Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Mother's Work

This is a beautiul article about the work mother's do. http://www.aholyexperience.com/2008/12/mothers-work-model-for-true-work.html

Sunday, December 7, 2008

My Hammies - so cute, you can't resist

A good friend of mine just opened her online store selling her home-sewn children's clothing and accessories. Please visit her store and see her adorable clothes.

http://myhammies.etsy.com/
Right now she has dresses and appliqued shirts, soon she will add nursing covers, burp cloths, bibs and more. Please keep checking back! She takes custom orders, too – if you want a different color shirt or a specific letter or number, please just email her at myhammies@yahoo.com through her Web store.
She personally made my nursing cover which I love, and I get compliments on it everytime I use it.

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Here is a simple way to celebrate tomorrow's feast of the Immaculate Conception at home. Mary's Candle An especially appealing project for this Solemnity of Mary is to make a special candle. This candle can be made carving a little niche for a tiny figure of a baby in the wax. The figure is then veiled (a piece of cloth fastened with pins) until Christmas Eve, when the veil is removed to reveal the Holy Child. On the Immaculate Conception, and every evening until Christmas Eve, have the children light "Mary's candle" when they say their prayers, and say the Hail Mary, or read with them her prayer, called the Magnificat

The Magnificat
My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.
Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid;
for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Because he that is mighty hath done great things to me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is from generation unto generations,
to them that fear him.
He hath shewed might with his arm;
he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat,
and hath exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel his servant,
being mindful of his mercy:
As he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his seed for ever.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Feast of Saint Andrew

Today is the feast of Saint Andrew. He was the first of the apostles of Jesus. Andrew had been a disciple of John the Baptist, he recognized Jesus as the Messiah. He brought his brother, Simon (Peter), to Jesus. They fished and lived together. They went with Jesus. "As [Jesus] was walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is now called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him" (Matthew 4:18-20). As Jesus, they too, were crucified. Jesus on some sort of T, Peter on an upside down T, and Andrew on an X, hence the shape of his flag. The date of his martyrdom was 30 November 60, in Patrae, Achaia, Greece.

Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, so we made today a Scottish heritage day. It just so happens that my aunt and uncle from Scotland visit us in America every November, so they were here to celebrate today with us. My aunt (pictured here pressing shortbread dough into the pan) helped us create a menu of traditional Scottish foods. She taught me how to make them and we had a lot of good conversation about how they cook and what foods they eat. We had a dinner of steak pie, mashed potatoes, carrots and peas and two desserts a trifle and shortbread. We tried to show Pumpkin what we were doing but he mostly just enjoyed spending time with his family. As is the continuing theme for our various family traditions and liturgical year celebrations, this is a practice year because Pumpkin is still too young to understand a lot of things. So today was mostly for me. We ended the day by finding Scotland on the world map and we didn't get a chance to color the Scottish flag.
Today also marked the beginning of the season of Advent so we put up all of our indoor Christmas decorations and the Advent wreath (it was pouring outside so we'll do outdoor lights later and we haven't gotten our tree yet). We will start our Jesse tree readings and ornament hanging tomorrow.
Another way to celebrate Saint Andrew's feast day and Advent is to say the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena. It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (30th November) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.
You can make chaplets out of 15 beads and a St. Andrew medal to help you count your prayers each day. This will be a craft for another year. Maybe when Julia is a little older she would like to do this with me.
Advent is a busy time so I hope I am not overwhelming myself with all of these activities and they God will give me the patience and the foresight to know that I ma laying the groundwork this year and to not expect too much from my two year old in grasping all of this.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thank you Lord

Today was really a wonderful day. Most moms know that holidays can often be more stressful than relaxing. But today flowed really smoothly for us as we balanced spending time with both families. I really was able to savor the day and enjoy my family. Now at the end of the day, I am so thankful to God in this crazy world that I am surrounded by so much love, comfort and happiness. Hope all your Thanksgivings were just as joyful.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving Crafts

Here are some great Thanksgiving crafts. Most of these except for the Coffe FilterTurkeys will have to be put in my saved folder to use next year or later on because I think they may be too young for Reese, but some of you with older young children would love these. Holiday Gratitude Can Paper Bag Turkey (we could possibly do this one on a god day) Coffee Filter Turkeys Turkey Table Favors Counting Down to turkey Time (We may do this one but on Thanksgiving Day write on each feather what we are thakful for. I'll call it Thankful turkey Feathers. i'll try to do it and post a picture.) I am sure there are so many others out there but these are just a few I found. Have fun. Gobble, Gobble.

A Note of Thanks

I was forwarded emails by a few friends about this article about one of President Bush's last acts in a persistent battle to protect the lives of unborn children. The emails also gave a wonderful suggestion of writing to him to thank him for all he has done for these babies. It is hard to find anyone who agrees with all his policy decisions myself included, but it is undeniable the commitment he has shown to the pro-life movement during his two presidential terms. For all the criticism he gets in the media it would probably be a welcome gift to be told "Thank you." You or even better your children also can write to President Bush at President George W. Bush, The White House, Washington, D.C., 20500.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jesse Tree...starting "anew" tradition this Advent

Advent is right around the corner and in our house we are starting some new traditions this year. One of these is a Jesse Tree. My project this weekend is going to be to find a great stick to use for our Jesse Tree. Here's some background of what a Jesse Tree is and then I'll tell you the rest of our plans.

"Jesse trees are an old tradition that is being rediscovered all over the United States. It is based on Isaiah 11:1 - "A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots" and is a way of teaching the Old Testament background for the Messiah, and showing how all of God's promises have been fulfilled. The Advent season is a wonderful time to reaffirm God's faithfulness, and the lessons of the Jesse tree help do so. A Jesse tree can be a small tree, a banner, a tree branch, a mobile, or any other thing used to hang ornaments. A special ornament is hung each day of the Advent season, and a corresponding short reading teaches the story and meaning for each ornament."
This description above is from a great website with many ideas for how to do this activity with your kids. They sell ornaments you can use or you can make them with your children.
Our plan is going to be to get our big stick and spray paint it white and then while it is still wet from the spray paint cover it with white and silver glitter. Then I'll put it in a pot with some gravel. Each Sunday during Advent, we will read the below scripture passages for the upcoming week and create some homemade drawing of the symbol. On the back of the ornament drawing, we will write one or two short verses that give the main idea. We'll string some ribbon through the ornaments and each day hang one on our tree. I imagine it definitely won't look as fancy as other Jesse Trees but I think it is important for children to relate to it and it be their own.
Here is a link to coloring pages with symbols and scripture passages that we may use off to start until we get the hang of it. Here is a link to colored images that you would just print and cut to hang up. This is a link to a daily calendar with activities and recommended seasonal books for each day to celebrate Advent.
JESSE TREE SCRIPTURES (The symbols are only suggestions) December 1 Creation: Gen. 1:1-31; 2:1-4 Symbols: sun, moon, stars, animals, earth December 2 Adam and Eve: Gen. 2:7-9, 18-24 Symbols: tree, man, woman December 3 Fall of Man: Gen. 3:1-7 and 23-24 Symbols: tree, serpent, apple with bite December 4 Noah: Gen. 6:5-8, 13-22; 7:17, 23, 24; 8:1, 6-22 Symbols: ark, animals, dove, rainbow December 5 Abraham: Gen. 12:1-3 Symbols: torch, sword, mountain December 6 Isaac: Gen. 22:1-14 Symbols: bundle of wood, altar, ram in bush December 7 Jacob: Gen. 25:1-34; 28:10-15 Symbols: kettle, ladder December 8 Joseph: Gen. 37:23-28; 45:3-15 Symbols: bucket, well, silver coins, tunic December 9 Moses: Ex. 2:1-10 Symbols: baby in basket, river and rushes December 10 Samuel: 1 Sam. 3:1-18 Symbols: lamp, temple December 11 Jesse: 1 Sam. 16:1-13 Symbols: crimson robe, shepherd's staff December 12 David: 1 Sam. 17:12-51 Symbols: slingshot, 6-pointed star December 13 Solomon: 1 Kings 3:5-14, 16-28 Symbols: scales of justice, temple, two babies and sword December 14 Joseph: Matt. 1:18-25 Symbols: hammer, saw, chisel, angle December 15 Mary: Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38 Symbols: lily, crown of stars, pierced heart December 16 John the Baptist: Mark 1:1-8 Symbols: shell with water, river On December 17, the Church begins to intensify the preparation for Christmas with the use of the "O" Antiphons during the Liturgy of the Hours. The symbols for the Jesse Tree from December 17 to 23 are based on the "O" Antiphons. December 17 Jesus is Wisdom: Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus in old Bibles) 24:2; Wisdom 8:1 Symbols: oil lamp, open book December 18 Jesus is Lord: Ex. 3:2; 20:1 Symbols: burning bush, stone tablets December 19 Jesus is Flower of Jesse: Isaiah 11:1-3 Symbols: flower, plant with flower December 20 Jesus is Key of David: Isaiah 22:22 Symbols: key, broken chains December 21 Jesus is the Radiant Dawn: Psalm 19:6-7 (in older Bibles this will be Psalm 18) Symbols: sun rising or high in sky December 22 Jesus is King of the Gentiles: Psalm 2:7-8; Ephesians 2:14-20 Symbols: crown, scepter December 23 Jesus is Emmanuel: Isaiah 7:14; 33:22 Symbols: tablets of stone, chalice and host December 24 Jesus is Light of the World: John 1:1-14 Symbols: candle, flame, sun
I think the daily scripture readings and hanging of the ornaments is a great beginners tool for getting yourself and your family used to daily devotions and prayer apart from grace and nightly prayer. I hope to post pictures of our progress as we go.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blessing for the Unborn

I was so excited to read this article about the U.S. bishops approving a liturgical service for blessing children in the womb. What a wonderful way for parents and members of a parish to recognize the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception. I also love the idea of being able to say this blessing when at an abortion clinic to bless the unborn babies about to be aborted as the mother's walk in the clinic. But it maded me think if it is possible to baptise a baby in the womb, say in a case where a mother has been told the fetus wouldn't survive to birth or be born alive and would never consider abortion and fears her baby won't survive to be baptised alive. I'm not sure what the answer is to that. It seems to make sense to me but I am not sure what the Church believes. Here is the concluding rite for the blessing: May almighty God, who has created new life, now bless the child in your womb. The Lord has brought you the joy of motherhood: May he bless you with a safe and healthy pregnancy. You thank the Lord today for the gift of your child: May he bring you and your child one day to share in the unending joys of heaven.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

All Saints Day Celebration...better late than never

I am a little late at posting about our celebration for All Saints Day. Reese is too young to do so many of the things I want to do to celebrate our holy days and feast days throughout the year, so I have to keep reminding myself that this is the year or me to "research," and that in the coming years we can bring them to life. This was the first Halloween that he understood the concept of dressing up and even that was a stretch until the final moment, so I didn't want to confuse the child by having him dress up as a saint also. Not to mention our church's All Saints dress up party was too late on Halloween night. So until he is a little older, the most I could come up with to do for this day was to read the book "I Sing a Song of the Saints of God." We have been reading it every night since. I have been trying to teach him the concept of what a saint is and that ordinary people can be saints too. I tell him he can be a saint if he makes Jesus very happy. He likes this book because he likes to search for the crosses and the swords. He likes the end with the All Saints dress up party with cake. I'm guessing if we do a saints dress up party next year, he'll need to have a sword.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt...

Today Reese and I enjoyed a beuatiful crisp fall day playing in the back yard. We've been reading the book "We're going on a Bear Hunt," so we ran through the yard on different adventures singing, "We're going on a bear hunt, we're going to catch a big one. What a beautiful day..." He was so excited. He was running with his sticks in his hand and he was on a great adventure. I was a little jealous I couldn't see the moment from his eyes again, just for a moment.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Child's Farewell

I have been writing this in my head for the last few months as I have been praying for the future of the unborn during this election season. I had hoped to post this before the election, but I could never finish it, so I can only imagine that God has a purpose for this little poem other than swaying a vote. I hope that even just one person will read this (maybe someday even president Obama) and realize that life really does begin at conception. I wish I had great literary talents but writing simple little poems is a happy past time for me. My poems can't ever be compared to Dickinson or Poe but that isn't my goal. I just want to touch a heart or open a mind. I'm always nervous to share things like this so please be kind in you judgement and take it for what it is. A Child's Farewell Your soft and steady heartbeat is all I know, the sonata to which in this womb I grow. Before you knew of me, I looked upon you from heaven, but I'm already forgetting so I can befriend you again. I am growing and awaiting the day we will meet when you'll hold me and realize your life is complete. Now your pulse is wild, your heart is beating so fast, Sweet mother don't be frightened, this worry will not last. I promise with time you will be happy I am here that my life will give you life, never a regretful tear. But something is happening, I see my angel of light, She tells me not to fear the dawn of the night. It's suddenly so cold and the scalpel is coming near We were two now we're one, Goodbye mother dear I never saw your face but your beauty I know and His forgiveness will rediscover it underneath your sorrow If you think of me someday know I will love you forever, for regardless of your Choice, you are evermore my mother.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

This speaks for itself...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Celebrating the Feast of St. Francis

The feast of Saint Francis was our first saint feast day celebration. It didn't go exactly as planned, but what does with a two year old. Some friends of ours came over that afternoon and evening so we didn't get to do our planned activities. We did however have our Italian meal of meaty lasagna for dinner and cannolis for dessert. That night before bed, we found Italy on the world map since Saint Francis was from Italy. On Sunday, after mass we went to the park and did one of our little activities. Since Saint Francis is the patron saint of animals and the environment, we did a Nature Color Scavenger hunt. Julia walked around the park collecting little treasures from nature that were the colors in his egg crate. He was so excited and proud of what he had collected and I was shocked at how well he knew his colors.

Today we continued our celebration. I put on a puppet show about the story of Saint Francis and the wolf of Gubbio. Reese was mesmerized. I had thought about just talking to him about Saint Francis, but he very obviously connected more to the story through the puppets (my very simple Saint Francis puppet, hopefully my puppet making skills will improve).
Then he finger painted a picture of Saint Francis.
Finally, tomorrow we are going or reread the beautifully vivid book Saint Francis.
I was nervous about starting to celebrate the liturgical year in this way, but now I realize how easy and enjoyable it is. There are no rules and everything is meant to be a creative learning experience that is fun.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Our little garden...

This past week we had a raised garden bed built in our backyard for growing delicious organic vegetables. It was so easy watching it being put in that I felt guilty. I do feel good that at least I did the actual seed and seedling planting. This winter season we are growing (hopefully) sugar snap peas, shelling peas, red and green leaf lettuce, multi-colored swiss chard, mesclun mix, shallots, garlic, and carrots. I think that is our complete list. Here is a picture of our little garden.

God willing, we will be able to harvest plenty of fresh organic vegetables this season and many to come. It was so relaxing and cathartic to dig my hands into the rich, warm soil and delicately sprinkle seeds, knowing that with a little water and a lot of sun that we'll be able to have such a bounty of food. One of the primary reasons we are growing this garden is for the kids to be able to watch the plants grow. I think it will be such a wonderful life and learning experience for our children (and maybe help them be more excited about vegetables that he has grown and picked from is own backyard). We also got some blueberry bushes to plant in large pots, so we're saying our prayers that they and our garden will do alright. I'll try to take pictures as the garden grows and hopefully I'll be able to take a picture of a delicious salad we make from our garden's bounty.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I resolve to stop comparing...

I am writing this today with a new resolution because I am fed up with myself. I am so frustrated that I am always comparing myself with other moms and always feeling like I could be doing better. A little gentle admiration is healthy because it inspires me, but lately I have been obsessing. So today I will no longer compare myself to other moms and accept that we all have different strengths and weaknesses. I will know that I am being the best mother possible (most days) and that my children are immensely loved and wondrously happy.
Oh and just to share, God has sent me just what I needed lately. As I have become very busy and absorbed in this or that task around the house and have forgotten to make my day a living prayer, God has suddenly made Pumpkin my little prayer watchkeeper. If I dare to forget to say grace or prayer before a meal, he'll tell me "prayer" and say "hand." So then I am reminded to hold his hand in prayer as we give thanks to God for all our blessings. Thank you Lord for my little prayer angel.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Holding the Moon...

On our way home from my in-laws last night, my son looked out the car window and saw the full moon. He looked at it up in the sky and then at me and said, "hold it." I couldn't help but see the world through my 2 year old's eyes for that moment, that everything is within his reach and anything is possible. I hope that he always has that spirit and that my efforts of teaching him about God and the world around him fills him with even more wonder.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Backpack Fairy visits...

This is my inaugural post. Thank you for honoring me with your time as I write what's in my heart.

I am starting this blog in order to motivate me to be a more creative mother and to better educate myself and my family in their faith and love for Jesus.

So here goes...

While I am still grappling with the emotional toll of my son starting pre-school and whether or not I want to home school or not, I decided to put on a brave and fun face for him. I decided a fun thing to do at the advent of each school year, at home or not, would be to have the backpack fairy visit. He got a backpack with his name on it and I told him if he left it next to the fireplace the night before preschool started, the next morning he cold see if the backpack fairy had left him any surprises for the new school year. Sure enough, the backpack fairy visited our home, and she had filled his backpack with lots of goodies for learning.
He was very excited and has gone on to have 3 wonderful days at pre-school. I can't say the same for myself as I have become almost more convinced as I have furthered my reading about Catholic homeschooling that I can give him a better and more loving, faith-centered education at home.
So therefore my next few weeks will likely consist of me staying up way too late doing more research and ultimately in a couple months making a final decision, well final at least for two year old pre-school. Regardless of what decision I come to, I am committing now to be more active in bringing the Church's teachings into my home and following the example of other Catholic home educators and framing our daily lives around the Liturgical calendar and daily prayer. I don't know exactly how I am going to do this but I am going to take one step at a time and know God will lead me in the right direction.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

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