"Do not yield to discouragement in the face of difficulties and do not abandon yourselves to false solutions which often seem the easiest way to overcome problems. Do not be afraid to make a commitment, to face hard work and sacrifice, to choose the paths that demand fidelity and constancy, humility and dedication. Be confident in your youth and its profound desires for happiness, truth, beauty and genuine love! Live fully this time in your life so rich and so full of enthusiasm."
"Let us look with greater hope to the future; let us encourage one another on our journey."
~ Papa Benedict XVI

Monday, February 28

Preparing for Lent

There are so many options out there to help guide our children through the Lenten Season.  Do you have any special traditions in your family?  We have really never found that ONE thing that stuck with us through the years (yet) but it has not been from lack of trying! 

One of my favorites was the last year we were in the farm house.  We have a good size cork board that i covered with paper and we made a lenten calendar following the directions given at These Forty Days.
This is from These Forty Days - i cannot find our picture!
Isn't it beautiful?  We have a little plastic Caterpillar that sat on our board and each day the kids punched a hole in a leaf to show his journey.  The kids love calendars!  So i guess there is one thing that we do every year....i stand corrected! (it has only been these past few years but you gotta start somewhere)

This year we are still not in our own place so i have been thinking of ways to have a calendar without impinging upon the rest of the household.  Lacy, over at Catholic Icing, just blogged about lenten activities including a lapbook. 

This Lapbook comes from Homeschool Goodies

I love the idea - it gets things out of the common area of the house (though really the only area we have alone are our 2 bed rooms) and puts things in the hands of the kids.  One problem though - the big guys might not be as excited about this activity as the little ones ...so the thinking continues.....

A poster might work if i keep it small and replace our daily calendar with it in the school area.  I think i would like to add feast days that fall in the season as well as maybe a weekly activity for the family - whether prayer, fasting, or alms giving.

Growing up we always gave something up - didn't you?.  Once we had kids of our own that was our first thought, but as we grow in our faith as adults we have begun to understand the true reason for the lenten season.  We started looking at not necessarily giving up for Lent so much as giving up for good...a much harder, but truly lenten, plan.  We have tried but failed at many things too.  But it has all been a learning process - and will continue to be so for the rest of our life. 

Our hope is that our children will understand far better than we ever had and that they will carry this knowledge with them once they leave home. 

There are many confusing, though seemingly wonderful, lenten activities to help your children keep track of the season.  One year, long ago, we used a Noah's Ark activity that took us through the entire season.  After that the little kids kept thinking Noah had something to really do with Lent.  It prefigures or typifies the season but it is not what Lent is about.

So what is Lent? 
This is getting a bit long....i think i'll continue that thought in the next post...

Any ideas for a March give away?  I'd like to keep it in line with the season, should it be handmade or a book?  What would you be interested in?  Maybe a school item? .... guess i need to come up with something soon!  Tomorrow is March 1st! (and the birthday of our own little Ladybug!)

Saturday, February 26

Do You Sew?

If you do, could i ask you a favor? 

I need scraps!  Not the kind you set aside for another project, the ones that you throw away. Yep, those!

Tee hee hee! I have not lost my mind! 
Its a project ... a fascinating, new, exciting, quilting type adventure.  But i need small pieces in various shapes, sizes and colors (you could add bigger pieces if you'd like - i will not turn them away! Actually i could use those too.)
I do not sew enough yet to have many of my own scraps (but yes, i do save mine - though i never knew why until now!)

Anyway - i'm not telling exactly what its for yet ...if i don't get to it for a while (i have a couple of dresses to make and a birthday gift to crochet!) i don't want to disappoint anyone.  But i will eventually share. :  )

If  you can help me out please leave a comment below and i will email you back ... We will pay for shipping ...yes, for mailing us your garbage!
Thank you so much for your help!

ps.  If you know anyone else that sews please direct them here, i am serious about this! Thanks!

A Little Brown Book

Yesterday i headed out to find a birthday gift or two for a young lady about to turn 9.  Ladybug is very much into horses and reading and cooking and sewing ....it shouldn't be difficult right?  : )

I ventured over to our local Borders, which is closing sometime soon.  Everything is about 20% off right now and some sections are already wiped out - quite amazing.  So anyway, while there i found a few things in the stationary section (30%off!) that i thought she would like ... and one little thing that i knew was meant just for me.  Ok, so i should have resisted but sometimes mom has a good reason.

I purchased a little 3.5 x 5.5 spiral notebook for myself.  Yes, its cute - brown with tiny pink polka dots ...but that couldn't be helped. : )  
Now why? you ask, and that is a perfectly logical question.....

As a mommy we have a tendency to put aside our own interests while the kids are young.  There is nothing more important than being mommy.  If you can take your interests and teach your children about them and do them with the kids that's great, but that does not always work out.  Sometimes they just need to be on hold for a bit. 

Here is where the little brown notebook comes in.  Every so often (and sometimes more often then not) a brilliant idea pops into my head (i'm sure you understand completely!)  There are getting to be too many of them to remember!  My little brown notebook is my backup memory!  I have already started filling the pages..and while some ideas may sit for years (yes, they will) they will be noted and remembered for when i have the time to make them/do them.

Life is such a joy - to watch your little ones grow, to help guide and then watch them go.  But you are still you and sometimes you need a reminder that you are a pretty interesting person, and more than just mommy.  The little brown notebook is a reminder of all the God inspired ideas you hold in your heart for the times you have a free moment - both while the kids are little and once they are grown. 

I highly recommend getting one (any color and size you want!) and jotting down those project ideas for a later date.  They don't 'just happen' for no reason.

Thursday, February 24

Hello? ... Hello!

No we have not run away... we've been busy, but have thought of writing often. 

I don't have pictures on the computer at the moment but will post some soon. 
We spent the last 2 weekends hanging out with my sister-in-law and nephew....Jen (my sister-in-law) and i went to the County Library System's annual book sale - Sunday is $5 a box (and they are very generous sized boxes!) and $1 a bag.  Ah the joy!  Jen came away with 3 boxes but i managed more books in my 2.  I spent the entire time in the kids books and did pretty well, if i may say so myself.  We have decided we will defintitly be returning next year ....only earlier (read that - when they open) on Sunday.  Here's hoping the wait to get in is a lot shorter next time!

Wednesday, February 16

And the Winners are ...

Michelle from Kozy Kids Family Daycare and Fidelio from Midnight Radio!

Congratulations!

Michelle and Fidelio are our January/February Give Away winners. 

I'm looking forward to 'seeing' you both in class!

For anyone else interested in taking Karen Tyler's Online Montessori Teacher Training Program you can find more information at her web site: World Wide Montessori Online.

Wednesday, February 9

Welcome

Hello!  I just wanted to take a moment to welcome all our new followers.  We've had a slight jump due to this month's give away!  (That's ok, from time to time i do it too.) 

So welcome to Michelle Gorman, Lori, the Fru-"gal", Sandy, guessa!, MT, Kristin George, My Spot!, Kama, Kim, and tree ...as well as all of you who stop in from all around the world, you are not unnoticed - i am amazed at the world traveling my little traffic feed does!

So anyway, welcome to our blog.  I hope you will stop in regularly and walk away with even the smallest bit of new information or at least a smile.  This blog has a mind of its own, for sure.  I write about more than i had planned to and on everything from homeschooling to parenting, feast days to our family life in general. 

Please feel free to comment, but also to ask questions.  I am always willing to post answers!
And again, Welcome!

Saturday, February 5

Toddlers and Teens

Many years ago i attended a Homeschool Conference in Harrisburg, PA.  Laura Berquist gave a talk that i'm sure had lots of great homeschool tips and information, but the one thing i remember from it, the one thing that i tucked away in my heart for future reference was a comment that went something like "Teens and toddlers are a lot alike - they need lots of food and lots of sleep." 


I think back then we had 2 kiddos, the oldest was probably 4.  Now we have 5 and our oldest is 14, our youngest is 2.  Mrs. Berquist's comment is oh, so true.

We have had quiet time in our home since the beginning and the middle kids complain a bit but the youngest one usually naps and the oldest one can be found doing the same many a day.  : )

And we have managed to by-pass a lot of the grumpy teen time so far - when it first showed up i started asking B. if he was hungry...did he want a snack?  The first time i did that there was a pause, a sort of 'well, yeah, i guess i am ...and why are you asking?' moment, but from there on out any time he was/is hungry he'd just ask for a granola bar or some such thing.  He has really been pretty good about not being grumpy since we started that.  And the naps definitely help too. 

What can i say, they're growing!  They don't stop!  We can buy pants for a kid and two months later they need new ones!  Holy smokes!    

My point, i guess, is, once your little ones hit those teen years, think about what they are going through.  Just like when they were younger, they are growing mentally and physically ...all very quickly.  They need lots of rest and energy to keep their body going and growing.  Don't let a grumpy teen frustrate you - just make him a sandwich! 

ps.  we have not hit the teen years with our daughters yet - i'm sure there is more than rest and food involved but really, i bet, the nap at least will come in handy!

Thursday, February 3

A Great Give Away!

Hurry it ends this Sunday, Feb 6th!
Over at momspotted.com Jennifer is having a Celebrate Valentine's Day with Wilton! give away! She is a product reviewer for Wilton and they have generously given her a second Brownie Bundle Package to give away to her readers!  Look at all the products included!  Can you imagine what kind of fun you and the kids could have with this?!!!?



There are several ways to enter but you will need to do it soon! Click on the links highlighted above to visit Jennifer's Blog and to also check out Wilton's website.  Good luck...and happy baking!

Tuesday, February 1

Life Skills

Saturday, if you looked for us, you would have found us in Greensboro, NC at NC A & T University.  NC A & T hosted this year's NC FLL State Tournament.

FLL or FIRST Lego League "introduces younger students to real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. FLL teams, guided by their imaginations and adult coaches, discover exciting career possibilities and, through the process, learn to make positive contributions to society."  Oh, but it is so much more...

Not only do they build lego robots but they program them, they research the year's topic, they come up with an original solution to a problem, and they present all these things to judges.  FIRST Lego League teaches many life skills far beyond the science and technology.

My husband and i like FLL because on top of academically challenging our children it helps teach them about teamwork, team spirit, communication, interviewing, courtesy, on the spot and critical thinking.  They learn to trust their ideas and question them as well.  They learn to push themselves beyond their initial ideas to look further up and out.  They learn to ask for help, teach others, find solutions or create your own quality one if none exist or are appropriate.  And they learn to do all these things while still working within rules and guidelines, while being good sports (FIRST calls it gracious professionalism). Gosh, and there is so much more....

Its definitely NOT about the Legos.

Anyway - the kids had a very long, very tiring, very educational day.  But they enjoyed it.  It was actually a pretty tough day as many things did not go as planned. 

 We left Raleigh around 5:00am so Dad could be there for the volunteer meeting (each team has to provide one in this particular state's events.) Team check in started around 7am.  Once checked in we headed to the Pit - the area set up for teams to use as their 'home base' for the day.  We get a 6 foot table and four chairs.  If you're lucky you're next to a wall and can then spread out a bit more ...we were lucky.
The kids and i spent the morning running around between the practice runs, teamwork interview, robot design interview, and project interview. 

We had our own small cheering squad....
and photographer (hopefully one day we'll get the pictures! :  ) )

The afternoon was spent practicing, 

queueing,

 and competing.



Overall it was a good day.  They did not win any awards but came away happy with their presentations and a little frustrated with their table runs.  The best part of the day was...

Ladybug: "the break in the afternoon" (they got to shoot hoops and play skeet ball)

T: "Just being there." (Not everyone goes to state.  They won 2nd place Robot Design at their qualifier to earn a place.)

B: "The robot design interview, because that was our best chance of winning something."

Me?  I liked spending the day with my kids!