Catholic Family Vignettes

A collage of literary snapshots from the life of a large traditional Catholic family


March 2010

Cascarones, pysanky and egg coloring fun!

A repost to jump start your egg coloring fun:

A few years ago, a very dear friend introduced our family to cascarones, or confetti eggs…a super-fun, and very messy way to conclude an Easter egg hunt.

Assembling the cascarones is not at all difficult. A few weeks prior to Easter, I begin saving eggshells. I make a lot of scrambled eggs and simply use a butter knife to “tap” a small opening in the top of the egg. After dumping the contents, I carefully rinse each eggshell and place it, hole side down, in a carton to dry, to be decorated and filled later. There are more than a few ways to decorate and fill the cascarones, but this is how we do ours, and it couldn’t be easier! We simply fill each egg with confetti, carefully gluing a small disk of tissue paper over the opening and then decorate with magic markers. That’s it…no dye, no drying…the cascarones are ready to be hid with the other Easter eggs!

And what fun! Once found, the children take great delight in cracking them over one another’s heads or pelting mom and dad with them…I’ve saved two dozen eggs, so far, and the children are delighted that we will be hiding cascarones this Easter!

Another nifty use for your emptied eggshells: roll up a small scroll of paper with directions leading the “finder” to a “treasure,” and place inside the egg. These surprise eggs are a lot of fun and can be marked with a “?” to differentiate them from the cascarones or traditional decorated Easter eggs.

**UPDATE**  This year we’re filling our cascarones with birdseed…environmentally friendly and an act of charity for our fine, feathered friends!

More empty eggshell excitement: try your hand at pysanky. These eggs are magnificent…I purchased a kit last year for my father from Ukrainian Gift Shop…I can’t wait to see what he comes up with! Decorating Easter eggs is a favorite family tradition, in case you haven’t guessed!

How about coloring your traditional Easter eggs using things you may have around the house? By using the following items, you can achieve nearly every color in the spectrum:

Lavender Small Quantity of Purple Grape Juice
Violet Blossoms plus 2 tsp Lemon Juice
Violet Blue Violet Blossoms
Small Quantity of Red Onions Skins (boiled)
Blue Canned Blueberries
Red Cabbage Leaves (boiled)
Purple Grape Juice
Green Spinach Leaves (boiled)
Liquid Chlorophyll
Greenish Yellow Yellow Delicious Apple Peels (boiled)
Yellow Orange or Lemon Peels (boiled)
Carrot Tops (boiled)
Celery Seed (boiled)
Ground Cumin (boiled)
Ground Turmeric (boiled)
Brown Strong Coffee
Instant Coffee
Black Walnut Shells (boiled)
Orange Yellow Onion Skins (boiled)
Pink Beets
Cranberries or Juice
Red Grape Juice
Juice from Pickled Beets
Red Lots of Red Onions Skins (boiled)

Eggs. So much fun, in such a small package…


That which is veiled…

…is sacred.




Belongs to God alone…

Here are a few images from the Solemn Profession of vows according to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.  Sr. Francine and Sr. Tracy of the Children of Mary made their First Profession on the Feast of the Annunciation.

Pictures speak in a way that words are seldom able…

Come, daughters, listen to me, I will teach you fear of the Lord.

Come unto Him, and you shall be illumined, and your face shall not be confounded.

Our lives must be like Mother Mary’s, quiet and hidden, in unceasing union with God, pleading for humanity and preparing the world for the Second Coming of Christ.

(Prayer adapted from the Diary of St. Faustina)

“Jesus, I ask You to accept the offering of my life, totally Yours, a sacrifice of praise spent and consumed as this candle is consumed in Your Sacred Eucharistic Presence, loving and adoring You, begging for grace to love You in the Most Blessed Sacrament more every day of my life;

…begging for the grace for all of my brothers and sisters throughout the world to come to know You, love You and adore You; and begging for holy priests and bishops.  For these things I give my life.”

May it so please the Lord to send us more vocations, more young people brave enough to turn from the allures of the world and all its weariness, to live a life of simplicity, holiness and sacrifice!  My sweet girls were enthralled by what they saw and heard.  At one point, a very small child, in the midst of the exquisite Latin chant, said quite loudly:  Wow!

Wow, indeed!


Blessed St. Patrick’s Day!

A most happy and joyous St. Patrick’s Day to all!

On this glorious sunny morning, what better way to start the day than with this traditional prayer:

Lorica of Saint Patrick

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.
Christ shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that reward may come to me in abundance.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation

St. Patrick (ca. 377)

Off to prepare a delicious Irish breakfast and ready home and hearth for the arrival of the Grands.  Our plans are much the same as last year...heading to our favorite haunt and sharing a hearty bowl of Irish stew this evening, rounding it all out with a family movie:  The Quiet Man.   Have a blessed and beautiful day…

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!

Irish blessings,

My girl…

…has tentatively been diagnosed with mesenteric adenitis. Which is significantly better than appendicitis! The four attending physicians who examined her were quite shocked by the ultrasound that showed what appears to be a normal appendix… I say “appears” because they’re still not completely convinced that she isn’t in the early stages of appendicitis. We are praying not…and thank all of you for your continued prayers. Mesenteric adenitis mimics appendicitis and is self-limiting as long as no other infectious agents are present. The poor little thing has been sick off and on for three weeks…first flu and now this. Her pain level is still the same… should it remain this way or increase over the next two days a CT scan will be necessary. We are hopeful that she will improve and thank God for the wonderfully kind doctors and nurses who were so very sweet, calling her “princess” and who did much to soothe the anxiety of mom and dad. Aren’t we blessed to live in a country where such amazing care is available?! We’ll keep you posted on her progress. For now, I’m cleaning and preparing for the arrival of the Grands. They’ll be here tomorrow, the Feast of St. Patrick…two great reasons to celebrate!


Like Madeline?

I pray not…

Please pray for six year old Rylee.  For two days she’s had “middle of the tummy/belly button pain” which has now progressed to “sharp lower right quadrant” pain…and a low grade fever. Possibility:  appendicitis.

We’re leaving for the emergency room just as soon as hubby gets here…the van is having mechanical issues, so the we must wait for dad.

I have no experience in this area and am praying this is just a stomach bug gone bad…thank you for praying!


Daybook…spring showers!

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAY – March 15th, 2010

Outside My Window: a slate gray sky, but not a drop of rain.  Four days of dripping sky washed away all the snow…just a couple white patches along the fence row…I expect they’ll be gone soon.  The birds are singing…they don’t seem to care that it’s a mere 38 degrees with not much improvement expected today.  Still…joy!  Bits of green, here and there.  The earth is readying itself for the Feast of St. Patrick!

I am Listening to: silence…even those breakfasting are quite subdued…

I am wearing : plaid sleep pants, a black long-sleeved tee, rosy wool cardigan and socks.  It’s going to be a slowwww morning…

I am Thankful For: an expanding diet.  Though the really, really sweet taste remains, some foods that had been unpalatable are now tolerable!  Hurray!  I do wish they were more than just tolerable…but it does make for a more varied diet…and I can now force myself to drink a half cup of coffee in the morning.  Perhaps I was a bit premature in declaring my decaf status a “success!”  A half cup of coffee isn’t much, but it sure helps!

I am Pondering: hubby and I had such an interesting conversation about Pontius Pilate.

I’ve long prayed for Pilate…I want him to be saved.  I can’t imagine the torment of hearing, throughout Eternity, these words:

“Crucified under Pontius Pilate…”

Though there are not a few historians who condemn all of Pilate’s actions (Philo of Alexandria and Flavius Josephus most notably), many early Christians and Church historians (Tertullian and Eusebius to name a couple) and a few Saints (prominately St. Augustine) declared that Pilate was a convert to Christianity and later a missionary to the Emperor Tiberius whom he tried to convert:

Augustine suggested that Pilate not only recognized Jesus’ innocence, he also recognized his divinity—and converted to Christianity. Augustine compared Pilate with the magi, claiming that while the magi were the first to recognize Jesus’ divinity at his “rising,” or birth,b Pilate was the first to recognize his divinity at his “setting,” or death.7 By washing his hands of Jesus’ blood, Pilate was suggesting that Jesus’ blood would wash away our sins, Augustine wrote.

The fourth-century church historian Eusebius of Caesarea claimed that Pilate not only converted to Christianity but tried to convince the Roman emperor Tiberius to convert, too (see the second sidebar to this article). Tiberius didn’t abandon paganism, but, according to Eusebius, he was so impressed by Pilate’s account of Jesus’ wonders and resurrection that he urged the Roman Senate to add Jesus to the official pantheon. Furthermore, Tiberius threatened death to anyone who accused or attacked Christians.

Was Pilate converted?  I don’t know…but can hope and pray for the salvation of this man and all mankind who try to “wash their hands of innocent blood…”

I am Reading: Agustine’s Sermons, and once again delighting in Introduction to the Devout Life.  How many times have I read this amazing work?  I have no idea…

From the Kitchen: hot coffee and oatmeal…it’s a hot cereal kind of morning.  Leftover grilled chicken and ribs for dinner, rosemary and olive oil potatoes, salad and breadsticks…

I am Thinking: about a weak of feasts and fun.  Feasts:  St. Patrick’s Day and the Feast of St. Joseph.  Fun:  Hubby’s birthday on Saturday and the Grands’ visit.  Happy, happy, joy, joy…

I am Creating: crocheting two of the sweetest little cardigans!  The Chloe Cardigan will be just perfect for Spring!  And quite simple, too.  In two days of crocheting bits at a time, I’m 75% into the first one.  I think I’ll easily finish them in time for Easter…

On my iPod: loving this appRadio Maria! And thisCompline

Towards a Real Education: Just core this week…the Grandparents are coming, the Grandparents are coming!  I’m sure the children will have plenty educational opportunities while the “funnest people, ever!” are here…

Towards Rhythm and Beauty: Another four bags for the 40 bag challenge…the coat closet is now clean! 

To Live the Liturgy: Yesterday, we dressed Fr. Alder in his rose colored vestments…Laetare, Jerusalem!  Today…we’re back to violet.  This week we’ll celebrate St. Patrick and St. Joseph! And share those wonderful celebrations with our dear family…

I am Hoping and Praying: for the repose of the soul of Michael Early, the father of a dear friend, Lisa.  Would you pray, too?  Also, for all women who are pregnant or wish to become pregnant…

In the Garden: lots of little seeds under the growlights…oh, the potential!  We will have such a garden this year…and I believe we’re expanding the chicken flock and considering pasturing a pig out towards the wooded lot.  I love country living!

Around the House: lots of growing things, inside and out!

On Keeping Home: a fridge that needs to be cleaned, a guestroom prepared, menus tweaked and laundry to wash, fold and put away…

One of My Favorite Things: time alone with my hubby.  We’ve had a bit more of that, of late…thanks to my two wonderful teenage sons who manage things so beautifully.  They are growing into wonderful young men.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week: Fun, fun, fun!  Did I mention fun?  My parents are wonderful…

A Picture Thought I’m Sharing:

Spring chickens…check out that moat!  The house is surrounded.  The rain brought out so many earthworms, the chickens had a most bountiful feast.  I love chickens!


Friday frolic…




And just plain fun…


Small Successes…

Well, well, well…as I haven’t posted a “small success” in like, a bajillion years, I thought I’d give myself a little “pick-me-up” by focusing on what I’ve done, as opposed to what I’ve not!

So…has it bitten you yet?  The Spring Fever Bug?  We’re all in the midst of a raging “infection” and it seems the only remedy is to get out of the house and bask in this glorious weather.  Ohio is fickle…one day a shower, the next a snowstorm.  Ah, well…we’ll enjoy it while we can and meanwhile celebrate a few small successes:

1.   We’ve managed to pray the rosary every morning this week.  It’s a great way to start the day.  Everyone assembles in the living room immediately after breakfast…candles are lit, rosaries distributed, intentions laid out and peace washes over all the morning “hurry-worry…” This is in place of our regular morning devotions, which are significantly shorter.

2.   I’ve truly tried to say “yes” more this week.  I’ve tried to worry less about mess n’ stress.  A long time ago a dear friend’s little daughter couldn’t say my or my husband’s name.  So she called him “yes” and me “no.”  Ouch!  How often I say that word!  I’ve really tried to be more “yes” than “no.”  I have another title for Our Blessed Mother:  Our Lady of “Yes!”  How I wish to be more like her…it’s such a challenge!

3.  I’m now officially eight weeks caffeine free.  I wish I could say that I have abundant energy and that this was a voluntary choice but it wasn’t.  I love coffee.  Tea.  Oh, yes…tea.  But it all tastes so horrible right now.  This bizarre taste disorder has robbed me of my morning cup o’ joe and my afternoon cup o’ tay.  And my ever-so-wonderful evening iced tea.   Still…I needed to decaf and I wouldn’t have done it on my own…I had to be forced into it!  Should this taste disorder end…hmmm…I’m not so sure that I’ll remain caffeine free, but I’ll keep you posted!  In the meantime, I celebrate it now as a “success…” from a health standpoint, it is infinitely better to not be revved up in high gear all of the time!

Share your Small Successes at Faith and Family Live!

Spring-like blessings,

Sunny daybook…

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAY – March 8th, 2010

Outside My Window: Fog and mist swirling, rising in the warming air…puddles from last evening’s shower.  Yes…a “shower” not snow, not ice, not sleet!  Daffodils, peonies and irises are springing from the cold, hard earth…praying that this warm spell will continue…

I am Listening to: a tousle-headed, sleepy-eyed six year old chatter away to a black and white kitty, nestled in her arms…

I am wearing : tan micro suede lounging pants, a black turtleneck and tan polar fleece sweater.  I’m not quite dressed for the day…

I am Thankful For: the improving health of the children.  A couple more days and I think all will be well.  Also thankful for an increase in energy.  Perhaps I’m healing…perhaps it’s the sun.  Perhaps, a bit of both!  Either way, I’m feeling better than I have in 7 weeks.  Much, much to be thankful for!

I am Pondering: marriage and the importance of communication and the difference between the way husbands and wives communicate.  I’ve been working on a piece on this topic…

I am Reading: the same stuff for the past three weeksin snatches!

From the Kitchen: the delicious, cinnamony aroma of sweet rolls.  Breakfast burritos and hot coffee for hubby…For dinner:  roast, carrot, onions and potatoes.  In the crockpot…mom is going to Ladies Night Out!  The first one I’ve attended since before my surgery.  I need a night out!

I am Thinking: about spring cleaning.  Ready to make lists and assign chores.  We did quite a bit this weekend, but there’s still much to be done…

I am Creating: I have so many projects I want to undertake.  I must create a project notebook.  I need to keep track of these many projects and work towards completion.  At present I’ve still not completed:  two pairs of socks, a giant afghan (I’m sooo close!), a sweater vest (it’s nearly Spring!  Who needs a sweater vest in the Spring?)  and a baby hat.  Want to complete:  two white capelets for my little ladies for Easter.  A lap blanket for my grandmother and a pair of socks for me.

On my iPod: The Biblical Stations of the Cross…while I appreciate that beauty of these biblical Stations, I think I still prefer the Traditional Stations.  Also: What a great application!  I can have my household cleaning supplies delivered to my door, saving gas, time and cutting down on unnecessary impulse purchases.  Pretty nifty!

Towards a Real Education: time to order assessment tests…that’s about as “real” as it gets in the state of Ohio…which is not nearly as bad as some other states.  I think they (assessment tests) are the most incredible waste of time and do nothing to truly assess the level of education that a child has received.  But we must please the state and it’s far quicker than making an appointment with a certified teacher, gathering portfolios and having her “sign off” on the children’s progress.   Assessments don’t assess the “real” they assess the “routine.”  Which is, after all, what matters to the state.  Sorry for the rant.  We take them, the children “ace” them and we’re clear for another year…c’est la vie!

Meanwhile, we educate.  Still studying the birds, getting ready for our planet reports, plugging away at core studies and going outside to brave the mud and slush and get back to nature…there’s our real education!

Towards Rhythm and Beauty: the children are marveling over the little strawberry plants that are popping up in their terra cotta pots.  My red geranium is blooming profusely.  As for rhythm:  I’m embracing my morning fitness routine.  I think I’m well enough…we’ll find out, won’t we?!

To Live the Liturgy: as much as I miss not being able to attend our parish Fish Fry and Friday Stations of the Cross, I’m so delighted with our own family Stations.  So solemn and reverent…the perfect end to a Friday night and the best way to prepare for the weekend.

I am Hoping and Praying: for all married couples…hang in there!

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”

Robert Browning (excerpt from Rabbi Ben Ezra)

In the Garden: I’m ordering seeds…today!  I’ve cleared the soil around the little daffodils that are springing up…removed leaves and debris from the herb box and like hubby, have happily paced the length and breadth of both the primary and kitchen gardens.  Joy, joy, joy…

Around the House: Melting snow…about half gone.  Sunshine and blue skies.  Birdsong and birdfeeders.  A family awakening from hibernation after a long winter’s “sleep…”

On Keeping Home: I’ve cleaned under the kitchen sink, hubby installed the most amazing new faucet and I’ve washed all the woodwork…no more dirty, smudgy fingerprints!  I’ve vacuumed the ceilings and corners…goodbye cobwebs and dust!  Still bagging up stuff to take to the thrift store.  Today’s project:  tackling the coat closet.  Eek!  It’s a disaster…

One of My Favorite Things: sunny, sunny sunshine!!

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week: get outside as much as possible, soak up the sun and breathe in the fresh, fresh air!

A Picture Thought I’m Sharing:

The last “little” snowmen of the season…hopefully!



Last Saturday, my sweet hubby, fearing my current paring knife was too dull and ever concerned for my safety, purchased a new paring knife:

‘Nuff said…


Four on Friday…

A Friday pictorial:

Sun in the morning…

And in the afternoon…

Hot and toasty, Lenten lunch…

Station votives to light the night…


I was hungry…

…Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.

How cleverly our Lord disguises Himself amongst the poor!  And what better way to serve Him, than to serve “these least brothers” of ours!

I’d like to introduce you to the Holy Family Soup Kitchen.  I do hope you’ll take the time to watch this short video and that you’ll also consider giving generously to either Holy Family Soup Kitchen or the soup kitchen, food pantry or homeless shelter of your choice.  During the Holy Season of Lent, as we continue to make our little sacrifices, this is yet another way that we can bring Heaven a little closer to earth.  The poor, the hungry and the homeless are counting on us…

Holy Family Soup Kitchen
57 S. Grubb Street
Columbus, OH 43215


From the heart…

Is there any better gift than one that comes straight from the heart?

These little girls think not:

Dear Barbara is a woman of faith and creativity.   And she’s one mean cook, too!  Most precious of all?  Her heart.  Having read of my littlest girl’s Christmas sacrifice, Barb decided to craft a replacement bracelet and in her generosity included both of my girls.

The package arrived this morning, and joyful squeals filled the room.  Big brother helped fasten bracelets…and two little girls modeled these precious gifts from the heart:

Thank you, dear Barbara…from one really sick little girl, a recovering little girl and a family that shares their happiness!


In Preparation for the Feast of St. Joseph…a blog fest!

Will you join us for the 1st Annual St. Joseph Altar Blog Fest?

This is a lovely devotion, steeped in tradition, and thanks to Evann, we’ve all been given a very early reminder…providing ample opportunity to prepare for Good St. Joseph’s Feast Day!

Here’s last year’s post with a few great links to help you get started…my young ones are already coloring the mini 3-D virtual St. Joseph’s altar.

From 2009:

Pekne-li na Svatého Josefa, bývá dobrý rok…

If it is nice on St. Joseph’s Day, it will usually be a good year…

Czech proverb

Oh, that our beloved Saint’s feast day had come yesterday! The weather was beautiful…breezy, warm and sunny. By evening, the temperature had dropped significantly and light rain had begun to fall. It seems the feast of St. Joseph will be a drizzly, cold and not-so-spring-like day.

**UPDATE**Bright sunshine, not a cloud in the sky and nearly 50 degrees!! Looks to be an amazing day…

Not to fear! There are still many ways to celebrate St. Joseph and all fathers, as is customary, despite the dreary weather.

Are you familiar with the tradition of the St. Joseph Table or Altar?

The effect of the table design is dignified, solemn, yet festive, grand and inspiring. Much symbolism is contained in its shape and decoration. The “steps” represent the ascent from earth to heaven. On the topmost step is a statue of St. Joseph or a picture of the Holy Family. White linen tablecloths cover the table. Vigil lights of green, brown and deep yellow, representing St. Joseph’s attire, are profusely placed. Palms placed nearby and around the room, as well as lily plants and white carnations give the table softness and the scents together with incense used in the opening of the ceremony are suggestive of the fragrance of heaven and the sweetness of salvation.

You can read the rest here.

Our St. Joseph Altar – March 2009:

There are no end of recipes to help you get started…should you lack the time or resources to prepare a table or altar, a loaf of homemade bread, braided and shaped into a “crook” or “staff” served with the evening meal, would be a nice way to honor Good Saint Joseph.

Here are a few links to help you get started:

St. Joseph’s Day Bread

St. Joseph’s Day Cream Puffs

Pane Di San Giuseppe

Traditional Recipes For the St. Joseph Table

Viva San Giuseppe!

new addition:  Chocolate Crown of Thorns…thanks, Evann!

We’ll probably keep things simple. The braided bread served with Minestrone will be a big hit with the children and Verdure alla Pastella would be a delicious and delightful side dish…and a crafty way to sneak in a few green veggies! For dessert: Farfallette Dolci. All of these dishes are simple enough for the children to assist in preparing, with many of the ingredients readily available in the average kitchen.

Don’t forget to check out Catholic Cuisine for additional recipes!

Looking for a few hands-on activities? Check out the following:

Start your day with the Litany of St. Joseph

Attend Mass at a Church named for St. Joseph…follow the usual requirements and receive a plenary indulgence!

Pay a visit to the Virtual St. Joseph’s Altar

Construct a 3D paper cut-out St. Joseph’s Altar…there are a few really great coloring pages, as well!

Happy Feast of St. Joseph!


For the birds…

My poor, sick children are a bit stir-crazy…

Flu and cabin fever are a very poor combination. The big guys seem to weather it best…they never seem to lack for something to do…despite illness, the 16 year old completely disassembled the coffee table yesterday…repairing it’s wobbliness with the ease of an expert.

But the young ones want to go out. A couple times a day, Gareth grabs the camera and snaps a picture of the birds that are happily pecking and feeding in the bits of bare earth making an appearance from beneath a fading blanket of white…his nature study is taking place behind a glass barrier…

School was off yesterday and the day proceeded as could be expected, given the coughs, fevers and general complaints of sickness. Today the whining began in earnest. I quickly pulled out our Wild Birds of North America lapbook project and we resumed our studies.

It was the perfect remedy. We reviewed the American Robin Redbreast and the Cedar Waxwing. The wooden egg painting was a particular favorite activity and they did quite a creditable job of duplicating the eggs of both birds.

Thus far we’ve recreated habitats and nests, learned to identify songs, learned to classify and identify both genders by color and appearance and identify eggs.  Studying our feathered friends has done much to dispel the winter blues…

As for the lapbooks:

Free is good.   I’ve managed to find everything I need online, although I did create the cover page for ours and a few inserts.  The remaining inserts and activities can be gleaned from the following:

Backyard Birds Lap-n-Note

Outstanding wild bird coloring book – 50 pages

Build a bird’s nest

Little wire bird’s nest

Great templates for mini-books, flaps and folds of all sorts

Birdwatching – basic fieldcraft video

Birdwatching – woodland habitats video

Reading list:

Backyard Bird Watching for Kids: How to Attract, Feed, and Provide Homes for Birds

Birds, Nests & Eggs (Take-Along Guides)

Are You My Mother?

The Trumpet of the Swan (full color)

Kids Can Draw Birds of the World (Kids Can Draw Series)

Birds by DK

Audubon Field Guide to Wild Birds

Well…that’s about it.  It continues to come together as we explore our new topic.  Isn’t that the great thing about home education?  We fit the study to the children…to their desire to speed up or slow down.  I thank God for the gift of home education.  There’s no place like home…


A busy mom’s daybook…hurry, Spring!

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAY – March 1st, 2010

Outside My Window: Slush and mud. Gray skies, light wind and a surprisingly mild 36 degrees. How I long for birdsong…for warmth and freshly plowed soil waiting to accept the seeds. Little green shoots are pushing their way through the snow…two or three weeks and we should have a riotous profusion of daffodils. Oh…how I need color…hurry, Spring!

I am Listening to: battle drums. The children are playing with the keyboard and it sounds like the Revolutionary War is about to begin…

I am wearing : black turtle neck, Columbia polar fleece jacket and jeans.

I am Thankful For: a great printer, the gift of creativity, recently reorganized pantry (thanks to my oldest son!) and the ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel after this long recovery…

I am Pondering: Psalm 90. This:

14 Because he hoped in me I will deliver him: I will protect him because he hath known my name. 15 He shall cry to me, and I will hear him: I am with him in tribulation, I will deliver him, and I will glorify him.

16 I will fill him with length of days; and I will shew him my salvation.

I am Reading: Same as last week: Happy Are You Poor – an illuminating reflection on true and false evangelical poverty. An important distinction: Evangelical poverty and destitution are not the same thing…

From the Kitchen: delightful scent of pot roast and root vegetables, with olive oil, garlic and thyme, simmering away in the crock pot. I love my crock pot! Homemade breadsticks, spinach salad and grapes to round out the meal.

I am Thinking: that there’s much to be done in preparation for the visit by the Grands. I so love it when my parents and grandmother come to visit. You can’t imagine all the fun we have…

I am Creating: little pockets of order, here and there. Thus far: Kitchen dish cabinet, pantry, working on buffet and soon to take master closet. Things have become so disordered as my health deteriorated. I’m hoping that all is back on track now and that as I continue to heal, I’ll also regain a bit of order around the home…hoping…

On my iPod: still loving iBreviary and iPieta…also found a delightful iRosary app. Digging the Faith and Family Live podcasts. My Pandora radio station set to Gregorian Chant, Coldplay, Mozart and Pink Floyd…how’s that for a combination? And then there’s the knitting applications…oh, my goodness! Thanks to my sweetie for this most amazing, most useful gift…

Towards a Real Education: the children are sick. All of them. We’re reading, playing, blowing noses, taking medication and drawing, coloring and crafting. I think that’s enough for a couple days, until everyone feels a bit better…

Towards Rhythm and Beauty: thank heaven for the Holy Season of Lent. We have very few distractions…nothing breaks your rhythm like distractions. As for beauty…alas, I’m having difficulty finding it. Everything seems so very dreary and dirty right now. These months of neglect are taking a toll. I need several paintbrushes and a few gallons of paint to freshen everything… I need color!

To Live the Liturgy: praying Lauds is such a great way to start the day…

I am Hoping and Praying: for friends that have recently moved away. May God bless the Smith and Pelicano families…may their journey be grace-filled…

In the Garden: last night hubby and I discussed: the superiority of a certain red potato, debated just how many pepper plants one family really needs, the possibility of procuring a pig, expanding the chicken flock and seed ordering in general. “Garden talk” inspires such hope…Springs is coming, isn’t it? Be still, my heart!

Around the House: way too much snow, a diminishing laundry pile, and a lot of sick children and one really tired mom…but happy. Oh, so happy…

On Keeping Home: still clearing out and will quite easily surpass the 40 bags in 40 days challenge. Thus far I have approximately 12 bags and several boxes ready to go…

One of My Favorite Things: the drip, drip, drip of melting snow. I noticed a few buds on a tree yesterday…definitely another “favorite thing…”

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week: tend the sick, wash and fold the laundry, sneak out for a few hours with my hubby…and clean for the coming of the grandparents…

A Picture Thought I’m Sharing:

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, the sun shone brightly…and briefly:


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