Seven Quick Takes

— 1 —

Friday again? Already? I’ve been in a bit of a fog this week thanks to the plague, er, I mean hand, foot, and mouth disease. Charlotte got it Saturday, and had all the classic symptoms. This led to sleepless nights as her toes itched. Then Tuesday Kieran got the fever but never got the rash. H did, however, get dehydrated and has been miserable. Today has been better, thank God.

— 2 —

I’m not sure who was more excited about the library sale this past week, the kids or me. We went twice and got some really good books, including a complete reference set. I’m always looking for resources for our home school.

— 3 —

I think I’m addicted to homemade crackers. I make them every couple of days and end up eating half as soon as they’re ready. So simple, so delicious. I might be slightly possessive of them, though. I keep them away from the kids most of the time. Of course, that’s mostly because I can’t eat many store-bought foods, so I am rather protective of the things I can eat.

In case you’re interested, here’s my recipe (I actually measure things!)
1/2 c wholewheat flour
1/3 c plain or bread flour (bread flour makes them crispier)
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 c water
1/6 c olive oil
Herbs, spices, seeds to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Mix the dry ingredients. If using herbs, add them now (I usually use fresh rosemary and sea salt). Add the wet ingredients and stir just until mixed. Turn out directly onto a baking sheet and roll out (if dough is sticky, spread a little olive oil on it). If using seeds or spices, spread them on now and then roll lightly to make sure they’re not going to just fall off. Using a pizza cutter, cut into squares. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden.

— 4 —

I am a little jealous of an Orthodox friend of mine, because her 10-month-old receives the Eucharist every week. I wish my children could receive from infancy as well. But I do love the Latin practices of daily Mass and Eucharistic Adoration.

And at least more dioceses are restoring the order of the Sacraments of Initiation so that children are confirmed earlier. I hope more dioceses adopt this practice. Our old diocese did this, but our current one doesn’t.

— 5 —

Friday seems like a good day for a dance party. Or so Charlotte and I thought. We’ve been dancing around to the White Album, Sgt Pepper, and various songs by The Squirrel Nut Zippers. And some Mozart, for good measure. Leo joined in the dancing by bopping up and down.

— 6 —

Having a random lady compliment my gentle parenting in the grocery definitely made up for Charlotte being scolded by a librarian for climbing on a table at the library when my back was turned. You win some, you lose some.

— 7 —

My habit of not measuring anything when cooking seems to annoy others, because then I can’t give precise directions. I remember one time we had Kieran’s godparents over and I made scones. They wanted the recipe, and I had to tell them I didn’t measure exactly, though I can give estimates. Not long after that, we went to their house and she made a Gambian dish for us. I asked for the recipe but she couldn’t give any exact directions, either. One of these days I’ll just have to watch her do it and then I can copy it better.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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Religious Education over Lunch

Lunch seems to be a good time to do religious education in my house. We start with the Angelus,since we tend to eat around noon, and then I read from Saint of the Day from the Saints 4 Kids app. My aunt just sent me some religious education books that she used when teaching my cousins. So today I decided to go over those (the books are Our Heavenly Father and Kindergarten Catechism) during lunch.

I decided that just doing one question a day in the catechism would be good. So the first question is “who made you?”, with the answer, of course, being “God made me.” This led to the following conversation:

Kieran: “But God doesn’t make monsters”
Me: “No, God doesn’t make monsters. There aren’t any monsters.”
Kieran: “Then why are there monsters in Beowulf?”
Me: “it’s just a story. There aren’t really any monsters. But in the story God helped Beowulf defeat the monsters.”
Kieran: “Why?”
Me: “Because God loved Beowulf and the other people and didn’t want them plagued by monsters.”
Kieran: “Did God give Beowulf a sword?”
Me: “He gave Beowulf the strength and courage he needed to use his sword.”

And thus it was that our first day of using the Baltimore catechism resulted in a conversation about Beowulf and Grendel.

Book Nook: There’s a Monster in the Alphabet

You know what’s even better than the library? A library sale! Our library is currently having such a sale, so we headed there and picked up quite a few books (including an entire set of Childcraft for $5!) Charlotte was so excited that she got to keep these library books forever, and we made some really good finds. One such find is There’s a Monster in the Alphabet by James Rumford. The author wondered if the order of the alphabet was put in that order because of a story that could help a person remember it. While no evidence exists of such a story, he thought the story of Cadmus could possibly fit the bill, and so he told the story of Cadmus using the Phoenician alphabet. I’s a fun look at the beginnings of our alphabet and a myth at the same time.

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Sunday Snippets – a Catholic Carnival

This week’s question is “what is your favourite hymn that you hear/sing at Mass?”. Mine would be “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”. It is gorgeous and haunting and I love it.

As for my posts this week, I mused on ensuring my words are true, kind, and helpful (something at which I often fail) and being interrupted by God. I talked a little about another book on heroes and heroines, which my kids love. I once again discussed breastfeeding at Mass, since it seems to perennially be debated. My latest sewing projects are shown in the Crafty Thursday post. Finally, my 7QT this week was about school.

For all Sunday Snippets entries, visit RAnn. God bless!

7QT: School Edition

— 1 —

Every so often I contemplate writing my own history curriculum for the kids. This usually happens when I look at the curricula available and lament their shortcomings. So far none meet my standards, but I don’t really have the time to write my own. So I get various books about different times and cobble together a history curriculum without creating a textbook. Right now it’s fairly easy. But really, would it be too much to ask to have a textbook that isn’t just dry dates, doesn’t separate different cultures as if they existed in vacuums, doesn’t exclude Judeo-Christian history, and doesn’t exclude Asia and Africa?

— 2 —

Did you know you can get apps that will have stories in a foreign language and English, or a combination thereof? We have some for French (Princesses Learn French, Puss in Boots, Little Red Hen, and Cinderella), and Kieran and Charlotte love them. I bet they have them in other languages, too. I love that they are willingly listening to these stories and playing games, thus learning some of the language. I don’t know what there is for older kids, but these are great for younger ones.

— 3 —

Speaking of apps used in our home school, I also found the Homeschool Helper app. Let me tell you, it’s amazing. I can set the subjects and how I’ll grade, and then input lessons and grades. There’s also a place for the child’s reading list, attendance, and field trips. Every week it emails me a backup, and I can generate reports as wanted/needed. It certainly helps keep me organized! Well worth it, in my opinion.

— 4 —

I decided that our home school needed a patron Saint. After all, I need all the prayers I can get. I had Kieran and Charlotte suggest a couple of Saints (unsurprisingly, they suggested St Kieran the Younger and St Clare of Assissi), and then I also had a few suggestions. I wrote the names on slips of paper and folded them, then asked the Holy Spirit to guide us. I had Kieran draw out a name, and it was St John Bosco.

— 5 —

Violin has started back for Kieran. Last year Charlotte was the challenge; this year I think it’s Leo. He gets very angry when I prevent him from grabbing the scroll or bow during practice. Amazingly, Kieran can continue playing even with all the distraction.

— 6 —

One of these days the kids will see that the hieroglyph blocks are fun for more than just building towers. Occasionally one (usually Charlotte) will allow me to point out a word on them, but this is rare. For some reason they don’t seem nearly as excited by hieroglyphs as I. They just don’t know the joy of dead languages yet, even though Kieran attended my hieroglyphs lectures with me as a baby. I’m sure listening to Prof Eyre and Roland has stuck with him, he just needs a reminder. 😉

— 7 —

I’ve loved that Kieran has proudly told people that he is homeschooled when they ask if he’s starting back to school. Part of me wonders if he should be so forthright about it, but at the same time, I’m glad he’s excited about it.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Crafty Thursday

20130822-070019.jpg I finished the outfit! I love the way it turned out. There was nearly a tragedy when making one of the buttonholes, as I managed to rip too far, but I patched it and it’s not really obvious. I’ve also decided that Ellie Mae patterns are my favourites, as they are easy even for me to follow and the illustrations are great. I think they also had me in mind, as the instructions say things like, “you may be tempted to skip this step”. Yep, that’s me. Now I just need to watch for fabric sales so I can make more. Charlotte loves the outfit, and I’m struggling to keep it clean for her.

 

 

I’d promised Kieran that the next thing I sewed would be part of his costume. I had picked up a pattern that had a princess dress and a cape, so I used the cape pattern for Bilbo’s cape. I had some brown material that I’d never used, so I decided that would work even though it’s a knit fabric. It’s not really ideal, but it works and didn’t cost any additional money. The cape should’ve been super simple after the ruffle dress, but Butterick didn’t make it easy for me. Reading their directions, I sometimes felt like Amelia Bedelia. Dear Butterick: including an illustration doesn’t help if said illustration is wrong. So I had to take out the hood and redo it because I mistakenly followed the illustration the first time, even though it seemed wrong to me. O well, it’s done now. I picked up trousers and a shirt (to be made into a vest) at a local Catholic thrift store, so his costume is nearly finished now.

At the same thrift store I found a simple dark green table cloth. It happens to be a perfect colour for Merida’s cape, and just the right size for it, too. And it was only about $1. Score. The dress itself was causing more of a problem. I really didn’t want to buy more fabric if I didn’t need to do so. I tried to convince her to let me make the dress brown, since I have brown fabric (knit and satin), but she wasn’t going for that. I decided to go through my old things and things needing mending to see if I could find anything that would work. Lo and behold, I found a set of pajamas of the perfect colour, and a skirt that has matching stitching to use for the border. Parfait!

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Interruption

Do I allow God to interrupt my life? While this applies daily, I was thinking about this specifically in regards to the Assumption, which was last week. It is a Holy Day of Obligation, meaning Catholics are obliged to attend Mass. Even though I try to attend daily Mass with the kids, this was a bit of an interruption from God. There were multiple Masses, of course, but it was still a bit of an interruption.

And that got me thinking of the necessity of such interruptions. Sure, we go to Mass on Sundays, and during the week if possible. But this was still a needed interruption where I was reminded that God’s calendar trumps my own. It was a needed call to remember Him.

On a similar note, I suppose that is the purpose of the Liturgy of the Hours. I’m lucky if I do Lauds, let alone the others. We’ve been cultivating the habit of the Angelus prayer, though. So far I do it upon waking, then we do it together before lunch; we’ve not regularly added in the evening one yet. Even this little bit is a welcome interruption to my thoughts and tasks in the day, though I admit I sometimes rush through. Though my efforts are rather meager, I hope that, by the grace of God, these efforts cultivate good spiritual habits so that we learn to focus more on God through these “interruptions”.