other families homeschool. I read advice and tried to make it work for my family. I took other people's ideas and tried to imitate their successes. I wanted to be perfect. I also thought that we ought to go to church. I was born into Catholic family and knew that it was right to thank God for all that we had.

We kept going to Mass. I joined a choir, joined a rosary making group, went to children's adoration, joined the Catholic homeschooler's group and tried after years of failing to be a perfect Catholic. I learned things that I never knew before. I learned about the Real Presence (I went to Catholic schools all my life,btw), apostolic succession, feast days and many other things. I felt dumb. Fellow Catholic homeschooling moms were blogging about feast days that I had never heard of. They were teaching their kids about the rosary, which I never prayed properly before because I was never taught. I learned prayers and devotions that were as foreign to me as the German language once was. I still know so little about my faith.

The reality hit me hard. How could I homeschool my kids if everything that I had ever done in my life before was a failure. I was a university drop-out, Catholic church drop-out and had little contact with my family. I still felt like I wasn't loved by anyone, but my husband and my three kids. I wasn't even sure if God loved me. I perservered because this was my reality. Between swept floors and home-cooked meals, I struggled with the mess in my head.

We saw all of these happy, not to mention large Catholic families and yearned for more children. I wanted a whole house full, too. We tried and tried and tried some more. We contemplated adoption and reconsidered and tried some more to get pregnant. We finally got pregnant. Holy Thursday of 2009, I took a pregnancy test and got a big fat positive bfp! We were so happy after two years of trying, we were finally expecting. Early on Divine Mercy Sunday, things changed. I spotted blood. I prayed the rosary, my new found comfort. I prayed one rosary after another, after another. I thought because it was Divine Mercy Sunday that God would have mercy on me, a sinner, a doubter and bless us. I thought hoped that the bleeding would stop. That evening, I miscarried. My husband and I buried the remains of our baby in the backyard with some holy water.

My inner mess grew and grew. I saw other mommy bloggers have beautiful baby after beautiful baby. They were crafting, teaching their kids to read, going for nature walks, living their faith, reading aloud to their children and, and, and... I felt so inadequate. The perfect family I always wanted was only to be had by others. My friends had babies. My daughter prayed for a sister as did her best friend. In the meantime, her friend has had two baby sisters welcomed into the family.

We did have another baby, too. A boy. We love him to death. He is special. His pregancy was hard. I feared for his life. His birth was so beautiful, so peaceful. But, reality hit again. My baby failed to gain weight. He lost more and more weight. I supplemented, I took meds to help produce more milk, I went to a lactation consultant and nothing helped. It was after four months or so of struggle that a friend tipped us off to check out this website. We had to change our complete diet. NO GRAINS. It worked. Our baby began to thrive, the rest of us had fewer and fewer incidents of indigestion. It turns out that all six of us are gluten sensitive. But, instead of being thankful, I cried. Everyone else can eat whatever they want. There are so many feast days that I want to celebrate like other moms, but I can't. I can't make the recipes because they make us sick. Again, I can't be like all of the great Catholic moms who blog about their celebrations.

This is turning into pity seeking post of some sort. I don't seek pity, but want you to know that I am far from perfect. I have a hard time praying the rosary because the last time I leaned on it, I lost my baby. I don't celebrate many feast days because I can't celebrate the way other families do, with food! We have one vehicle and can't go on field trips or other homeschool outings. We don't do karate or music lessons because we can't afford it right now. Our food bills are really high because we can't eat what others eat. Our family is less than perfect. I have doubts most of the time that I am doing anything right. Since our most recent miscarriage, I hardly function. I don't sleep very well and I have terrible nightmares. I know that I should be doing more school stuff with the kids, but I don't.

The reality is that I want to be like you moms out there who although you may have messes here and there, you have lots of babies. This post is probably written from a hormonaly pms point of view. I am a terribly jealous woman. I want my kids to have cousins to play with, but they are too far away. I want them to have grandparents, but they are too far away and have their own stack of problems to be concerned with us. I wish that my life revolved around my Catholic faith, but the truth is that I struggle with that, too. I read my bible, I pray and frequent the sacraments waiting for peace. I pray for peace because I lack faith. I spend too much time dwelling on your blogs wishing that my life was more like yours.

Reality is that most of you have more than you think, even I do. My life is less than perfect. I am a sinner. Despite everything, I am still alive. At the end of the day it doesn't matter what I think anymore, it's what God thinks that matters. He knows my innermost thoughts and desires. He knows that I try. In the end, I want to please Him and not anyone else. I am jealous only because I want to be enough for Him and haven't yet figured out how to love the Him in me.

Thanks to Crunchy Catholic Momma for Keeping it Real.

Daybook ~ November 7, 2011

Outside My Window it is dark, really dark.

I am Listening to my dear husband get ready for work. I think he is making me us a coffee.

I am Wearing pj's.

I am so Grateful for a home library full of good books. That is all thanks to other people's favourite reading lists. I love being able to pull any book off the shelf, cuddle up with the kids and read aloud to them.

I'm Pondering what I am going to do today. I am feeling more and more pulled towards unschooling, but thinking about all of the plans that I made.

I am Thinking that I need to set some goals. Read some books and do some soul searching. I feel lost. Who am I? What do I want to do? I have read a lot of homeschooling blogs as of late and noticed that most people knew that they wanted to homeschool before they even had children. A majority knew that what educational philosophy they were going to use to teach their children. Others read books upon books in order to determine what their learning style would be. The truth is that I never planned to homeschool and although I've read a number of books, I still don't have a firm philosophy towards education. I have never gone to a homeschool conference because they're always so far away. I question if homeschooling is the right thing for my children. I have no idea what I am doing, none. I set goals that are unattainable. I look at what others are doing and copy their ideas hoping that my children will somehow benefit from someone else's great ideas. I question everything I do.

I am Creating a waldorf doll for my toddler from this book.

I am learning that I am great at decluttering. It has become somewhat of a hobby. I know that sounded really weird.

To live the liturgy we are going to make lanterns for the feast of Saint Martin of Tours on Friday.

Towards a Real Education we are diving into the world of classic literature. We are reading Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A.Milne.

Towards Rhythm and Beauty this week will be tricky. Time changes are always difficult. Nap time got shifted and then missed yesterday. Finding a new rhythm is this weeks goal.

I am Hoping and Praying that I will have a large family some day. I hope and pray that my children will live close by and that I will have oodles of grandchildren to play with. I hope and pray that my children's children will have cousins close by and aunties and uncles.

Around the House laundry. I forgot about a load of whites that I put on on Saturday. It happens. It will get rinsed with vinegar and rewashed and all will be well again.

From the Kitchen: for breakfast - banana bread; lunch - Tuscan bean salad with bread and hard-boiled eggs; dinner - pumpkin sweet potato soup

On my iPod the Flower Fairies, I just love listening to them.

One of My Favorite Things is having a really hot shower. Being a stay-at-home mom, time alone is far and few between. I admit that I linger in the shower for a little too long so that I can steal a quiet moment under hot water. That is my visit to the spa.

On the Calendar for the Week eye doctor appointments. My oldest has to patch one of his eyes and this visit will be dreaded. He is afraid that he will have to wear the thing forever. He has had to patch on again, off again since he was four. His prescription has changed three times already this year. Please pray that his eyes stabilize and that the patch can be history once and for all.

Worth a Thousand Words
My dear husband took this picture. Need I say more?

Have a blessed week.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The New Roman Missal

In a few weeks, on November 27th we will begin using the New Roman Missal. Here is a great video that explains why we are doing this and how things will change. Enjoy and God Bless.

Pumpin Bread and Other Recipes

I had a request the other day, to send a friend a few of my recipes. It has been crazy around here and I am just getting to a computer now. I thought that I should share a few recipes with everyone, since grain free recipes are still fairly difficult to come by. The first recipe that I am sharing is a staple in our house. It is often made for breakfast. I have a few variations, so that it isn't always the same old thing. But, to be honest, I don't mind eating my version of pumpkin bread everyday. I console myself by saying that even though it is another man's dessert or snack, it packs more punch than a bowl of cereal. I grew up on breakfast cereal. It is convenient, quick to scarf down, sugary and I must admit that more are pretty yummy. Unfortunately, there isn't a grain free alternative that fits our pocketbook, so we eat this...

Grain Free Pumpkin Bread

3/4 cup almond flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
2 1/2 tsp. homemade baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda (non-aluminum kind)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup soft butter
1 cup mashed pumpkin or squash
2 Tbsp milk (I use almond)
2 eggs
2 Tbsp coconut
optional: nuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, bakers chocolate (chopped)

Mix together the first seven ingredients, then add the next three. Beat well with an electric mixer for about a minute. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until it is thoroughly blended. Pour into a greased 9x13 glass baking dish and bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. You can also bake this as a bundt cake or 2 loaves, adjusting the baking time accordingly. I prefer the 9x13 out of sheer laziness.

Now for a few variations, I mix it up like this:
1. omit pumpkin & pumpkin pie spice, add 1 medium banana mashed and 1 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 cup of applesauce
2. omit pumpkin & pumpkin pie spice, add 2 medium bananas and 1 tsp. vanilla
3. omit pumpkin & pumpkin pie spice, add 1 small grated zucchini, 1 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 cup of applesauce
4. add whatever options you like, chopped hazelnuts or pecans are our favourite. We love chopped up baker's chocolate over chocolate chips because we can't stomach chocolate chips (too processed). Dried cranberries or raisins are nice additions. Try any variation that you love. I add options to increase the good vitamins and minerals, it fills up my kiddos and because I like it.

Homemade Baking Powder
2 Tbsp baking soda (non-aluminum kind)
4 Tbsp arrowroot, potato or tapioca flour (choose one)
4 Tbsp cream of tartar
Mix the ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

This next recipe was also a special request. It was on last week's meal plan. It turned out alright, but I found out that my kiddos are not a great fan of parsnips. I am thinking of drizzling with maple syrup before popping this into the oven. Any thoughts?

Apple, Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes
4 parsnips, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 small onion, sliced
2 apples, cored and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450F.
Place sweet potatoes, parsnips and apples with garlic and onions in a covered and well greased baking dish. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and perhaps some maple syrup. Roast for 40-50 minutes until tender.

Kath, I hope you read this. Love and miss you girl. If you have any questions, just let me know. Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I hope and your lovely family are well.

God Bless and happy cooking everyone.
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