Friday, February 17, 2017

7-Quick Takes

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Join the other Quicktakers at This Ain't the Lyceum.

1. Every year at our homeschool co-op, the kids bring in bags or boxes and then everyone shares a Valentine Treat.  We opt to do something a little more crafty because everyone is kind of inundated with chocolate and goodies.  This year, we made Valentine's Day Bookmarks, and I think they turned out pretty nice.


2. Before I take it down this weekend, this is what our Valentine's Dining room looks like right now!  The organizers at the Pre-Cana Day let us take home the balloons and they have held up all week. Miss C. has enjoyed playing with them.

Valentine's decorations

3. We gave our annual Pre-Cana Day talk on Saturday. I always try to change up a few parts every year to keep it fresh.  This year I moved the part about getting ready for the wedding to the beginning of the talk, and Mr. Pete and I ad libbed a little towards the end.

4. A new part we added

5. Then that evening, we went to a homeschool dance and Mr. Pete got to dance with me, and his other girls.


6.  Since Noah got his driver's license, the laws have changed here in Ohio. Instead of requiring so many hours in a classroom setting, you can now take driving instruction online to prepare for the written exam. You still also need 8 hours behind the wheel with an instructor and a certain amount of time with a parent including 10 hours of night time driving.

New drivers license!

I have been putting this off for Isadora - partly because I'm concerned about having a daughter drive, and partly because I want her to be successful on the written exam.

But for a few years, it has been because I couldn't find her social security card!

In 2013, Mr. Pete took Gabe to get his driver's license and so they pulled his social security card out of our lock box.  A few moths later, Noah was ready to get his temps, but when I looked into the box, all of the social security cards and birth certificates were missing!

I was mortified. Some of those birth certificates, especially the one my mother got for me from New Mexico, would be very difficult to replace. But losing the social security cards was an even bigger deal.

It seems that little paper card is very important. You can't get a driver's license or state ID without it, but you need a driver's license or state ID to get a replacement!  It's crazy.

When I couldn't find Noah's, I did some quick research and discovered that they would indeed take a Baptismal Certificate to the social security office and they would accept that as proof of ID - so I rushed down to our parish to get his certificate and then over to the Social Security office to get a new card.

Anyone who has been at the Social Security office knows that it must be the vestibule to the our circle of hell. The seats are uncomfortable, and very institutional. There's no music, and the only art work on the wall is a portrait of the president. Let that sink in.

Anyway, we arrived at the SS office right when it opened but we were still 12th in line, which translated into a 40 minute wait.  When we got up there, the social security clerk already had an attitude. When I told her that we were there for a new card, and presented her with the baptismal certificate, she curtly told me.

"We don't take that."

I told her that according to the web site, they did.

Two minutes later, I had what he needed to get his temps with a written explanation that his new card would be coming in the mail.  The actual clerk never said, "Sorry," or "You were "right, or anything. She just processed the new card, which is what I needed her to do - but there was nothing friendly about it.

So I was DREADING going through that again with Izzy.

Last spring, my primary client took a month off and I used the extra time to clean up my business office. Lo and behold, the missing documents were in a manilla folder, on a shelf, covered with some other books. Mr. Pete says I put them in there, but I think in his haste to get Gabe's card, he just opened the lock box in my office and then put the envelope on the book case. It didn't take long for other things to get placed on top of it. That's the version of the story I'm sticking with!

7. I've been asked to perform in our parish's concert of the 7-Last Words of Christ by Dubois. 

The hardest part for an instrumentalist playing with a choral group is knowing when to come in!! Because 4 measures of rest in 4/4 time doesn't mean a strict 4 beats per measure - there are usual ritards and artistic pauses. So if you don't know the piece, it can be challenging. My solution to this is to listen to the CD until I know it all by heart. I also have the master score that I can look at so I can write lyrical cues in my part. It's going to be a little challenging, but I'm looking forward to it!

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

MDC Links of Interest

Adobe Spark (1)

A new fertility app for natural family planning.

The app, called Natural Cycles, was founded in Switzerland by Elina Berglund and her husband Raoul Scherwizl. They created the app as a way to go “beyond contraception,” and to “get to know your body and unique cycles,” according to their website.

“At Natural Cycles, we are all about combining scientific research and mobile tech to empower every woman worldwide with knowledge about her body, menstrual cycle and fertility.

Ben Shapiro on abortion and transgenderism

Dr. Ben Carson clearly and articulately talks about transgenderism. 

Our Lady of Fatima - why the 100 year anniversary matters!

According to legend, exactly 33 years (span of our Lord’s life) to the day prior to the great Miracle of the Sun in Fatima, that is, on October 13, 1884, Pope Leo XIII had a remarkable vision. When the aged Pontiff had finished celebrating Mass in his private Vatican Chapel, attended by a few Cardinals and members of the Vatican staff, he suddenly stopped at the foot of the altar. He stood there for about 10 minutes, as if in a trance, his face ashen white. Then, going immediately from the Chapel to his office, he composed the prayer to St. Michael, with instructions it be said after all Low Masses everywhere. When asked what had happened, he explained that, as he was about to leave the foot of the altar, he suddenly heard voices – two voices, one kind and gentle, the other guttural and harsh. They seemed to come from near the tabernacle. As he listened, he heard the following conversation:
The guttural voice, the voice of Satan in his pride, boasted to Our Lord: “I can destroy your Church.”
The gentle voice of Our Lord: “You can? Then go ahead and do so.”
Satan: “To do so, I need more time and more power.”
Our Lord: “How much time? How much power?”
Satan: “75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service.”
Our Lord: “You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will.”

Home School Graduates in College
In my pursuit to encourage homeschooling parents, I thought it would be interesting to get an idea of how homeschool graduates perform in college as experienced by the professors. I made an appeal to professors through Facebook posts, and with the responses that I received I’m going to give you some insight into what they’ve seen in homeschooled college students.AT ARE HOMESCHOOLED STUDENTS’ STRENGTHS IN COLLEGE CLASSES?
“Most are respectful of me as the instructor and of what I am trying to teach them. Most see the value in what I have to share with them rather than seeing my classes as something they “have to” take.”
“I teach English, and I have noticed most of the homeschool students I have had are better prepared for writing assignments than the typical public schooled student is. This is obviously related to the curriculum used at home, but I think most were still exposed to grammar and mechanics in their middle school years when most public schools don’t emphasize this as much in middle school.”
“Generally speaking it’s been my experience that homeschoolers take the assignments seriously and are willing to actually work on them, and to persist working on them until they’re finished. They are also not afraid to ask for help when it’s needed and/or to work with peers and/or adults. They are also much more respectful.”
“Although home schooled students’ abilities are varied, my impression is that homeschooled students generally have good reading skills, can think critically, solve problems, and have independent ideas. They seem to be good at project based learning as well. In general, their effort and work ethic is better than average. They seem eager to learn. I have had a 16-year-old homeschooler that never had any science class before in my plant biology class (for biology majors) that was by far the best student in the class.”
“Homeschooled students have several strengths. Academically, they are more prepared for college studies. They have better English skills than government educated students, in terms of both spelling and grammar skills. They communicate better both written and orally. They are also better prepared mathematically. There seems to be a big difference between homeschooled and government educated students in both attitude and perspective. Homeschooled students are less likely to expect things to be given to them for little effort. They also tend to be more respectful, mature, and open-minded.”
“In my experience, homeschooled students are hard-working, polite, engaged students. They are not afraid to ask questions and engage with the instructor.”
“They usually can read the text and gather information from it.”
Pertussis Microbe Outsmarts Vaccines!

In brief
  • FACT: Both the reactive whole cell DPT vaccine licensed 1949 and the less toxic acellular DTaP vaccine licensed in 1996 do not prevent infection or transmission, and only provide two to five years of temporary immunity at best;
  • FACT : Millions of vaccinated children and adults are silently infected with pertussis in the U.S. every year and show few or no symptoms but spread whooping cough to vaccinated and unvaccinated children - without doctors identifying or reporting cases to the government;
  • FACT : In response to mass pertussis vaccination campaigns beginning in the 1950s, the B. pertussis microbe evolved to evade both whole cell and acellular pertussis vaccines, creating new strains producing more toxin to suppress immune function and cause more serious disease.
Now, here is the rest of the story in more detail:

How I Doula as a SAHM Mom of 5

About five years ago, I became certified as a birth doula. It's a challenging, rewarding, difficult, and amazing gift to be able to do it. I wasn't sure when I first started the training where it would lead but I felt like God was leading me there so I stepped out and started. I've learned and changed so much since starting. Since then, I've been asked lots of times how I make the whole birth doula work when I'm a homeschooling mom of five little people, some just curious and some wondering if they could do it themselves. There is a huge need for all types of legit doulas (birth, postpartum, and bereavement), especially women of faith. I truly believe that building a culture of life includes real tangible support for mothers during pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and through loss. I'd encourage any woman who's feeling a little nudge to pray and see if it would work for her and her family, even on a limited basis. If it truly is God's will, He'll work out the details.

First, I guess I should share a quick basic summary of the nuts and bolts I provide for official clients:
1 free interview, 2 prenatal meetings, 24/7 on call availability from 37 weeks on, email/phone support anytime during pregnancy, physical/emotional/informational/spiritual support from active labor until 1-2 hours after birth, 1 postpartum follow up meeting

So, how do I do that as a homeschooling, stay at home mom to 5 littles?

Rosie art.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

5 Personal Habits Every Catholic Homeschooling Mom Should Develop

Since I inadvertently discovered that I am the longest running- homeschooling mom in our homeschool (or at least among the members of our group that showed up for the family dinner dance last weekend!) I've been trying to figure out what I've done over the past two decades that has kept us going as a family, and me individually as a person!  These are my top 5!

1.  You know that bible verse that goes, "Train up a Child in the Way he should go, and when he gets old he will not depart from it?"  I think that goes for housework too.  From an early age, I tried to get my kids to start taking care of their own stuff AND help with the family stuff. The best part of that is that as they became more and more responsible for their stuff, my responsibilities became much lighter!  The payoff came in having adult children that know how to care for their own apartments, cook nutritious meals and can do their own laundry without ruining it!  The additional bonus is that the kids who are still at home can prepare meals and clean up after themselves with very little help from me!  Which is great because I can pursue other things - like blogging!

Noah, mixing up meat loaf!

2. Working out.  When the kids were really little, I used to haul them all to Jazzercise a couple of times a week where they stayed with the babysitter and I got to exercise and dance for an hour. We did that for about 13 years until my older kids were too busy and I needed to find a different way to exercise that didn't cost so much. That's when I took up walking and/or exercise videos in my basement. Just MOVING once a day has saved my mental health, but has I have gotten older I also think it has helped me keep my mobility, flexibility, and strength. In the summer I walk while the kids are at cross country practice. In the winter, I workout in my basement before the family gets up - it's not the funnest thing to do, but once I get going, I'm glad I did.

Mom walking

3. Learning new things. I think the one thing that scares homeschoolers from teaching high school is the fear of learning new things. It can be tough, but I think it's important to be willing to learn new things. I wanted to understand more about Logic, so I volunteered to teach it this semester at our homeschool co-op. Last year, I proofread all of Noah's World History papers and sat in on his lectures. I've also had to upgrade my computer systems and learn new skills from Google Docs to the latest version of Word.  These types of things keep my homeschooling life interesting! and it gives a good example to the children about the importance of lifelong learning.

4.  Prayer time - not always easy to carve out of the day when there are meals to get, lessons to teach, and a house to run.  It used to be easy for me to sit and nurse a baby and pray while the baby was nursing and napping. I think the only way to really give it justice now is to simply get up a little earlier and just do it.  I also have little check-ins with the Lord during the day, to say thanks for small blessings, or to ask for help. If I can get prayer time in first, and then exercise, all before the family gets up, then I'm having a good day.

january 2015 004

5.  So along those lines, it's important to get enough sleep. I would love to stay up late and watch movies or play on the internet. Having little babies to nurse at night was a good excuse to do either or both of those things!!  But since those days are over, it's time to embrace this time of life and try to get at least a solid seven hours in - so most nights that's bedtime at 10 p.m. for me!!

Sleeping Sisters

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Simple Woman

Outside my window...


Our neighbor has kept her Christmas lights up, so we keep the one on our tree up too.  I caught a glimpse of it from Rosie's window last week and thought I should get a picture of it.  My plan is to make the tree go dark on Ash Wednesday.

I am thinking...

about our Pre-Cana talk. I was really anxious about giving it this year, so I asked for prayers on my Facebook Page.  They must've "took!" because I thought Mr. Pete and I were very relaxed and we had four individuals come up to us after the talk for questions or to say they enjoyed it - that usually means they enjoyed it.  This year's talk is available here. 

I am thankful...
that it's over! Now I can concentrate on preparing for my Logic Class this week and also learning my part for the 7 Last Words of Christ by Dubois.

I am pondering...
two things that happened over the weekend to remind me of my age.

  • At 37 1/2 Mr. Pete and I remain the longest married couple on our pre-cana team. No other couple comes close.
  • At a homeschool dance over the weekend, we won for longest homeschooling couple at 22 years. 
What blows my mind is that I still have clear recollections of being the newlywed and being the newbie homeschooler - so how could I now be the longest running in both of these categories at least in these two groups? 

I am hearing...
A recording of Let There Be Peace on Earth that we did at a prayer service on Sunday. I play the opening on Flute, Pete is one of the basses, and my friends in the PeaceTogether Choir sang this hymn beautifully.

Let There Be Peace on Earth. Also here

In the kitchen...
Turkey wraps, Spaghetti and Turkey stew are on the menu for this week!

I am wearing...


This dress from Woman Within.  It was black thermal, very comfortable and just perfect for giving a talk and then going dancing with my Valentine!

I am going...

One of my favorite things...
When we were watching The Best of I Love Lucy on Amazon this past month, I noticed that whoever picked the episodes avoided most of the night club numbers!!  And I thought that was a real shame. So we found all six seasons at the library and have started over watching the ones we missed with season 1.

The girls absolutely loved this version of Cuban Pete!

I am reading...
Jimmy Akin has lost over 100 pounds.   He did it by low carb, high fat dieting and intermittent fasting. So I am willing to give this fasting thing a try. I have already been cutting down to two meals a day with limited snacks, but I want to learn more about it. This is the book Jimmy recommended.

Good book, but really, really strong liberal bias.

I am teaching the class for co-op next semester.

From the Learning Rooms...

    Adobe Spark

    Reading and English list via Bravewriter and other sources

    Prairie Primer  - Starting the Shores of Silver Lake this week.
    Saxon Math Grade 6
    Exploring Creation with Botany
    Trail Guide to Bible Geography
    Art with Miss Lucia 
    Children’s Choir at Oaks of Righteousness Co-Op and Parish choir
    Drama - at co-op   A Flintlock in this year's production of Peter Pan!

    Isadora: Senior year!

    A variety of literature books -Sense and Sensibility. 
    British History
    Switched on School House British Literature
    Diane Craft Reading Program
    Art Studies at Akrona Art
    Parish Choir St. Sebastians
    Spelling U See Per Dr. Holinga
    Saturday Soccer League

    A quote to share...

    Let your 'Yes' mean 'Yes,' and your 'No' mean 'No.'
    Anything more is from the evil one."

    Matthew 5:17

    A picture to share...

    Ready for Valentine's Day!
    january2017 081


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    Monday, February 13, 2017

    Our Pre-Cana Talk 2017

    Our pre-cana talk- Marriage as a Sacrament is up on Youtube. We gave it on Saturday afternoon. I think it went pretty well. We felt comfortable, the crowd was responsive, and we each had two people come up to us afterwards to talk - those were all good signs.

    You can see the whole thing below.

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    Saturday, February 11, 2017

    Our Lady of Lourdes

    The Sick come to Our Lady of Lourdes
    Father Lawrence Lew, OP via Flickr, licensed cc
     In 1858, a 14-year-old girl named Bernadette Soubirous, started seeing a beautiful lady near her hometown of Lourdes in southern France.  Bernadette said the lady wore white, with a blue girdle and golden roses on her feet and a pearl rosary.

    The lady visited Benadette in this out-of-the-way grotto 18 times and referred to herself as "The Immaculate Conception." During one of their visits she had Bernadette dig in the mud and a miraculous spring of water came forth. Many have been cured from the waters of this spring ever since.

    I have always loved that story and I have told my kids and my husband, if it ever gets to the point that I require extraordinary medical procedures to stay alive- I'd rather take a trip to France and see Lourdes!! Even if I don't get a cure at least I'll have made one last pilgrimage to a place I've always imagined!

    Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Bernadette.

    But here's the next best thing - Web Cam - Live from Lourdes France!
    You can place a petition and  have a candle lit at the grotto!

    The Story of Our Lady of Lourdes in French   and in English.

    In years past the kids and I have watchedSong of Bernadette."  Available on Netflix DVD or Amazon!

     I know it made an impression on them because they have brought up parts of the movie in the past. The poverty of the Soubirous family was very striking. Two of our favorite scenes - Bernadette digging the spring at Lourdes, and at the end when her terrible suffering is revealed just before she dies - that part always gets me!

    This site is pretty neat. It talks about Lourdes and about the incorruptible body of St. Bernadette with pictures!

    This is an approved apparition in the church.  You can read Pope Pius's Encyclical on Lourdes for yourself.
    Pius XII Encyclical on lourdes
    Le pape Pie XII à écrit une encyclique sur Lourdes pour le centenaire des apparitions

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