Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Week in Review March 9th - Spring Semester Week #8

Hard at work in their uniforms.
In My Life
I am feeling a bit overwhelmed lately.  I recently took on the task of helping set up a Catholic homeschool conference in our town and am not sure that was one of my smartest ideas.  Darn helium hand!  In any case, with singing at two evening Masses this weekend, and a late night meeting for the conference, I am ready to be a hermit this week.  I did get to see some friends Friday evening though, thank goodness.  It is amazing what a little girl time can do for your sanity!
In Our Homeschool
WAY too many crazy weeks in a row, but thankfully we have been able to stay on track with our homeschool schedule thanks to my new dirty little secret.  Uniforms!  I bought a few basic uniforms at our local consignment store a couple of weeks ago - nothing special just khaki bottoms and navy tops (or a few navy dresses in Michaela's case).  We were having some issues with getting distracted and off task, so now the children put on their uniforms as soon as they wake up and wear them until they are done with their schoolwork for the day.  They know that even if I let them have a break, when I say it is time to get back on task, no arguing is allowed.  The uniform says so.  They are thrilled to change into play clothes afterwards, and I love how well it is working so far!

Phonics - Rx For Reading - Initial and Final Consonant Blends
Math - MEP Year 1 - Lessons 47-50
Grammar - 1st Language Lessons - 34-38
Literature - Betsy Tacy and Tib
Rafael Language Arts - Language Lessons for Little Ones - Lessons 60-66
Rafael Math - MEP Reception - Lessons 24-27
Rafael Literature - Wanda Gag books - Millions of Cats, The Funny Thing, The ABC Bunny
Geography - Italy - Count Your Way Through Italy, C is for Ciao
History - Slavery/Beginning of Civil War - Priscilla and the Hollyhocks, Follow the Drinking Gourd
Science - BFSU - A-4 Science Co-op Class - the particulate matter of nature

Around Town
Tuesday - Science Co-op Class
Wednesday - PBS Station Tour
Thursday - Archery Class
Friday - Catholic Co-op

I'm Grateful For
My amazing husband.  After being gone several nights this week, he encouraged me to "linger" during my Sunday afternoon errands so that I could enjoy some child-free time.  What a Saint!  It is our 8 year anniversary today!

What I'm Working On
I am focusing on getting rid of junk as per my 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge.  It is amazing how much stuff I have  - and I have done this challenge the past several years too!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lent Check-in - Week 1

Bag 1: Old magazines and fabric
Bag 2: Paperwork and trash from my car!
Prayer - HelloMornings Challenge & Daily Family Prayer
Going well.  There are mornings where it is difficult, but it is do nice to be able to wake up and go to sleep every day with God in my heart.

1.  No added sugar - hmmm...going ok.  It is extremely difficult at times and it's only been a few days!  I am struggling with using this fasting as a method to bring me closer to God rather than just another diet.  I felt so awful yesterday at my sister's house.  My dad had made breakfast for us and instead of gratefully eating it, I kept fussing over whether the ingredients had added sugar.  Our deacon really hit the nail on the head yesterday in his homily when he reminded us that our fasting shouldn't be so severe that it becomes a penance for others.

2.  40 Bags in 40 Days - It was a bit if a crazy week so I only managed to fill 2 out of 5 trash bags. That is still 2 trash bags of junk gone!

3.  Sacrificing Social Media - struggling with this one too.  Hopefully I can do better this week, because I definitely slipped up quite a bit.

1.  Patience - Serving my family with patience is not very easy while giving up added sugar!  I perhaps did not think that out very well.  Starting the morning with prayer is very helpful, but this ties in to being able to handle my fasting internally and transform it into a form of prayer through giving to my family.

2.  Tithe - I will finally be setting up EFT this week!

How did your first week of Lent go?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Red Beans & Rice

We enjoyed our Mardi Gras on Tuesday, feasting on lots of yummy treats including some not so beautiful looking beignets and king cake.

For dinner we ate Red Beans & Rice, one of our favorite yearly traditions.  This recipe makes a LOT so I was able to freeze quite a bit.

Red Beans and Rice
1lb red beans
7 cups water
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped and minced
21oz chicken broth
1 1/2lb sausage, chopped
2 T creole seasoning ( I used cajun)

Combine all ingredients in crockpot and cook on low for 9 hours.  Serve on top of hot cooked rice.

Source: Green with Love

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Monday, March 3, 2014

2014 Lent Plans

Who's ready to Lent it up with me!
Image from Catholic All Year
I think I feel this way every Lent and I always have to take a step back and look at what I have committed myself to!  It is important to strike a balance between true sacrifice for yourself, and doing something that negatively affects the rest of your family and causes a "forced sacrifice" to them as well.

For instance, when I first started planning for Lent this year I thought about joining a weekly bible study, attending Eucharistic Adoration once a week, and offering my time to the pro-life movement.  Um.  Yeah.  I think I temporarily forgot that I have kids and a husband, and oh yeah, homeschool too.  While I MIGHT be able to do all that, my family time would suffer and it is just not realistic.  My vocation as a wife, mother, and teacher means that right now, serving my family takes precedence over serving the rest of the community.  And that is ok!  It is a good thing!

I began thinking of the three themes of Lent: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving.  After a lot of prayer and discernment, I've come up with a list of ways to prepare my heart and soul for Jesus during this Lenten season (that won't negatively impact my family!).

1.  Hello Mornings Challenge - I began this challenge last week.  The goal is to wake up early and to use the time to grow closer to God.  Along with personal prayer, I have been using my Laudate App to read the daily Mass readings, about the Saint of the day, and to pray Lauds.  I will continue this through the Lenten season.  It helps me start the day in the right frame of mind, and ensures that Jesus if foremost in my thoughts and words throughout the day.

2.  Praying with the Children - As a family we will pray a Decade of the Rosary every evening, and the Stations of the Cross on Fridays.

1.  No Added Sugar - I am cutting refined and added sugar from my diet.  I have a true addiction and am truly commiting the sin of gluttony.  I am looking to Jesus' fasting in the desert as my model for abstinence.

2.  40 Bags in 40 Days - I hope to get rid of the material junk cluttering up my house and mind by trashing or donating a bag of excess from my home each day of Lent.  I hope that simplifying my surroundings will give me the clarity and peace to grow closer to God.

3.  Sacrificing Social Media - I am restricting my Facebook and Pinterest time so that I can focus more on my family.

1.  Patience - In serving my family I hope to increase my patience and serve with love instead of anger or irritability.

2.  Tithe - This is so awful, I am ashamed to admit it.  We stopped tithing about two years ago when our church gave the option of Automatic EFT.  We cancelled our envelopes, filled out the EFT paperwork....and forgot to turn it in.  And forgot.  And forgot.  And forgot.  And here it is two years later and we still have not turned it in.  I can't believe we have let it lapse so long, but we are more than ready to start giving our first fruits to God again!

Thanks for reading!  What are your plans for Lent?

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Visit the hosts too!
Monica at Equipping Catholic Families (on Facebook
Chris at Campfires and Cleats (on Facebook)
Tina at Truly Rich Mom (on Facebook
Tracy at A Slice of Smith Life   (on Facebook)

Week in Review March 2nd - Spring Semester Week #7

What a crazy week!  Part of the reason I keep this blog is to track our lessons so that I have a guidepost when planning future lessons for younger kids.  Today I have no time to do all the usual fluff - I just need to get this post written and recorded for my own personal future use!

In Our Homeschool
Phonics - Rx for Reading - Initial Consonant Blends
Math - MEP Year 1 - Lessons 42-46
Grammar - First Language Lessons - Lessons 29-33
Handwriting - cursive t, l, joining letters to form words (it)
Literature - Finished Betsy Tacy
Rafael Language Arts - Language Lessons for Little Ones - Lessons 52-59
Rafael Math - MEP Reception - Lesson 19-23
Rafael Literature - Angus and the Ducks, Ask Mr. BearThe Magic Porridge PotThe Little Red Hen
Geography - Italy co-op class
History - Slavery/Beginning of Civil War - Henry's Freedom Box, Hope's Gift
Art & Music - Fantasia (don't laugh)
Handicrafts - Michaela got several Lego sets for her birthday and has been happily occupied by them.

Around Town
Monday - Gabrielle 2yo Doctor Appointment

Tuesday - Italy Geography Class

Wednesday - Weekly Homeschool Mass, MOMS Club playgroup, Field Trip to Racing museum

Thursday - Archery Class

Friday - Catholic Co-op

Fasting From Social Media for Lent

Hi, my name is Andrea and I am a Social Media addict. I Facebook the second I wake up and spend my free moments Pinning in between lessons with the kids.

It is not a good habit to have.  I don't want to be the kind of mom constantly looking down at my phone instead of enjoying the precious moments with my children.  At the same time, there are benefits to both Facebook and Pinterest for me.

I know there are a lot of circles that look at Facebook as a bad thing.  They claim it fosters artificial relationships, and in some cases, I'm sure this is true.  In my case, my best friends and I talk on an almost daily basis through Facebook messaging; often lifting my mood and giving me the pep to get through a difficult day.  I also get to keep up with long distance family members who I don't get to see regularly otherwise.  Through the many homeschool groups I participate in on Facebook I receive support, encouragement, and advice.  All this is my way of saying, I feel it would be more of a hindrance than a help to my vocation as a homeschooling mom to stay off of Facebook entirely for Lent.  Pinterest as well, is extremely helpful at times.  I pin items for the parents of the science co-op class I teach as well as items for my own children.  I also store all my most used recipes on Pinterest for easy access.  Pinterest is a useful tool in many ways.

I do beleive, however, that limiting my time on both WOULD be helpful.  It would DEFINITELY be a sacrifice for me to stay off of Facebook for the majority of the day.  When I ran across Sacrificing Social Media on Catholic Mom, I knew I had to participate.

Sacrificing Social Media” is a multimedia campaign that specifically excludes some or all use of social media during Lent and instead encourages the enrichment of personal relationships – the knowledge of self, the gift of charity to neighbors and strangers, and the increased love of our families and God. - Catholic Mom.com

So my goal for this campaign is to keep myself off Facebook and Pinterest (I am thankfully not on Twitter anymore!!!) for the majority of the day/evening.  My only "allowed" time is:

1) In the morning only AFTER my personal prayer time and BEFORE the kids wake up.

2) In the evening only AFTER the kids have gone to bed and BEFORE 9:30pm.  (I don't want to sabotage my morning prayer time!)  And also only if my husband is otherwise occupied - I don't want to sacrifice our relationship time either!

3) Pinterest for reference only during the day if there is a TRUE need to find something for a lesson or recipe.

As you can see, that is NOT a lot of time.  I am hoping to truly focus on my children and my faith during this time of preparation.  Thanks for reading!

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Lent Lapbook

Yesterday in my daughters K/1st Catholic co-op class I had the kids make lap books for Lent.  I didn't have time to run to the store for tri-fold folders, but the regular file folders worked just fine.
On the front we glued the Lent Countdown calendar from Catholic Icing.

I wanted to teach them about the three tenents of Lent - Praying, Fasting, and Almsgiving.

Prayer & Fasting
Prayer - On the left panel we focused on prayer.  The children glued scaled down versions of the Stations of the Cross and Sorrowful Mysteries (both included in ebooks I purchased from Happy Saints).  The reflections are included in the printouts so they are completely ready to be used.  I also glued a panel (found here) that they could write a special prayer intention on.

Fasting - On the right panel we focused on fasting.  The children colored and glued THIS coloring page illustrating fasting.  We had a discussion about what would be appropriate to fast from.  (i.e. something that you loved or used on a daily basis - broccoli would not be appropriate unless you really really love it!).  Again there is another panel to write what they were planning on fasting from.

Almsgiving - On the back panel we focused on almsgiving.  The children pasted THIS sign from Catholic Icing describing what Giving Alms is.  We talked about the different ways that children could give alms, other than saving money for the poor.  I related it more to stewardship in that they could also give of their time and talent to others (ie helping Mom with chores, using kind words more, etc.).  Again, another panel for them to write what they were planning on doing.

Lent Countdown Calendar
Happy Saints Way of the Cross and Rosary Ebooks
Praying, Fasting, Almsgiving Tags
Fasting Coloring Page
Almsgiving Sign

Thanks for reading!