Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Happy Feast of St. Ignatius

Happy Feast of St. Ignatius!  This is one of the more influential saints in our family.  It was through the Spiritual Exercises that my husband and I, and ultimately our whole family, really took a leap forward in our faith.  

We have each been participating in silent retreats for five years now and our two oldest daughters have also gone on a retreat.  My husband and I each lead a formation group which follows Ignatian spirituality and once a month we meet with the priests of Miles Christi for an Evening of Recollection.  

St. Ignatius is so important to our family that I wrote my first unit study on him and the time in which he lived.  In St. Ignatius and the Renaissance Era, you get to explore the life of St. Ignatius, the virtue of obedience, the printing press, Our Lady of Guadalupe and much more.  You also learn about other important people who lived during that time as well as other saints that were peers of St. Ignatius.

If you would like to find out more about St. Ignatius, just check out his page on my website.  You might also consider going on a silent retreat this year.  You can check out the Spiritual Exercises as preached by the priests of Miles Christi for a life-changing experience.

St. Ignatius, pray for us!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Catholic Woman's Almanac

Moments of Gratitude:

~ a fun dinner and movie night with friends
~ a very good homily (even humorous at times) from our priest
~ cooler days and cooler nights since we still have no a/c
~ a painting project with Ms 16 yo
~ work for Ms 20 yo
~ a box of fresh picked Michigan peaches from a friend

In the Kitchen:

Right now it's scones and juice for breakfast.  Tonight we'll be dining on one of our favorites, grilled balsamic pork chops and peaches.  Based on the above last entry, there's sure to be a lot of peach based items coming from our kitchen this week.

Looking Ahead:

This week we have our Catholic Kids Camp that friends of ours put together every year.  This is the first year the kids will all be involved for the entire week.  I'll be taking photos and plan to post about this wonderful event later in the week.


Still plugging my way through "Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist".  Last week for fun I read "Catholic Philosopher Chick Makes Her Debut" by Rebecca Bratten Weiss.  It was a good book that I'd recommend!  Now I've started "Platform" by Michael Hyatt.


~ for the families we know who have recently lost loved ones
~ for financial concerns
~ for safe travels for my parents
~ for the grace to recognize and do God's Will


Ms 20 yo practicing her petitions at the wedding rehearsal we were at last week while Father blocked the sun from her eyes.  I like it because it looks like he's blessing her while she's reading :)

Friday, July 27, 2012

7 Quick Takes July 27, 2012

--- 1 ---
Our air conditioner has been broken all this past week.  Not sure when the part is supposed to come in, but I sure hope it is soon because it has been very hot and, at times, very humid around here.  I was really hoping to get things back to normal this week but I just don't function well when it's this hot.
--- 2 ---
We actually had to retreat last night because it wasn't cooling down so we went and stayed at my parent's house for the night.  What a wonderful respite it was.  There house is peaceful and nicely decorated and not full of all the stuff that nine people have when they live together.  I always enjoy going over there because it feels like being at a nice resort.  Besides, they have a screened in porch and coffee in the morning always tastes better when you drink it on a screened in porch (unless of course it is December or something like that :)
--- 3 ---
We don't have any TV reception or cable or anything here, so when we go to their house we usually turn on HGTV and get engrossed in all the interesting shows that are on.  Before we got to HGTV, we stopped off at a reality dance show but realized quickly that watching scantily clad people gyrating on stage probably wasn't a good family event.  We settled down for a late night of House Hunters and Property Brothers.  What fun we had!

--- 4 ---
I really like those shows that show you how to do really cool things with your house for not a ton of money.  I wish I had vision like some of these people have.  I suppose that is why they have a TV show and I do not :)  However, it helps me to see what other people come up with so as to figure out what kind of simple things I can do at home to spruce things up.

--- 5 ---
.Case in point.  We used to have this ugly hutch that we bought at a garage sale and it sat in our dining room holding our good dishes.  It was so unattractive that you just tried not to notice it but it did serve its purpose.  We moved and my aunt took it from us but she thought it was ugly too, so it sat in her garage for the past two years.  Finally my dad took it home, put some new paint on it and now it looks wonderful.  How come I didn't do that 7 years ago???  A couple of hours and a few dollars in paint and she has a beautiful hutch to hold her dishes.  Vision...that's what I need. 
--- 6 ---
So after our marathon of HGTV shows I got to thinking about the desk I am sitting at right now.  My dh built it so it is big and sturdy but the paint is old and it is ugly.  I just might feel inspired to sand it and give it a new paint job to spruce this old baby up.  Sounds like a good "before we get back to school"  project!  Remember, a couple of hours and a few dollars in paint... I can do this!

--- 7 ---
We have a quiet weekend at home this weekend!  How wonderful that sounds.  It will sound even more wonderful if I can hear the soft hum of my a/c instead of the loud roar of all these fans.  Hope you have a blessed weekend wherever you are at!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Life of Fred Pre-Algebra

I am very excited to be delving into these relatively new books in the Fred line-up.  These two books were added about a year or so ago, but until now I did not have a student to try them out on.  Prior to the pre-algebra books being added, whenever I needed to fill in the gap between decimals/percents and beginning algebra I would hop on over to Saxon again for a year.  Let's just say that both my children and I are thrilled that Fred is here to teach them all they need to know about pre-algebra!

What's even more exciting is that, in true Fred fashion, they aren't just getting math concepts but biology and economics thrown in there.   For example, the first book includes the following topics:

seeds, plants, kingdoms, genes, bones, skin, DNA, volume, diameter and circumference of a circle, sets and negative numbers

just to name a few of the topics.  It looks like the book does a wonderful job of covering biology for the middle grade students.

In the second book, many timely economic topics are covered as well as math concepts.  Some of the topics covered in pre-algebra 2 include:

domain and co-domain, how to run a successful business, money, capitalism, socialism and communism, loans, freedom vs liberty and Venn diagrams.

I will be starting the first pre-algebra book with my son who is entering 7th grade this year.  Depending on whether you student finishes fractions and decimals/percents in one year or not, you could be starting this in 6th grade, which I think would also be appropriate.

If you are looking for an interesting middle-school math program, I think these books fit the bill.  You can get more detailed information and order the books from my website, Catholic Homeschooling Resources.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Good Bye and a Hello

Our house has been abuzz for the past two weeks.  I recently told you about all the fun that was had during ReginaCon.  After that ended and the last people left on Monday morning, we had a day to turn the house around and get ready for a good bye party for friends of ours.

Turned out to be one of the hottest days of the week, my air conditioner broke that afternoon and I was expecting 100 people at my house that evening.  Fortunately the A/C got fixed in time and we were able to offer respite to some of those 100 people since not all of them would fit in the house at once.  

It was a glorious, but sad, evening as we said good bye to some of the best friends my kids have. 

We had two days to turn the house around after that one when we, fortunately, had to leave this time to go to a family wedding out of state. 

 We left on Friday to partake in the rehearsal festivities as Ms 9 yo was a flower girl, Mr 11 yo was serving and Ms 20 yo read the petitions.

I opted to leave my camera at the hotel on the day of the wedding because, for once, I really wanted to enjoy an event with both of my eyes open instead of looking at it all through the camera lens.  Of course, I now regret that as I have no pictures of everyone in their formal attire :(

I did, however, have the awesome job of taking pictures on Saturday morning of the groom and his men.  
It isn't often you get to see the groom's side of things before the wedding so I took advantage of that and snapped our nephew as he prepared for his big day.

The wedding was beautiful and we headed home on Sunday, happy but totally exhausted from two long weeks of partying!  I had hoped to get back to some semblance of normalcy, but we came home to the A/C being broken again, probably for the entire week, with temps in the 90s.  Unfortunately I just can't manage to get much done when it is that hot and humid.  Maybe soon things will be "normal", whatever that is...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fairy Tale Novels Fan Gathering

Last week we had the honor of hosting the official Fairy Tale Novels Fan Gathering (aka ReginaCon).  

If you are not familiar with Regina Doman and her wonderful books (as well as Chesterton Press and all of the exciting projects that they have in the works), then by all means, get on the band wagon and find out what all the fuss is about!

Regina and her hubby as well as two of their children joined about 20 other teens and young adults at our house for four days of talks, prayers and lots of fun.  

Thursday the group learned how to make marshmallows

and had relay races in the evening


as well as a bonfire...where those wonderful marshmallows were consumed.  

On Friday there was a very good weapons demonstration by a "weapons expert" because every good writer should know how to accurately incorporate weaponry into their story!

There was also an Anime drawing class 

 an informative lecture about how to write fiction

and the highlight of the day was the live "Clue" game where there was a wild cast of characters and a murder to solve!  That was a lot of fun and everyone really got into their characters!

 The "murderer"


 The "murdered"

Saturday was a fun day at a local beach and then a talent show and a dance!  It sure felt good to cool off for awhile.

Sunday we all went to Mass together and then began the goodbye process.  Parting truly is such sweet sorrow when you've spent four days with some wonderful young people.  What a blessing for our girls to have such a wonderful opportunity to learn from a talented author, have a lot of fun and make some great friends.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas - crock pot style

First off, where you come from, do you call it a crock pot or a slow cooker?  I always refer to mine as a crock pot and I was wondering if that is just a regional thing or not?  

Anyhow, since I had several requests for the chicken enchiladas that I mentioned in the previous post, I thought I would just post the recipe here for everyone to enjoy.  We ate it on Monday evening and it was very good!

Chicken Enchiladas

olive oil
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, finely chopped
2 green peppers, finely chopped
1 large can (28 oz) chopped tomatoes
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chiles
1 tsp cumin
sea salt to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
3/4 lb boneless, skinless cooked chicken, shredded
2 cans (15 oz ea) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 oz) black olives, sliced and drained
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
4 - 6 whole wheat tortillas

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet (such as a cast iron) over medium-high heat; add the garlic and onions and saute 2 to 3 minutes or until onions soften.  Add the green pepper and cook a few minutes more, or until vegetables are soft.  Stir in the chopped tomatoes, green chiles and cumin.  Season to taste with salt and cayenne pepper.

Ladle 1/4 of the sauce onto the bottom of a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker.  Follow that with 1/3 of the chicken, 1/3 of the beans, 1/3 of the olives, 1/3 of the corn and 1/3 of the cheese.

Top that with 2 or 3 tortillas

Repeat the above two steps two more times, not putting tortillas on the top layer.

Cover and cook on low about 4 to 4 1/2 hours, or until bubbly throughout.  Serve warm.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Catholic Woman's Almanac

I thought I'd try a new meme today, so I'm linking up (a little on the late side) with the wonderful women over at Sucipio.

Moments of Gratitude
* For good friends
* My younger children getting to have fun with their cousins this weekend
* My oldest son getting to go to boys' camp
* For many fun opportunities over the next two weeks

Beauty in the Ordinary

We have a visitor from Canada with us this week and right now the girls are all dressing up and making a music video.  It is so beautiful to see them having fun and being creative!

From the Kitchen

We have a wonderful chicken enchilada dinner in the crock pot.  Can't wait to eat it and I'm glad that it is almost ready and we don't have to turn on the oven and heat up the kitchen even more than it already is.


There are SO MANY people to pray for right now.  Many souls of recently deceased friends and relatives as well as a few sick people to pray for.  As always, there are financial concerns that keep me on my knees.


I'm taking the suggestion of our Miles Christi priests and am meditating on the last section of The Imitation of Christ about the Eucharist.


I just read a blog post about trusting that Jesus is "in my boat" so that as the waves crash around us, I'm pondering if I really feel that security of "knowing" He is with me or do I still freak out about the trials and loose that trust?  Probably the latter, so I guess I'll have to work more on that.


"Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist" by Brant Pitre, which is an excellent book.  I love learning more about the ties between the Old and New Testaments.  God is so awesome.

Around the House

Our house is abuzz as we have about 15 people ready to descend upon it on Wednesday through Sunday.  We're hosting a get-together with Regina Doman and her hubby and two of their children as well as a bunch of other teens.  It shall prove to be a great time, I am sure!



Friday, July 6, 2012

7 Quick Takes July 6, 2012

--- 1 ---

So how was your fourth of July?  Ours was hot and quiet.  The only effort we exerted in this heat was to step outside our door at 9:00 pm to watch, from a distance, the neighboring towns' fireworks.  From our vantage point we could see about five different displays. No crowds, no traffic, no noise.  It worked for everyone.

--- 2 ---

We also did something that we like to do every year and this year it seemed even more important.  We prayed the Patriotic Rosary where every Hail Mary is prayed for a different state.  It is such a nice addition to this powerful devotion.  We also took turns reading the Declaration of Independence.  Funny how history repeats itself.  Change a few names and places and it all sounded so familiar!
--- 3 ---

While looking for a book with a copy of the Declaration in it, I came across a book of famous quotes.  These two caught my eye:

"I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever."  Thomas Jefferson, 1781

"It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness..." Abraham Lincoln, 1863

  --- 4 ---

On another note, I have my main website with SBI (a really cool way to build a website, if you ask me!).  Well, they just updated their block builder program (which is what us non-savy html people use to build pages) and so I've spent some time using it to build some new pages and convert over some old ones.  They look the same to you, but boy has it been fun for me!  Once I get on a roll, I could build forever. Unfortunately other duties seem to interrupt that roll!  I've done some updating on this section here if you'd like to check it out :)
--- 5 ---

Anyone out there know why I can't get my blog to have those new types of comments where you can reply to someone's comment right beneath it?  For that matter, why is it that some people can comment on my blog and others can't? I'll get messages on my facebook wall from people telling me they tried to comment on my blog but couldn't.  I've looked into it but haven't been able to figure it out.  Of course, the person who can answer this probably will be one of those who can't leave a comment! If that's you, try here!
--- 6 ---

It has been happening again...those thoughts about the new school year that creep in while I'm trying to get my summer going.  Now catalogs are starting to show up in the mail and grab my attention.  I sit down and start innocently thumbing through them and before I know it I'm daydreaming about school again.  Ugh!  I need more time, really I do.....

--- 7 ---

Kind of a quiet weekend coming up.  Mr 11 yo goes to his first boy's camp this weekend.  Four days with a bunch of kids, some dads and some really great priests.  We're all excited for him.  The younger two are off to a cousin sleepover for the weekend, so I had to ask the older four where they had made plans to go, but they haven't found anywhere yet.  In fact, they are excited to be here in the quiet, too.  Hmm, seems like they should find a place to camp out for a few days so I can enjoy the really, really quiet!  Don't you agree???  Have a great weekend!


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Life of Fred Fractions and Decimals and Percents

The first two books in the Life of Fred series for older students are the Fractions and Decimals and Percents books.  These can typically be started as soon as your child has about a fifth grade reading level.  This is where I've started them with my kids and it works out great.

Fractions has 32 chapters and Decimals and Percents has 33 chapters.  Each chapter is considered a lesson and after each five lessons are Bridges, which are reviews or tests or whatever you want to consider them.  The student must get 9 out of 10 of the questions right in order to move on to the next chapter.  There are five Bridges so that if they don't pass on the first one they have four more tries.  

Depending on your student's abilities, both books could be done in one year.  If your child has trouble with Fractions, then by all means repeat the book and wait until the following year to do the Decimals and Percents book.  

The Fractions book covers all things fractions - adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.  In fact, it even really explains to you WHY you flip a fraction and multiply when you are trying to divide them!  That was an eye-opener for me, let me tell you! 

The Decimals and Percents book does a great job covering those two topics, as well as area, circumference, graphs, sets and other great topics.

Like all of the books, there are many fun tidbits of non-math information thrown in to give the whole series a "unit study" feel to it.

Here are some sample problems:

The garbage can was starting to fill up with empty spice bottles that Fred was throwing away.  If it was 7/16 full, what fraction of the garbage can was empty?

If Fred started with 7/8 lb. of mutton and had chopped off 1/5 lb. how much would have been left?

If Fred is saving his money at the rate of $1.47 per week, how much will he have saved in 52 weeks?

Fred spotted some leather bookmarks for sale.  They were priced at $8.61 for 7 of them.  How much would 11 of them cost?

If you are interested in seeing the exact content of each of these books, or if you would like to go ahead and order some, you can go to my website and get all of the information you need as well as the ordering information.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July

God Bless America!

 Almighty God, bless our nation and make it true to the ideas of freedom and justice and brotherhood for all who make it great. Guard us from war, from fire and wind, from compromise, fear, confusion. Be close to our president and our statesmen; give them vision and courage, as they ponder decisions affecting peace and the future of the world. Make me more deeply aware of my heritage; realizing not only my rights but also my duties and responsibilities as a citizen. Make this great land and all its people know clearly Your will, that they may fulfill the destiny ordained for us in the salvation of the nations, and the restoring of all things in Christ. Amen

Prayer found at this website!


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Best Friends Forever...

As a homeschooling family that doesn't live in a subdivision surrounded by ready-made people to be friends with, we must make a concerted effort to find and maintain friendships.  Quite often when we do find a family that we really click with it is because, besides being like-minded, they have kids that match up with many of our children.

We found one such family and are sorry to have them moving to another state very soon.  From Ms 13 yo down, this other family comprises the best friends of all of my children.  What a tough time it was yesterday when they all came over to spend the day for probably what will be the last time.

It isn't often that you find friends like that.  I know I have a few that I've been friends with since I was very young, and even though we moved away when I was 13, I have still maintained those friendships over these many years.  Through college, early adulthood, parenthood and now, even though we've taken different paths on occasion, I still count these "early" friends as some of my best.

So it is with that thought that I look at the above picture and hope that my kids and their friends will be able to maintain a friendship for many years to come, despite the physical distance between them.  As the one boy said to my son, "Sure I'll come back to visit you, maybe even when we have kids and stuff!"

I thank God for the friends He has put in our lives.  Even though they have to leave, He has given us many memories to cherish and we thank Him for his generosity in giving us such great people.