Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Child's Home is a Mother's Heart

Lately I have been meeting Protestants who have converted to the Catholic Faith. They all have great stories to tell about their journey and how they came about coming to embrace the Catholic Faith as truth.

I have also noticed that these people who I have met and talked to have something in common, they have said that though they knew in their heart and soul that the Catholic Church was Christ’s Church but they all had a hard time excepting the Marian Doctrine.

For some it only took a few good books to understand a Catholic’s devotion to Our Lady. For others it took years and constant prayer.

One woman I recently met is a daughter of an ex-Catholic Protestant preacher. Right away I knew her story was going to be good. She married a Catholic man who was not devout, but he did not want to give up the Catholic faith. This woman challenged her husband to either give up the Catholic faith or “be Catholic.” Her husband took this challenge and started to learn about his faith. In the woman’s words, she said her challenge “backfired.” Her husband became devout and along the way he taught her about the faith.

This woman came to the conclusion that this was the truth and became Catholic, but she had some problems with Mary. Her husband took her to see Scott Hahn speak about Mary, and she prayed about what would be the right thing to do.

As she was at Mass she asked our Lord to help her with this and show her how to be close to our Lady. After Mass she walked outside and she said some random man walked up to her and gave her a miraculous medal, and then walked away. Well you can guess how she feels about the Blessed Mother now. I love her story because all through it you can see how God has placed husband and wife together for the sake of each other's souls. And also how our relationship with Mary is so valuable.

Her story got me thinking about my relationship with Mary. A few years ago I decided to read the Secret of Mary by St. Louis de Montfort, and considered concentrating myself to Our Mother. During that time my prayers were much deeper than they have ever been. I really can’t explain the feeling I had as I drew closer to Our Mother, but I knew it was right. Then I had feelings of doubt. I wondered if being so close to Mary was offending Jesus. Even I, a cradle Catholic, was having trouble with Mary.

A week ago my husband told me he was going to concentrate himself to Mary, this caused me to get out my book The Secret of Mary and read it again. I also read Hail, Holy Queen by Scott Hahn, I highly recommend this book by the way. Then these Catholic converts keep crossing my path with their Mary stories.

In the book Hail, Holy Queen, Scott Hahn writes about God being a family in himself. We have the Father and the Son. But would God leave a family like that? No, God knows how important a Mother is to the family, and since God is perfect he would give us nothing less than a perfect family. That includes a Mother.

I have never felt more close to Our lord than when I kept his Mother close to me. Thanks to my husband, good books, and a handful of Protestant converts, I know how important it is to love our Mother and to accept her entirely as Jesus gave her to us.

May we be assisted, we beseech Thee, O Lord, by the worshipful intercession of Thy glorious Mother, the ever-Virgin Mary; that we, who have been enriched by her perpetual blessings, may be delivered from all dangers, and through her loving kindness made to be one heart and mind: who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Friday, September 26, 2008


One night I was sitting on my couch watching an episode of Nanny 911. If you have never seen the show what it basically boils down to are parents with uncontrollable children who want them fixed. Nanny comes in and shows the parents it is their fault the kids are crazy and presto the family is all better.

On this particular episode it was the same deal. Dad works all day, mom is a frustrated, depressed, yelling mess. What caught my attention was when Nanny told the mother that her problem was that she lost herself. Her whole life revolved around the kids and she did nothing for herself therefore she was lost. Nanny then went on to tell the mother if she does not find herself before the kids leave home she will be a depressed empty nester.

My take was that mom and dad needed to find their friendship again and come together as parents. I didn’t see anything showing this devoted mom was lost. It made me wonder if this is something people think about moms who live their life for their kids and family.

I am a stay at home mom with four kids. They are my life. My life does revolve around them. They are my job, my career. I am their mother, and their teacher. When I am not doing the daily physical things a mother does my mind and heart are always on my kids. Am I lost?

I, like the lady on Nanny 911, don’t get a chance to do much for myself. I do get my hair done and go shopping for myself, and I occasionally go out with the girls (Which is coming up this Saturday, YAY!) but my family's needs always come first. You know what, I am ok with that. Here is a news flash I like my kids. Being a mom is who I am. I don’t feel being a mother has caused me to lose anything; I feel I have found a major part of myself through motherhood.

I hope people don’t see me as lost. I have never been so aware of myself since I had my children. As for them leaving and me becoming a depressed empty nester, I don’t see that in my future. I dream of the day when Big D and I can have lazy afternoons, go to nightly mass together, or just go where we want to go when we want to go. I look forward to the day when I can, dare I say, spoil my husband even more than I do now. There are so many places where I want to volunteer and the ministries I want to continue that will be much easier to do when the kids are grown.

The days will come when my children get older and leave; it will be bitter sweet for me but I don’t see it as an end for me. I see it as retiring from the more physical work of being a mother and going on to the next chapter in life where I am sure more of myself is waiting to be found.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Crush

I can remember when I was in middle school and started to develop crushes on boys. I can remember giving and receiving little notes that said, do you like me? There were two boxes that the recipient of the note had to check either yes or no to the above question.

If the yes box was checked then you had yourself a boyfriend or girlfriend. This meant that you would send notes to each other and maybe play a little bit on the play ground together.

I also remember never bringing up my crushes that I had to my parents. This was a school thing. The boy never came to my house; we never talked on the phone. I didn’t know his parents he didn’t know mine. It was a private young crush.

This carried on into my teen years. My parents requested to meet whomever I was dating, but they did not know the young man or his family on a deeper level. My relationships were private.

I find new reasons to love homeschooling as we continue to live this lifestyle. Middle school kids will always have crushes. It is normal and I am not too concerned about it. My husband on the other hand may have more issues with it than I do. I think all fathers do.

The middle school kids that are in our homeschool group develop these crushes too. The difference I have noticed between their crushes and mine of the past is that these kids are open with their feelings. They talk to the adults about how they feel. They have no problem telling us parents who likes who.

Another difference is that the boy who may have a crush on my daughter or vice versa is apart of our homeschool family. I know this child, his parents and their values. Us mom like to refer to the kids in our group as being on the approved future dating list.

I am not saying that all the kids in our group will be arranged in marriage some day, but what I am saying is that I love the fact that I can be apart of these first crushes, even if I am in the background. I like knowing all my children’s friends and families, not as acquaintances, but as a family. This makes the realization that my little girls and boys will one day like the opposite sex a little easier to handle.

Even if my children find the love of their life in a different setting, Church, college, or wherever, I am hopeful that they will carry with them a respect for their families and themselves that they are being taught in these early years.

Homeschooling has so many benefits for education and the benefits of everyday human interaction that comes with it is one more reason I feel blessed that homeschooling is apart of our lives.

Little Flowers

Yesterday we had our first Little Flowers meeting. The boys who are in our homeschool group go with their dad’s to Conquest. Our girls were feeling a little left out. We came to the decision that a Little Flowers group would be a great idea.

The mom who has the Little Flower craft book could not make it to the first meeting, so we gave the girls creative freedom with the craft supplies and us moms sat back, talked and enjoyed our chips and salsa.

We had mom time while the kids got crafty, ate cupcakes and played. We will be doing a more formal Little Flower group, but it was nice to just have everyone together too.

Before I began homeschooling I was worried about my children having friends, being alone, and socialization. Now that I am homeschooling I have to laugh at myself when I think back on those thoughts. My kids have more friends now then they ever did in traditional school. And these friends are actually apart of their home life.

Another plus is that the mother’s of these friends have become my close friends. I couldn’t be happier with how everything is working out for my kids, and for myself. It is wonderful how God brings people together.

The Girls get crafty

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Happy 10th Birthday Miss!

Ten years ago today we were blessed with our first baby girl. I remember the day I had little Miss like it happened yesterday. I remember the feelings of excitement and wonder, the feeling of truly being blessed.

Miss has brought so much life and joy into our family. Her spirit has taught me so much and I will forever be grateful that she was entrusted to me.

Today Miss is Ten years old. My first baby is growing up. She has given me so many gifts in these past ten years. She has helped to make me the person I am today.

She is my baby, my daughter, and my friend. She was the first person to teach me what unconditional love really means.

Happy 10th birthday Miss, Momma loves you.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Michigan Renaissance Festival

This past weekend we were all ready to head to the Michigan Renaissance Festival. We were about ten minutes from the festival when our vehicle just quit running. We were stuck on the side of the freeway waiting for a tow truck. This was not fun at all.

Stuck on the side of the Freeway

Thanks to our family it did not take us very long to get out of the situation and we were able to make it to the festival.

Big D on the other hand could not come with us. He had to drive all the way home, pick up his grandpa’s van, and then drive all the way back to the festival to pick me and the kids up. It is a two hour drive there and back. Poor guy, he was pretty tired when all was said and done.

The Renaissance festival has always been a fun time for our family. This time was no different even under the bad circumstances we experienced.

Pirate sword fight.

The drum circle at the end is one of
our favorite parts of the festival.

I hope next year goes more smoothly
and Big D can join in the fun.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


The kid’s activities have started. A karate school in are area was nice enough to open it’s doors to all the homeschool kids for a discount. The facility is big and accommodates a lot of kids. That's a good thing because many homeschool families showed up. My kids had a blast and I think they are going to love karate.

Miss and Lil D getting ready

Bug was really into karate.

Why can't I do karate?

The homeschool karate class.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Meet My Vikings

We are doing a unit study as part of Lil D’s history lesson. I know a lot of homeschool parents make up their own unit studies but luckily for the people who are unit study challenged (me) you can find unit studies all over the internet that are made for you.

I came across this Viking unit study on a site called This unit study is all about Vikings. The two books recommended are Leif the Lucky and We Are The Vikings. This unit study was supposed to be just for Lil D but Miss likes it so much that she has joined in too.

The unit study suggests you make Viking costumes; this is where I had my fun. The kids made paper mache Viking helmets and I made the costumes.

I got the idea of how to make a Viking costume here. I made the second Sweden dress because I am not good at sewing. I am not into a lot of measuring or patterns. I eye ball it and piece things together. I am sure someone who has the patience and the sewing skills can make any of these dresses and they would turn out great.

At the end of the unit study it is suggested you have a Viking party. I am excited about the party. Who doesn’t like a party? There is a recipe for a Viking drink in the book We Are The Vikings and I also searched the Internet to find some Viking recipes we could make for our party. I found this site, Lady Valdis Isbrandsdottir, which has Viking recipes and other information about Vikings.

We will be making Cardamom Horns, they look easy to make and the little breads are shaped like a horns.

Cardamom Horns
2 eggs
6 tablespoons sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
4 tablespoons warm water
6 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
6 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
1 teaspoon crushed cardamom seeds

Dissolve yeast in water. Set aside for 5 minutes. Cream butter and sugar. Add yeast mixture and all remaining ingredients. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down and divide into 4 pieces. Roll out each piece into a circle and cut each circle into 8 wedges. Roll each wedge from the wide end and pinch end to seal, forming a horn. Place horns onto greased baking sheets and let rise until doubled in bulk. Bake at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes. Serve with butter.

We are also going to make Swedish meatballs. I am not sure if Vikings ate Swedish Meatballs but we like them so I am going with it.

Swedish Meatballs
Meatballs: 2 tablespoons finely minced onion
2 pounds ground lean beef
dash Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg
4 cups cooked rice
Gravy: 1/2 cup beer
1 tablespoon flour
dash nutmeg

Meatballs: Combine all ingredients except rice; mix well. Shape into balls and brown all around in a skillet. Remove balls from pan.
Gravy: Add flour to meatball drippings; stir until smooth. Add beer and nutmeg. If too thick, add more beer; if too thin, add more flour. Stir meatballs into gravy. Serve hot over steaming hot rice.

It seems Apple cake is a popular recipe on Norway and Viking food websites. So I am going to try out an apple cake as well. I found a recipe for apple cake on this site,

Making the costumes was my favorite part. So without further ado, I would like you to meet my Vikings.

Miss the Humble

Lil D the Brave

Bug the Helpful

Taming The Beast I Like to Call Carbohydrates

When someone tells me a serving of pasta is ½ a cup I start to laugh hysterically. A serving of pasta for me is a Jethro size bowl filled to the top. Bad, I know. And who can have only one peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Not me.

I only need to lose about 15 pounds to be comfortable and to be able to fit into all my too tight clothing.

I have decided I am going to do Atkins for a few weeks. This is not a diet I can stick to in the long run, so why even do it you ask? It disciplines me from my excessive carb and sugar intake.

Basically what I eat is meat, vegetables, and the Atkins ever so popular food, eggs. No sugar, no carbs. For someone like me who needs to fast from these two “food groups” it works well.

My plan is to lose the excess weight, exercise, and then maintain a healthy weight on a normal balanced diet. It is all about discipline, something I need work on.

On to more important matters, my cousin’s three-year-old daughter is in Children’s Hospital today. The doctors will be removing what they think is a cyst on her ovary. Please pray for this little one and her family.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Stories With A View

I will be posting today at The Homeschool Classroom.

You can go here if you would like to check it out.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Preschool at Home

I was not going to do formal Preschool for Bug, but she wants to be like the older kids and demands to do school everyday.

I have been forever printing out worksheets from theses sites and we are also doing the learning poster from Brightly Beaming Resources. This poster is a big help when it comes to teaching letters and shapes.

I like the way the older kids help Bug with her work. When we sing preschool songs the older kids sing right along with us. I think having her older brother and sister doing school with her gives her more confidence and gets her excited about learning.

It is a challenge to teach a preschooler along with teaching the older kids but so far it is working well.

Painting her viking hat.

Bug the Builder

She is proud of her poster.

Time for serious work.

Preschooler in training.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Love Award

Sissy from What's in Sissy's Head? has given me the I love your blog award.

Thank you Sissy!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fake it Until You Make It

Reading the Bible everyday has me thinking. When I read that Jesus wants us to love and care for everyone it brought me back to a place where I had trouble with this command. Not because I was hateful but because I didn’t really love or care for myself.

When I lived at home as a teenager I had a couple of years where I had anger and resentment in my heart. My parents and I had little communication and when we did communicate it was usually to yell at each other. I had hardened my heart to those who cared about me the most.

I remember sitting in my room and my Dad walked in and tossed a book on my bed. When he left I picked up the book and looked at it. It was some sort of self-help book. I can’t remember the name. I probably rolled my eyes, but I did glance at it. Over the next week I skimmed this book until I came to a chapter with the title, Fake it Until You Make It. I was interested so I read the chapter.

The Doctor or whoever wrote this book was asking the reader to imagine who they wanted to be, how they wanted to interact with people, and then act that way, even if it went against the way you would normally act.

My first reaction was probably another eye roll and an attitude of I will not be fake. I will always be myself no matter what the consequences. (You know how teenagers can be).
Then I realized the suggestion was not asking me to be fake it was asking me to “act” in a way that I would like to be. So I thought I would give it a try.

My first experiment came quickly, I heard my mom yelling my name from downstairs. I stood at the top of the stairs and answered her. My mom started yelling about some clothes I didn’t fold. My whole being wanted to yell back, the unfairness of it all built up inside of me. I wanted to bring up why she didn’t scream at my brother. But instead I thought of the book my dad gave me. I was going to fake it. I clenched my fists and in a nice voice said, ‘Sorry mom, it won’t happen again.” I thought she might have keeled over in shock because I didn’t hear anything. Then my mom said in a normal voice, “Ok Hun thanks.”

I could not believe this worked, I continued to “fake” it with everyone and I started to see my life turn into something that I wanted to see. The yelling stopped, I was becoming calm. I was building good relationships. I was genuinely loving and caring for people.

The idea that I could not change others only myself became my “mantra.”

When Jesus says to love and care for everyone, it can be hard. Now that I have a relationship with God I can take this experience that I had as a teenager and apply it to what Jesus wants me to do.

I am not talking about pretending to love people; I am talking about seeing Jesus in everyone and loving them for that reason. When a person comes along where it seems Jesus is well hidden inside of them, I will find the compassion and the courage to love them, even if I have to fake it until I make it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Reading Circle

I have always read to my children. It has never been a formal thing; a bedtime story or my kids will bring me a book they want me to read while I am sitting on the couch. It is usually during my favorite show that this happens. I think they see me sitting on the couch and think that must mean I am looking for something to do.

Lately we have been doing something different. Everyday after dinner I decided we would have reading circle. The kids and I get their reading books and each one of us reads a story from our chosen book. We lay in a circle on the floor.

I purposely told my kids about this plan because I knew they would hold me to it. Sure enough Lil D reminds me everyday that we have to do reading circle. I now look back on my plan and wonder if I really said everyday?

There are nights when I am tired. Nights when I really don’t want to listen to three stories and have to read one myself. Some nights reading circle goes great, other times there is bickering and tantrums from a three year old when she is told if she is going to bang on pots, throw toys, or do gymnastics she needs to go in the other room.

I will keep doing reading circle. I will try to do it every night. The kids do love it and it helps us to be close to one another. I will also keep doing it because there will come a day when my kids are teenagers and they will not want to lay on the floor with me and read aloud to each other.

One day all my babies will be grown up. I will have time on the couch by myself watching my favorite show. I will be able to read a book to myself in complete quiet. It will be nice. At the same time I can see myself looking down at the empty floor and longing to be lying in a circle, hearing stories from little readers. I will envision a three year old tumbling around us and a sweet voice reminding me that we must do reading circle again tomorrow.

What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life - to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories. ~George Eliot

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Authentic Catholic Women by Genevieve Kineke (Book Review)

I received a recommendation by A Catholic Mom Climbing the Pillars. She recommended the book, The Authentic Catholic Woman by Genevieve Kineke.

The book was excellent. It is a thin book only 150 pages including the epilogue. But it took me a while to read it because each page is packed with thoughtful information.

Genevieve explains how women reflect the Church. She explains how women ‘mirror the Sacraments” in their daily lives. A few examples she uses are how doing the sometimes mundane cleaning of the home can mirror Baptism, “Disorder like sin weighs us down”.

I am not fond of cleaning but this book has indeed helped me to see this chore in a new light. I think back to this book and remember the examples of Mother Theresa cleaning the leapers, or Veronica who gently cleaned our Lords face.

Another part of the book that hit home with me was the example of cooking and feeding your family being connected with the Eucharist. I am not very fond of cooking, baking is more my thing. I do cook every day three times a day and it can get a little boring. It is especially nerve wracking when I do put in the effort and love to cook for my family and sometimes my efforts are not appreciated.

Genevieve writes about this very thing and suggests instead of getting upset or bothered remember how much love our Lord puts into the Eucharist to feed his children and how many times he has been unappreciated with this meal he offers us. Still he does it because his love is so deep and unconditional.

There is so much more in this book than I had anticipated, so much to think about and absorb. Here is a quote from the book, “…”Yet in heavenly procession, love proceeds from the Father, through the Holy Spirit, to woman, who in turn distributed it to all mankind.”

One of the reasons given that it may be difficult for women to have the authentic love and femininity given to her from God, is because of fear.

This is where trusting in God comes in, and also looking at Mary are Holy Mother as a role model. She had everything to fear just as modern women do, even more so than we do, but her trust and surrender brought her through.

I could go on and on with this review quoting all the passages that I found profound and that made a little light bulb in my head go on. But I will leave the rest to those who would like to read the book.

I recommend this book to all women, no matter what your vocation may be. It speaks to the heart and the spirit. I am grateful it was recommended to me and that I had the opportunity to read it.

Click on the picture above or go here to visit the blog feminine-genius.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Our First Day of Homeschool

Today was our very first day of homeschool.

The kids woke up and got right to work. It was a challenge in the beginning because Bug and Oney did not realize that all the toys I put in the living room meant that they actually had to stay in the living room and play.

After I got the little ones to understand what school meant and how they had to behave, things went more smoothly.

Lil D was very focused and did his work in a flash. Miss took a little more time with her work. She did get upset once; she thought I was going to get mad because it was taking her a longer time to get through some of her subjects.

In Miss’s old school she was rushed and was never able to finish. That meant at least three hours of homework for her and I to do when she got home from school.

I must admit I was becoming frustrated with her use of time. I was in traditional school mode that put strict time limits on the work Miss was doing. I called Big D to share my worries about my abilities of being an adequate homeschool mom. (It was my first day and I got a little case of the jitters)

Big D reminded me of the reasons why we are homeschooling in the first place. I went to Miss and explained that she was not in a race and that she needed to focus and take her time.

Miss felt better and used her time more wisely. She picked up her pace and got to work.

We ended with our Viking unit study. The kids enjoyed picking out a Viking name and writing a poem. When we finished with the unit study I looked at the clock and saw that it was only one in the afternoon.

School went by so fast and we still have most of the day to go. Although the beginning was a little bumpy and I was a little nervous, I think the day went well. The most important thing I learned today was to go with the flow. Teach my kids the way they learn best. If one child takes longer than the other there is no reason to panic.

Our very first day of homeschool is over and we all made it. I think we all had a lot of fun too.

Lil D, fast and furious

Miss working hard

Bug practicing the letter O .

Oney hanging out and getting banana split pie everywhere. (Yes, I gave him pie to keep him happy for a few minutes. It was my first day, sheesh!)