Thursday, August 26, 2010

A New School Year

Our school year has gotten off to an AMAZING start! (I can only hope our entire year goes so well!) I think the thing that is helping the most is my fabulous planner. I make my own in Excel; because our homeschooling schedule is not traditional (we school Thursday through Sunday), I started making my own a couple of years ago. Also included in my planner are tentative schedules for Casey and Will and my plan for history (SOTW 3 and "From Sea to Shining Sea"). So far, the hours I spend planning everything out are paying off!

We started this school year on July 30. Casey is in third grade, Will is in first, Tricky is in PreK 3/4, and Chaucer is... well, he's everywhere.

Chemistry is the science choice for the YEAR - a whole year on one subject, help me. We started off with an experiment - making ice cream. I remember making ice cream in my high school chemistry class using milk, salt, and a baby jar. The high school ice cream experiment was a flavorless (save for all the salt) disaster. Homeschool ice cream, on the other hand, was SOOOO very good (especially considering it was 97 degrees that day).
Chemistry is brought to Gratia Plena Academia by Elemental Science.

History has been fun, too! We're using Story of the World 3 and From Sea to Shining Sea - along with 10 weeks of the American Revolution for Kids - for the spines. I also have a TON for independent reading for Casey (and a few for Will, too). This weekend we're discussing King James I, Guy Fawkes, Jamestown, Pocahontas, and John Smith. I've planned some great field trips this year - hopefully we'll even make it to Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Roanoke Island before this school year is over!

Will was initially very excited about all of his school books - he has a significantly higher number of workbooks for first grade than he did last year. Notice, I said "was... excited." Reality set in quickly - he now realizes with all those new workbooks comes more work!

Tricky is excited to be working along side her brother and sister - but also enjoying the freedom she has to go play after working for a short while.

Chaucer is (as I said before) everywhere - crawling, standing, grabbing, squealing, eating, and playing. I love it!

As for extracurriculars, Casey and Will are both taking piano, voice lessons, and karate. Fun!

Friday, July 30, 2010

SOTW & Nettflix


I decided to make a list of movies compatible with Story of the World. So far, I've only made lists for Volumes 1 through 3. This isn't a list of every movie/documentary out there. Instead, I tried to focus on options that are available to Watch Instantly (as I'm TERRIBLE about remembering to put movies on my queue in time for us to watch them when we're studying a particular topic). Unfortunately, most of what I have listed are not available in the Watch Instantly format.

On the chart, I've listed the title of the movie/documentary; the corresponding SOTW book and chapter; a code to denote whether it is a documentary or, if not, then a MPAA rating; and whether the movie is available on Watch Instantly.

I hope this list is of use or value to someone!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

iPad Apps for Homeschoolers

I've been searching online for an article like this and, having been disappointed with what I've found thus far, decided to write my own.

[Disclaimer: I am not putting educational apps here; that's a post for another day. I am merely attempting to detail some apps I use (or in theory could use) to make homeschooling a bit easier.]

[Another disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation or offers from any developer of these apps; I just think they're useful and thought I would share!]

Cost: FREE (with subscription to Netflix)
We LOVE Netflix! And I love it even more now that it's conveniently located by app on my iPad. I can't begin to count the number of documentaries and movies we've watched to supplement subjects we've covered! Netflix is definitely a must-have app!

Atomic Web Browser
Cost: FREE for lite version; $1.99 for full version
Safari is okay, but this is a superior iPad web browser. One important difference between this browser and Safari is that in a window with multiple columns, you can actually see all of the columns with AWB. (There are a couple of legal research sites I use where this is of particular importance for me.) With the lite version, one can have 4 (I think) web tabs open, but the full version allows more. The full version also allows you to open the browser to the last page or session you had open or to a home page you specify. Think of AWB as the Firefox of iPad browsers. [And at $1.99, the full version is worth buying!] By the way, I had to contact the developer to ask a technical question about the app. I got a response in about 10 minutes and my question was answered!
Cost: FREE
This app helps you keep your finances in check. The iPad version only lets you know your account balances and your budget info. You have to manage your information on the website. On the website, you can load up your bank accounts, credit card accounts, etc. You can also set up budgets and will automatically categorize your spending - although, you may need to do some manual tweeking. The only drawback I've found so far is that I have to manually update my account balances. And don't worry, it is secure - you can read all about the security on the website. Okay, this may not be DIRECTLY related to homeschooling - but if you set up a homeschooling budget, it may curb the need to buy EVERY bit of curriculum out there!

iDo - Notepad
Cost: FREE
Okay, I haven't used this extensively, yet ... However, I can see some practical uses especially with making To Do lists - since the app provides you with the ability to prioritize. The app also has a calendar function.

My Library
Cost: $4.99
This is one of my absolute favorites. I have it on my iPad just as a reference - where I REALLY use it is on my iPhone. My Library gives you the ability to scan the ISBN numbers on your books (okay, you may have to get an additional app, Red Laser [I believe] to have the scanning ability, but it is SO worth it). Once the number is recognized, you'll have the title, author, and genre - many books also have a picture of the cover and a brief description of the book. I love having this app - I've catalogued most of the homeschooling books I have in our school room. It's saved me from making a couple of duplicate purchases!

Craft Finder
Cost: FREE
Sponsored by Disney's Family Fun magazine, you can search for crafts to do with the kids (searching can be performed by age group, time you have for the craft, and/or occasion for the craft).

Cost: FREE
I prefer the layout of this to the Wikipedia app. This app provides access to Wikipedia complete with the same information you would find at Wikipedia, they layout is just a bit easier to read, the information on each entry easier to sort through, and the searching a bit more user friendly.

Cost: FREE
Allows you to view your Google docs or create new documents in text document, spreadsheet, sound, or paint format. Fabulous... and free!

So, this hasn't by any stretch of the imagination been an exhaustive list (or even an exhaustive review), but I hope it gives you a bit of an idea of the tools available for use for the iPad homeschooler!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Our Day at Home

The kids and I stayed at home today. The first day I haven't gone somewhere in at least 2 weeks. It was nice - and we got so much accomplished!

For starters, we got quite a bit of school done (yes, we go year-round at our house - we only school 4 days per week during the "school year" so, I have to go all year long). I also did A LOT of laundry today - WOOT!

Baby food was a priority for the day as well... making it, that is. Until Chaucer, I never made baby food (outside of mashing up some bananas, that is). I decided this time I wanted to try my hand at the fine art of pureeing. [For all my hard work stocking food for this child, he is resistant to eating. I put a bite in, he holds his mouth open... for several minutes, until it drools out of his mouth. But that's another story for another blog post.] I made acorn squash, sweet potatoes, and pears. (Pretty good for a self-professing vegetable hater like myself!)

I also made... COOKIES. HUGE chocolate chip cookies. [Thanks, Michele, for the cookbook, the baking emulsion, and filling me in on the joys of King Arthur flour!] How huge? Each cookie consists of 1/4 cup cookie dough.

And, by the way, they're delicious!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Baby Stuff - Gear and Wear

Wow! It's been a while since I've blogged! I've been meaning to pop online and write a blog on this topic for a while. The reason for my delay? I had to put pictures on my computer, but before I could do that, I had to archive the old stuff. And now that those tasks are done...

I have tried all sorts of carriers and slings, but I decided I wanted to try something new this go-around. I researched and researched, and found myself with my heart set on getting a mei-tai carrier. A mei-tai carrier (pronounced "may tie" I believe) was, traditionally, a Chinese carrier made of a square of cloth with straps coming off each corner. The modern version features padded straps and reversible sides (for two fashionable views). The baby can be worn on the front, side, or back, and is AWESOME for wearing a breastfeeding baby! If you're interested in how the mei-tai carrier works, there are many "how to" videos on YouTube.

There are some great makers of mei-tai carriers out there, but I settled on Dittany Baby. Dittany Baby stocks a number of baby items - from sling carriers to nursing covers! I found a beautiful mei-tai carrier in the fabric pattern Enchanted.

The baby and I LOVE this carrier. It's very easy on the back and shoulders - I've worn him for hours without pain. The trick is to wear the shoulder straps on the balls of your shoulders. Because there are no buckles or plastic attachments, this type of carrier is tied on. Naturally, knots adjust and become tighter with weight and time, so some adjustment (in the form of retying) may be necessary. However, it's very easy to retie.

While I was perusing the Dittany Baby site, I also found Skid Pants. Maybe you've heard of Baby Legs? Essentially Skid Pants are the same thing... leggings for babies and children. For babies, simply put the baby in a onesie then slide each legging on a leg. Too cute!

Thanks, Dittany Baby, for beautiful, quality baby items!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mommy Pants

I recently came to the realization that I have different wardrobe selections depending on what is going on in my life. I suppose this follows for most, but I thought I would share my revelation nonetheless.

Richard and I went to a function on a Thursday night where other attorneys and judges were in attendance. The function began at 6:00 p.m., so many of these attorneys and judges had just left the office (or the courtroom). I, however, had been with the children all day and didn't feel the need to escape my "at home/weekend" wardrobe. Of course, I wore clean clothes, but I had already put my 3-day work week behind me and didn't feel the need to don dress pants or a suit. Once Richard and I arrived, I felt a bit out of place. My colleagues, or the better part of them, were wearing black or navy blue suits. Not me! I had on a decent pull-over blouse (I try not to even wear clothes that button up if I've been breastfeeding during the day) and my mommy pants (these particular pants were pink). No one said anything to me, but I did hear a woman commenting on an attorney's guest's interesting skirt and felt sure that she would soon turn her points of criticism to my pants.

Obviously, I can't say that I don't care - I mean, I'm blogging about it, for crying out loud! But I am secure in my excuse. I had been happily attending my sweet ones all day until the moment came for me to leave them with their Nonnie and re-enter the world of my legal profession.

However, instead of dressing the part... I proudly wore my mommy pants!

Monday, May 3, 2010

What We've Been Up To...

It seems as thought we've been on the go for the past several weekends - not to mention all of the ground we've covered in school. Where to begin?

A few weeks ago, we went on our first camping trip of the year. Yes, the wee one went, too - and loved it! Despite the temp dropping to 45 degrees that night, the kids and I stayed cozy in our tent, sandwiched between two down comforters. I didn't even wear socks! Richard wanted to test the warmth of his mummy bag beneath the stars.

Three weekends ago, we drove out to Louisiana to enjoy the wedding of Richard's cousin. During our stay, we visited Starr Homeplace - the family's home was built by the owner's father over the course of 30 years. It was a beautiful home. There was also a barn, a music house, some out buildings (an outhouse, a store), a garden, and two ponds. They were having a hammer in - blacksmiths showing their trade. We had a wonderful time!

Two weekends ago, we went with another family to the Georgia Renaissance Festival. I would say it was an appropriate field trip given our study over the course of this school year of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Appropriate since they have a smattering of things from both the Renaissance AND the Middle Ages. It also seems, given the costumes we saw, that anything old (pirates, antebellum era) or mythical (fairies, hobbits) also belonged. Oh! And shame on you if you didn't bring your worst British accent!

Last weekend, the baby and I started an infant massage class. We've both enjoyed it - and best of all, it's FREE! Free and fun are always a good combination.

On Saturday of this weekend, our family braved the Atlanta traffic to visit the High Museum of Art's Allure of the Automobile exhibit. I'm not into cars by any stretch of the imagination, but I thought this exhibit was fabulous! Among the several cars shown was Clark Gable's 1935 Duesenberg. The car looked like butter. No, really.

In addition to our fun outside the home, we've enjoyed ourselves at home, too. We've begun our Rocks and Minerals study - and during our discussion of dirt and sediments, we sampled a dirt cake. (School is always better when you can make a lesson out of something sweet to eat!) We've also started a Nature Study (using Anna Comstock's book) and put on our gardening gloves to make a wildflower bed and grow some herbs.

I've been busy purchasing books and planning for the next school year - and still trying to figure out where to put all of these new books!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fashion Friday - First Time, Potentially Last Time

I am unabashedly swiping this idea from another blog - the idea of Fashion Friday. [By the way, I used the word "unabashedly." I thought I was using it correctly, but - being the perfectionist I can be at times - decided to look it online up just to make sure. The first definition pulled up, " an unabashed manner." Uhhh... Didn't that website's mommy (or English teacher) ever tell it not to define a word with the same word?] Getting back on track... I doubt that this will become a regular entry for me as I'm not "into" fashion so much as I am "into" being comfortable - and oft times, fashion is sacrificed for comfort. Also, I don't buy clothes for myself very often - I've got four rapidly growing children, so their clothing needs take priority. Nonetheless, here I am, awake at 12:30 a.m. because I'm wondering if my husband and two of my children are freezing to death on the Appalachian Trail - on Blood Mountain (nice name especially considering my worries), so I'll participate in Fashion Friday.

In my neck of the woods, it's consignment sale season and two are going on within minutes of my house. Although I did find a few cute little numbers for the kids, I found even more clothes which were stained, faded, missing buttons, or were WAY overpriced. Here's a hint when you're consigning items: See what the same or similar items are going for on Ebay - not what the seller is selling the item for, but what people are actually paying for the item. I saw the ugliest, faded, stained dress priced at $8. Hello? I wouldn't buy that dress for $8 brand-spanking new - and I'd be surprised if someone pays $4 for it when the prices are discounted tomorrow[today?] afternoon at the half-price sale! (I should have taken a picture of it. Oh well, another Kodak moment lost, I suppose.)

I also went shopping with my mother (and a 3 year old and a 3 month old) to find something to wear for Easter and to a wedding the following weekend. I would love to have a new dress, but I am breastfeeding, therefore dresses are out. So is anything made of a silky, satiny sort of material - one drop of milk and I'll be spotty for the day (there's no way of hiding a liquid spill on shiny material, so I'm not risking it). Button-up blouses are also out - I would have to wear it untucked, not to mention that it's hard to be discreet when you're unbuttoning a blouse. (Granted, I've done it, do it, and will do it in the future; however, for a wedding and Mass on the most important holy day of the year, I'll pass on the under-the-receiving-blanket strip show witnessed only by my nursing baby... and anyone who catches a glimpse of me struggling with a button blouse and said blanket.) After searching for a while (well, 30 minutes, but shopping with the obstacles I had today wasn't as fun as it could be so the 30 minutes seemed VERY long), I settled on a skirt and blouse [sans buttons]. I think my mom liked the skirt better than I did, but her excitement for it convinced me I wore it well, so I got it. The ensemble wasn't cheap, but fortunately, it was on sale and... [drumroll, please] mom had her store card and a coupon for an extra 20% off. I got a SWEET deal on my Easter/wedding outfit.

Lucky for me, I have the perfect pair of pink crocs to go with my new outfit. [I am kidding. Seriously.]

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday 3/24/2010

Something new...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

It snowed for 12 hours yesterday!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Woes of Clean Clothes!

Now that the baby is here, I'm struggling to keep up with the laundry. I'm failing miserably. I remember a time when I could see the bottom of any given laundry basket in the house. Those days have come and gone.

I feel as though I have to do laundry every day. If I "take a day off," I pay for it later. I try to do at least a load a day - and several loads on Fridays and Saturdays. I also do the easy loads (linens) on the days I work - "easy" because they are easy to gather, easy to sort, easy to wash and dry, easy to fold and put away.... easy. I also do one load of baby laundry on one of the days I work.

Essentially, the laundry breaks down like this (keep in mind, we don't have a front-loading or extra large capacity washer):
2 loads of baby laundry (with some kid stuff mixed in)
4 loads of kid laundry
4 loads of adult laundry
3 loads of towels
2 loads of sheets, blankets, table linens

... per week. And that's a normal week. However, out of the ordinary events occur cause more laundry; events such as catastrophic spills, basement flooding, snow adventure clothes, etc.

See? There's a reason I don't use cloth diapers... the only thing that would be clean would be the diapers!

Recently, I started a thread on a board where I post occasionally. I asked the moms there how many loads of laundry they wash in a week - and with that, I wanted to know the number of people in their household and what kind of washer they have. I was astonished by several of the responses... not because they wash vast amounts of clothing, but in fact, quite the opposite. Two moms with families of 4 posted that they only do 3-4 loads per week. PER WEEK?! How??? Another mom, with a family of 5, posted that she does THREE loads of laundry a week. WHAT?! Some of these low-load moms said that their families re-wear clothes - or they only wash clothes if they are "dirty." Hello? In my (not so) humble opinion, if someone wears something on their body for 6 - 8 hours or longer, it's dirty. With the exception of jammies. Actually, I would probably have to add one more load to the kid count if they didn't wear their jammies two nights in a row (something I started once the baby joined us).

I don't know... maybe it's because I have a couple of accident-prone-messy-eater children; maybe it's because I have a seven year old daughter who likes to wear a different outfit every day; maybe it's because I like my clothes to feel fresh and, well, clean. We do reuse towels - we each use 2 towels a week. [That's another thing - some of the moms posting said that each person in their house only gets one towel a week. Ick. Maybe it's a bit more humid here than where that mom lives - I can't imagine the mildew smell coming from a bath towel after using it every day for a week. For that matter, I also can't imagine the mildew smell my hair would have!] Sheets are (supposed to be) changed every other week. Table linens are changed weekly. With that, there is no way we could have a mere 4-5 loads per week.

I've also gotten smart and realize that my children can help with this daunting task. For now, all they have to do is put away their clothes. Beside the washer and dryer, I have a plastic 4-drawer cart - one drawer per kid. Whenever I wash their clothes, I fold them and place them into each child's particular drawer. Every day they check their drawer and put away any clothes that have accumulated. Before too long, I'll start the older two folding their clothes... maybe I'll teach them that today! (Who says education should only come from books?!)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Our 4-day week switch...

My maternity leave ended 3 weeks ago. I was sad to leave my children - and cried over leaving my little man, but my co-workers and boss received me with open arms and told me how much I had been missed. The kids have a new nanny and they absolutely adore her! However, the nanny's other part-time job and my part-time job schedules didn't mesh perfectly, so we were able to make some changes. So, beginning tomorrow, the homeschooling schedule will be Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I'll go to the office Monday through Wednesday. I'm so happy the nanny and I were able to work out a schedule and I can keep my four-day weekends!

During my maternity leave, I took Will and Tricky out of their preschool/daycare, knowing that once the baby was born, all of the children would be cared for by one person on my work days. I had to purchase some books for Tricky and some additional materials for Will. [By the way, did you know Rainbow Resource has bargain books now?!]

I've started an Art History study with the kids. So far we've learned about Botticelli and Leonardo DaVinci. (Unfortunately, we missed the DaVinci exhibit at the museum.) I think I'm learning as much as the children. For example, I knew DaVinci was an amazing artist and inventor, too. He was also a scientist, botanist, anatomist, musician, mathematician, and from what I've read, handsome, too. A Renaissance man in the Renaissance - they don't make 'em like that anymore!

I've started will on Explode the Code 1. He actually enjoys the worksheets immensely! (His big sister HATED Explode the Code!) Hopefully, he'll continue to enjoy it... hey! I can dream, can't I?

Tricky is hard at work learning to spell her name, singing our Address song (a tune I made up so that the kids can learn our address and phone number... I made it up when Casey was 2), learning the letters and sounds, and (as she likes to say) tracing the lines. The Rod & Staff books I bought are wonderful - and Tricky loves doing work with her big sister and brother!

Casey and Will are also progressing nicely with their piano and voice lessons. Recently, they participated in the National Federation of Music Clubs festival. Casey sang The Lord is Good to Me and Sing, and played two pieces on the piano; while Will sang Mickey Mouse March and Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Both received Superior ratings for their performances!

As for Chaucer... he's smiling and cooing (or saying "good" if you ask Richard). He also discovered his hands a few days ago! I'm sure finding his hands is "good" if you ask him!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Milk Alternatives

I have discovered, during the course of breastfeeding my babies, that they don't appreciate my love of cow's milk. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE milk - the thick, creamy, 4% milk fat (i.e., whole) milk. I love it in my cereal, I love it with meals, I love it with cookies. I love it in a 12 ounce glass, 34 degrees Fahrenheit, on a hot day or a freezing day. I love the stuff - you get my point!

I usually notice by my baby's second week of life that dairy is going to be an issue for a while. The baby starts passing a lot of gas, then starts crying, screaming, straining while passing that gas. Some people would call it colic. I recognize it as a milk intolerance - from what I understand, a baby's intestines aren't mature enough to process certain proteins found in dairy products until the baby is about 4 months old.

With my oldest child, I gave up milk for 4 months. I tried lactose-free milk (not realizing at the time that this intolerance had nothing to do with lactose). Lactose-free milk was a horrible substitute - not only did it not solve the problem, but milk with the milk sugars removed and other sugars added is not tasty to a whole-milk addict such as myself.

With my oldest son, I had to give up milk again. Again, for 4 months. I tried goat's milk. I kept having visions of that scene in "Monsters, Inc." where the Abominable Snowman tells Sully and Mike that he has fresh yak's milk - and it's not too bad after you pick the hairs out. Needless to say, I couldn't drink the stuff.

When Tricky was breastfeeding, I didn't try any substitutes. I gave up milk for 3 1/2 months and slowly reintroduced it into my diet.

I've again given up milk for Chaucer. However, I had to find a substitute. I tried soy milk, but his fitful gassiness didn't disappear. [I read that, while some mothers can substitute soy, there are babies with an intolerance to the soy proteins.] A friend suggested I try almond milk.

THAT'S IT!!! The original is fabulous! A slight almond taste (very slight), no aftertaste, thick (albeit, not quite as thick as whole milk), fewer calories, great in cereal or with a meal. The vanilla flavor is tasty, too, but only with certain things... I drink it with cookies or put it in my oatmeal.

Yes, almond milk... a viable substitute for a milkaholic.

The only problem... Starbucks doesn't have it. I have discovered that a white chocolate mocha with soy isn't too bad!

EDITED TO ADD: Fortunately, none of my children have milk/dairy allergies. For my kids, this milk intolerance seems to last only for the first 3-4 months of life, just long enough for their intestines to mature enough to properly digest the milk enzymes.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Day Inside

After hearing my children argue, fuss, whine, and fight over practically everything, I decided to make some fun for them.

S'mores in a Bag: A Failure
The first thing we tried was S'mores in a bag. A recipe I found in a magazine received in the mail a couple of days ago, it offered a substitute for that favorite campfire treat. In short, you put some graham cracker crumbs, marshmallow creme, and chocolate chips in a resealable sandwich bag; knead to mix; and eat. But that isn't exactly what happened. The marshmallow creme stuck to the inside of the bag while most of the crumbs and chocolate chips went to the bottom. Lesson learned? S'mores in a bag = mess.

Inside S'mores: A Success Story
So, after discovering the folly of that particular recipe, I decided to try my own concoction. Take half of a graham cracker, spread on a tablespoon-size dollop of marshmallow creme, and top with a generous sprinkling of chocolate chips.

Living Room Obstacle Course: Friendly Competition
Once the kids were hyped up on sugar, I thought they needed some way to burn off that new-found energy, but it was sleeting and raining outside. What to do? An obstacle course! One-at-a-time, the children had to don a pair of my shoes, pick up a small ball, crawl over a chair (while wearing the shoes and carrying the ball - wearing the shoes while climbing the chair proved to be quite a challenge for them),

move beads from one side of a toy to the other, jump in a hula hoop, crawl under the coffee table,

jump in another hula hoop, put a blanket on their head, and throw the ball in a potty chair (it has never been used, by the way).

I timed them, then they tried to beat each others' times and better their own time. It was quite fun for them.
Casey: 58 seconds, her best time
Will: 1 min. 8 sec., his best time
Tricky: 2 min. 5 sec., her best time

Obstacle Course for Me: More Difficult than Expected
So... I tried it! It went pretty well at first - I mean, the shoes were mine, so that wasn't a problem. No, the problem was the coffee table. I had to crawl commando-style and I thought my hips were going to get stuck and my husband would come home to find me trapped under the coffee table. I managed to shimmy out only to miss the potty 5 times before the ball finally went in (Tricky got it in on her first try).
Me: 1 min. 10 sec, not bad

[No pictures of my foray into the obstacle course, thank goodness!]

Friday, January 15, 2010

Becket Gets Wet!

Becket will be baptized on Sunday morning. I'm excited! There is also a certain level of relief I feel knowing my child will have the grace of God.

Part of our homeschooling this week has been spent focusing on Becket's baptism, the other children's baptisms, and what it means to us, as Catholics, to be baptized. Fortunately, several months ago, I received a set of children's books for review from the Catholic Company.

The set is called "It's in the Bag!" In the bag (a very cute little canvas bag) are seven books, each focusing on one of the seven sacraments. What I love about these books is that they aren't given plain titles such as "Baptism" or "Marriage." They're given very cute, even witty titles:

  • Noah Gets Wet! A Story Celebrating Baptism
  • John's Special Sunday! A Story Celebrating Holy Communion
  • Betty Says, "I'm Sorry!" A Story Celebrating Reconciliation
  • Cousin Kim's Big Day! A Story Celebrating Confirmation
  • Nana and Papa's Special Promise: A Story Celebrating Matrimony
  • The Boy's Special Dinner Guest! A Story Celebrating Holy Orders
  • Grandpa Gets Oily! A Story Celebrating Anointing of the Sick
All of the books were written by Doug Brummel and illustrated by Jennifer Brummel & the Brummel Kids. The books can be purchased for either gender - you can get the Three Sisters or the Three Brothers; I received a mix of both.

Also in the bag is a Go Fish! card game featuring the Sacraments and a prayer card.

I love this set - as do the children! And, we're all looking forward to Becket getting wet on Sunday!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This is why my house is a wreck...

Song for a Fifth Child

Mother, oh mother, come shake out your cloth!

Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,

Hang out the washing and butter the bread,

Sew on a button and make up a bed.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?

She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking!

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue

(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

Dishes are waiting and bills are past due

(Pat- a- cake, darling and peek, peekaboo).

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew

And out in the yard and there’s a hullabaloo

But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.

Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?

(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,

But children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.

So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.

I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Saturday, January 9, 2010

What's in YOUR bag?

We're venturing out as a family of 6 tomorrow. (Actually, we've already taken 2 trips as a family of 6 already, but both were to the pediatrician's office.) I've spent the better part of the last hour making sure my diaper bag has the things I probably shouldn't be without. So, I decided that I would post the items in my diaper bag. [A little useless information never hurt anyone, right?]

Here we go...

Contents of My Diaper Bag

[First of all, let me begin by stating that all of my diaper bags - I suppose I'm up to 4 or 5 by now - are backpacks. Backpacks allow me to stash everything on my back, Sherpa-style, and have my hands and arms free to wrangle children while not whapping them in the head with a shoulder-strap-style diaper bag.]

Black leather backpack
Weight: 10.6 lbs when loaded with the following contents:

* 3 Size 4 diapers for Tricky (we decided to wait until she's used to Chaucer before potty training)
* 5 newborn diapers
* diaper holder (the small floral bag in the picture)
* Kirkland wipes (love these wipes; love the packaging even more)
* changing pad
* dirty diaper duck (contains a roll of bags for stinky ds)
* Benadryl (that's for me, if I spontaneously break out into hives, which happens)
* snacks (2 fruit strips and 3 bags of gummies; you never know)
* 1 bottle of water
* ziplock bag with extra clothes for the baby: sleeper, onesie, socks, blanket) can put the dirties back in the ziplock bag. Nice, neat.
* small black bag: hand sanitizer, Lansinoh cream, Carmex, infant Tylenol, Boudreaux's Butt Paste, spray on first aid antiseptic, and bandaids
* gum
* pen
* notepad
* iPhone
* mp3 player
* wallet
* keys

Wednesday, January 6, 2010