Friday, November 28, 2014

Small Business Saturday

If you're reading this then that means you've survived Thanksgiving (hopefully it was a happy one) and Black Friday (if you did more than stay at home like I did).  Tomorrow, Saturday, is what is called Small Business Saturday.  It is the day you are supposed to visit your local or internet small businesses and purchase things to support them.  Small businesses really are the backbone of this country and we need to give them all the help we can!

To that end, I'd just like to remind you of a few small, family owned businesses that I am affiliated with or who advertise on my website, Catholic Homeschooling Resources.  We'd all be honored if you visited any of these great places and did some Christmas shopping.

As a first stop, you'll notice off to the side on my blog, the advertisement for Mystic Monk Coffee as well as my book "A Plan For Joy in the Home".

If you go to my website, you'll find a great listing of small businesses offering some wonderful things on my Catholic Companies page.  These wonderful people advertise their companies on my page so that people like you can find out about their high quality products and services.  Be sure to check out:

Catechism Class
Holy Heroes
Civil War Truce
Little Latin Readers
Stephanie Hoffpauir
The Liturgical Calendar Coloring Book
Faith Christian Jewelers
The Goat Milk Soap Shop

Thank you so much for your support!  Happy shopping!

God Bless!

affiliate links included

Monday, November 24, 2014

Catholic Woman's Almanac

Thankful For:

* Snow...ha ha just kidding.  I am not excited about the snow.  I believe that last year traumatized me and I cannot see the joy in even this first snowfall.  I suppose though, that I should be thankful for ALL of the things God gives me, right?

* Our driving and carpooling plans working out even amidst changing plans and crazy schedules.  Somehow, God's always got them covered for us.
* A great semester of Earth Science and writing classes for my two high schoolers.  Both classes were taught by others and what a joy it has been for all of us!
* Family 

Praying For:

*A friend of ours that just died last night after a short bout with cancer.  Please pray for the soul of Jim and for his wife and two daughters as they grieve.
* For our country as they announce the Ferguson verdict.

In The Kitchen:

Yesterday was a motivated day for me in the kitchen; which doesn't happen often enough!  I made up a big batch of hot chocolate mix, made some brownies for the feast day, cooked some whole chickens, eggplant pizzas and some almond flour biscuits.  It was a good dinner!

Our contribution for Thanksgiving will be some breakfast foods and coffee for a possible visit with my mil and a pumpkin pie to add to the other two my uncle will be bringing for dinner.  Not bad at all!

This Week:

Monday (today) was a crazy day, as will tomorrow be.  Lot's of things, people everywhere, driving, appointments.  Final oral presentations will be given tomorrow by the students of the writing class.  Parents are encouraged to stay and listen mwahhhahahhah.  I love making them squirm.  The weekend outlook is...busy.  Oh well, what else is new?

In the Schoolroom:

Trying to at least get the basics done this week.  I find it interesting that Ms 18 yo's college has a full week off this week (something about fall break, even though the semester ends in two weeks), while the other two girls only have Wed thru Friday off (something about fall break there, too).  I guess if they all have Wednesday off, we might as well, too, because I doubt anything productive will be accomplished.


Slowly but surely I have been reading "Rediscovering Catholicism" by Matthew Kelly.  I got it for free from a Free 4 All a few years ago and am finally getting around to reading it.  I'll say that it is better than I thought it would be and am finding parts of it quite timely.

For Advent, I picked up the Kindle version of "Meditations for Advent" from Sophia Institute Press.  I'm really looking forward to reading one each morning of Advent and throughout the Christmas Octave as there are a total of 40 meditations.

Listening To:

Ms 16 yo cooking dinner (yay!!) and quiet.  One is reading, the other is playing Legos (so shortly I should hear the sound of things exploding) and one is wandering around trying to procrastinate.  He should be practicing his presentation for tomorrow!  The rest of the gang is at work.


I meant to take a picture of the snow that was pelting us, but I just couldn't do it.  You'll just have to imagine it.

God Bless!
Affiliate links included.  Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Trusting In Divine Providence

As I sit here on this cold and blustery day by the fire next to Ms 22 yo who just had her wisdom teeth out yesterday, I am reminded that Divine Providence is something I need to rely on a lot more!

Wow, that makes it sound like something major happened!  Don't worry, it didn't; everything went well and she's recovering nicely.  However, the story I'm about to relate, as small and insignificant as it may seem, is a good reminder to me that God does look after our every need - even if it is nothing big.

When Ms 22 yo made the appointment to have her wisdom teeth taken out, I wondered to myself what on earth made her schedule it during the week and during the middle of the school semester?  By doing that, she would be missing two day of work and one day of classes.  Didn't make a whole lot of sense to me at the time, but in the long run it worked out perfectly for Ms 18 yo.

Let's backtrack for a moment.  Remember Ms 18 yo and her car that isn't worth fixing?  Well this week, because her sister is laid up, she is able to use her car to get to school and work.  This works out great for me, too, because then I don't have to go and drop her off and pick her up.

With Ms 18 yo's Fall break from school next week and her sister being at home this week, we've God's been able to minimize the negative impact of her not having a car for the next two weeks.  In other words, God knew (much better than I did) that now was a good time for her car to go kaput.  He knew that now was a good time to schedule the wisdom teeth extraction.  He knew that this is all do-able.  So if He can take care of the little details that tend to get me off track, then I'm sure He can take care of the big things that get me off track.  I just have to learn to be patient and wait for Him to reveal His plan in His time.  That, my friends, is the hard part!  I'm just glad He sends me these little reminders along the way.

God Bless! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

"My Sister's Keeper"

I read a book last week that really left me thinking about a lot of things.  I suppose that's part of what makes a book good, isn't it?

The book was "My Sister's Keeper" by Jodi Picoult.  


 It was a very well written, fictional story about a girl who was born to save her sister from Leukemia.  She was a designer baby, "conceived" in a petri dish with just the right combination of DNA to save her sister's life.  The story tells about how she is suing her parents for medical emancipation because she is tired of spending her life being poked, prodded and having things taken from her body so that her sister can overcome the current life-threatening crisis.

Of course there are twists and turns and an ending that you wouldn't expect, but I couldn't help but think that, had the parents been Catholic's who follow church teachings, much of this story would have been irrelevant.  It would have been up to Divine Providence whether or not any new babies the parent's had were perfect matches for their sick daughter.  Would they have kept trying to have that perfect match?  Maybe, maybe not.  Let's say they did have one on the first try.  Then what?  Would they have continued to go to their well daughter time and time again to save their sick daughter?  I don't know, I just think the mindset might have been different than the one the parents in this story had.

There are many stories out there about siblings who willingly donate bone marrow or organs or blood to save their sibling's life.  They do it unselfishly and heroically.  But what if you were that girl who found out that you were born for the sole purpose of saving your sibling?  How would that make you feel?  My mind can't conceive of doing that to a child, but I'm sure there are many people who would have no problem with that.  It just really makes me glad that God is the driving force in my life and in all of my decisions; especially the major ones. This way, I don't have to worry about playing Him.

It was a very interesting read.  If you're looking for something to get you thinking, check this one out.  Ms 22 yo tells me that this author writes her books about controversial topics such as this.  If I get a chance, I might just check out some of her other ones.  Happy reading!

God Bless!
affiliate link included :) 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Chore of Trying to Listen

I have a friend who has five littles all under the age of 10.  We are in a facebook group together and she is always posting about these great sermons she is listening to. 

I have seven children, three of whom are not home on any kind of regular basis and the other four who range in age from 9 to 16.  I never listen to recorded sermons.

"How can you listen to anything, other than your children, with all of those little kids?" I asked her one day.  I can't even put on music or play a youtube video without, and I am NOT kidding about this, at least half of the people who are home coming over to see what I'm doing.  It seems like the moment I try to listen to something I have people asking me questions or running over to tell me a story, which is all fine and dandy, but really very distracting.

Her answer was that she does it early in the morning while she's getting ready or while the kids are napping and that yes, she does hit pause a lot if she tries to do it at any other time.

My solution was then to initiate a mandatory nap time for everyone.  After realizing that that wasn't going to work, I made a mandatory nap time for me.  SCORE.

No, really what  I did was find this site on my Kindle and put my earbuds in  while I was making up my weekly menu and my grocery list.  Everyone usually leaves me alone during this time because they know how crabby it makes me, and listening to a great sermon made the time go by a bit faster and the task a bit more pleasant.  While it might only be once a week, at least it is one more time than before, which was zero.

There are a gazillion choices of great sounding sermons to listen to on audiosancto, so if you get a chance, hop over there and check some out.

God Bless!
this post contains an affiliate link.  Thanks for your support!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

When Life Gets Hectic....Part II

Remember that last post I just wrote?  The one with the cool spread sheet that clearly detailed our driving schedule for play practice?  The one that was so nicely laid out that, surely, it would work like a charm?

Well, herein lies the pitfall.  While we can do everything we can to be as organized as possible; while we can make pretty, little spreadsheets to help us along the way, some things are just out of our control and we have to have the grace to just roll with it.

Let me explain.  We planned out our Sunday morning so that both families that needed to car pool together would be going to the same Mass that morning.  At the conclusion of Mass, the appropriate people would hop into Ms 18 yo's car and off they would go.  The timing was such that they would be about 30 minutes EARLY.  Did you catch that?  EARLY.

That is until Ms 18 yo's car was running a little warmer than usual.  Of course, my husband was not with us this morning as he had gone to an earlier Mass and then scooted out of town for the day.  We consulted via cell phone (what DID we do without those???) and decided she could go on her way and just get some more coolant when she stopped for gas.

Except that's not how it worked out.  About 10 minutes down the highway, her temp gauge shot up close to the red zone.  Yikes.  Well, suffice it to say that we were able to get her the coolant she needed, get back to her car on the highway, put in the coolant (all still dressed in our Sunday best, mind you) and get them to practice 10 minutes LATE.  

Now, some might scoff at all that planning and say, "I told you you don't need to plan so much".  However, had we not been this organized and had that much lead time built in (which, believe me is not always the case, so God knew what He was doing here!) they would have ended up being much later than 10 minutes.

It was a good reminder, however, of the need for flexibility...and a lot of grace!  Hopefully the rest of the schedule runs more smoothly.

God Bless!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

When Life Gets Hectic...

Make a spreadsheet!

I can't tell you how much my life has depended on spreadsheets.  I learned how to make them early on and I use them often.

Here is a spreadsheet I created for one day of play practice.  One day, mind you, although this encompasses ten people from two families.  Still...

Instead of complaining, and since it is the month of thankfulness and not crabbiness, I'll just say how thankful I am that I enjoy creating organization out of challenges such as this:  How to get 10 people to and from practice (which is a 35 min drive) in the fewest amount of trips (and cars) possible so as not to cause children and adults to hang around for hours doing nothing.

God Bless!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Wedding Weekend Fun

Now that my 31 days of Organized Chaos are over, I've got to find my blogging brain again and get back into some kind of blogging pattern (not that I really had one before 31 days, mind you).  We'll see where the Holy Spirit leads me.

This past weekend was a busy one as we traveled out of town for a family wedding (when will someone get married in town???). It was a beautiful ceremony and a fun reception and our family got some good dance time in.  Somewhere along the line, Mr 9 yo has inherited some John Travolta genes because that boy was bustin' moves that I don't think have ever been seen before.  Didn't matter who he was dancing with as long as he was out there.  A few times he was in the middle of the wild bridal party dancing to songs that weren't that great so my hubby would walk out there and bring him off the dance floor.  He'd cooperate and then head back out with the next song.  I love that dancing is a thing that our whole family (well, except for one of us) enjoys doing.  We really do have a lot of fun together.  When's the next wedding?? 

In between the ceremony and the reception we had some time so we headed to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows to take some family pictures.  

I love that Shrine because it meant a lot to my grandma.  I remember going there with her when I was younger and participating in a candlelight rosary procession.  For a young kid, it was a very moving experience.

We took our family Christmas picture and then we had some fun with the camera.  Taking fun pictures is another family favorite pastime!  

This last one is our all time favorite family photo!  We were getting ready to pack it up because it was getting chilly, we were losing our light and well, we were done, when my hubby noticed the bathroom signs on the building.  We hurried up and set up the camera before anyone came by because, really, it looks kind of silly to be taking a picture outside of a bathroom at a NATIONAL SHRINE while you're all dressed up and it's cold outside.  We were successful and we all love the results.  I'm thinking it would make a nice canvas wrap print.

Fun times, but now it's back to the grindstone, except that Mr 9 yo seems to still be feeling the effects of his wild weekend so we're off to a slow start.  Never fear, though, we'll be kickin' it into high gear as rehearsal season gets into full swing as we approach three performances of "The Conversion of Scrooge". 

God Bless!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy All Saints and All Souls Day

These are two of my most favorite feast days of the year.  I love that we can celebrate and pray for all of our dearly departed.  

In preparation for these two feasts, we had the opportunity to go to a relic exhibit called "Treasures of the Church".  Here's what their website has to say about this incredible display:

 Treasures of the Church is a ministry of evangelization of the Catholic Church.  Run by Fr. Carlos Martins of the Companions of the Cross, its purpose is to give people an experience of the living God through an encounter with the relics of his saints in the form of an exposition.  Each exposition begins with a multi-media presentation on the Church's use of relics that is scriptural, catechetical, and devotional, leading to a renewal of the Catholic faith for many people.  After the teaching those in attendance have an opportunity to venerate the relics of some of their favorite saints.
After Father's very interesting talk, we all went to the school gym to pray with and venerate the relics of 167 different Saints.  There were relics from the True Cross, the Blessed Mother's Veil, St. Joseph and all of the Apostles.  Some of my other favorites were St. Maria Goretti, St. John Paul II, St Ignatius of Loyola (one of my favorite Saints!!) and Blessed Zelie and Louis Martin.

I spent most of the time walking through the exhibit with Mr 9 yo.  He was FASCINATED by all of this.  His mission was to touch his Miraculous Medal to every single one of the reliquaries.  We did manage to accomplish his goal!  Along the way we had some very interesting conversations.  Like this one:

Mr 9 yo:  Oh, St. Clare!  She's the one who held up the tabernacle when the army was coming to get them.
Me:  Well, it was a monstrance, but yes, you're right.
Mr 9 yo:  Yeah, I guess a tabernacle would be kind of heavy to lift up.

And this one:

Mr 9 yo:  Oh, St. Therese!  I really wanted to see her relic.
Me:  You know this is like the one we have at home?
Mr 9 yo:  We should have brought ours.  Hey!  What if we brought ours and then touched it to this relic of her.  Do you think something would have happened??
Me:  You mean like sparks or something?
Mr 9 yo:  Yeah!  We should totally go get it!

Man, I love that kid!  The things that go on in his brain are, well, things I could just never make up!  He was so excited to leave there knowing his medal is a 3rd class relic 167 times over.

When we went into the gym, Father had told us to listen for the one particular Saint that was "calling" to us.  I'm not sure I heard much other than Mr 9 yo and his chattering the whole time, but I felt the most emotion when I venerated the relics of St. Joseph, the Blessed Mother and Bl. Zelie and Louis Martin.  

I prayed for so many people that night.  It was so incredible to place family and friends before such powerful Saints and to beg their intercessions for healings and peace.

If you EVER get the chance to see this exhibit...RUN, don't walk to it.  It was truly a blessed event and a wonderful way to prepare for these two days.

God Bless!