Friday, October 30, 2009

Mom's Retreat

Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist hosts a short but highly effective Mom's Retreat the first weekend in Advent. This year it's Saturday fternoon December 5 'till Sunday afternoon December 6th up in Ann Arbor, MI. The cost is $25.

THESE ARE SOME EXCEPTIONAL NUNS!! My girls call them "Mama's Nuns" because they hold such a special place in my heart. They're the kind of nuns that appeal to a party girl like me. They come from all walks of life and have so many girls/women asking to join their order, they can't build fast enough to keep them all in beds and the girls keep coming!! They wear a traditional habit (to the floor) and a rosary from their waist to their feet. Hearing them sing the Psalms at vespers is honestly a piece of heaven here on earth. Their focus is Christ in the Eucharist (see their name, above) and they play volleyball and teach as many people about Jesus as they can. Their passion and joy just pours out of them. SERIOUSLY KEWL NUNS, here!

My spot is reserved to go, who wants to carpool?

Reserve your spot online or e-mail or by phone.

Here's a flyer about it.

I'm sooo excited to go, again this year. Due to illness, pregnancy, nursing, etc., I haven't gone in a few years -- but GOD WILLING I can go this year!! Ohhhhhh....I can hardly wait!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Year With Shakespeare

Wow, this is more fun than I realized. I was just really intimidated, but after looking into it, I'm getting excited.

A friend of mine was hosting a homeschool highschool year long Shakespeare class and I put Dd#1 in it. After a month, I decided that it was too much time away from home and too hard to find a place for the younger kids while she was in it.

When I took her out, Dd#1 really wanted to continue to study Shakespeare, so I told her that we could get some homeschool kids who are close by and hold our own class. *Then I actually had to do it.*

Jenn's A Year With Shakespeare : Lesson Plans
Materials :
  • Folger's Shakespeare Library of each work you want to cover. These run ~ $6 each. I chose 6 plays & we'll cover 16 sonnets. (I'd normally choose 8 plays, but I figure the sonnets make up for the other 2 plays.) If you want to take vocabulary or analysis, this series is the best student series I've found. I'm really pleased with it and so is Dd#1.
  • Hewitt Lightning Literature Comedies & Sonnets also Hewitt Lightning Literature Tragedies & Sonnets $25 each This is normally a self-teaching 2 semester highschool course. I'm going deeper than that course goes, but it's a good jumping off point. A Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It, Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night -&- Hamlet, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Macbeth
  • Brightest Heaven of Invention: A Christian Guide To Six Shakespeare Plays by Peter J. Leithart ~$15 This is an excellent aid to reading Shakespeare from a Christian perspective. All the speculation about Shakespeare being anything but Christian is hooey and it's trying to remake the bard in the image of somebody he wasn't. This work could be all you need to make up a class for your kids' highschool course. The guy who wrote it ran a homeschool co-op class on the topic and then wrote the book off his lessons. GREAT stuff! Henry V, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing

Catholic Components :

  • Dr. Henry Russell has a CD set that I bought through Kolbe called "The Catholic Shakespeare" It's interesting enough for your highschooler to listen to. The last fourth of the CD is the Catholic part, the rest is just literary, moral & biblical in nature. Good stuff. The CD's run $15-$20 but Kolbe added about $5 shipping when I bought 1. I've only listened to MacBeth, but Hamlet and The Tempest would be interesting listening, too. This CD gave me the vision and framework in how I wanted to tackle Shakespeare.
  • Encyclical - Immortale Dei : On the Christian Constitution of States His Holiness Pope Leo XIII It's free at the Catholic encyclopedia site New Advent. It was tough to get through, as are most encyclicals (have a Catholic dictionary and maybe a regular dictionary handy) but once we got in the swing of it, good reading. I'm glad I didn't ask her to cover it without me. It's a good one to read with one of the king stories of Shakespeare (Macbeth, King Lear, Julius Ceasar, Hamlet)

After Listening to Dr. Henry Russell, I've decided how I'm going to teach Shakespeare. Much the same way we learn the bible. I'm incorporating Lightening Literature for Part I. It includes writing prompts that will be great with this class.

I. Literal Sense - what happened in the play.
II. Moral Sense - is what is happening good or bad (for the characters, for the larger themes as well as the subplots).
III. Biblical / Typological Sense - how is this character or circumstance like someone or event from the bible. Also biblical themes like Resurrection / Redemption, etc.
IV. Eschatological Sense - how does Christ factor in (or not) into the play and how does that fit with what we know to be the "big themes" of the bible (The Church, last days, heaven, hell), etc.

Within that framework, we'll fit in
  • symbolism and all the literary devices that Lightning Literature has for this highschool course
  • Information on Shakespeare's time period (some listed in Light. Lit., some listed in the Folger's books)
  • Themes to each of the books

We'll meet twice a month. I thought we could cover 1 play per month and one pair of sonnets in a two week period. I'm also assigning 2 papers per play and one paper per sonnet pair.

The kids will come with play read and the Comprehension Questions anwered (from Light. Lit.). We'll spend about 15 minutes going over the comprehension questions and iron out any questions the kids have about what was going on in the play. Then we can move onto the good stuff : themes, symbolism, moral, biblical and escatology of the plays. We'll spend at least 2 hours discussing that. I'll let them choose a writing assignment (many listed in Light. Lit. and in the back of those lessons, more listed in Leithart's book.)

The next session we'll finish up (or continue depending on interest of the kids) discussion and if we have time well watch a recommended DVD. (Peter J. Leithart has very specific reviews and recommendations in his book listed above.) One of the papers per month can be an analysis of the DVD or play we've seen. They'll choose a 2nd writing assignment for that play.

In the third session, they'll turn in their previous assignment and we'll cover a set of sonnets with them choosing a writing assignment. Then, we'll do it all over again with the next play.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Desperate message

You know it's been a bad day when you have to send a desperate e-mail to your husband like the following. This was from Tuesday:

I think I have a fever.
Ds#3 burned his arm trying to get brownies out of the oven, please bring home more aloe vera.
Ds#4 says he's too sick to go to CCD tonight, but I caught him kicking a ball around.
Dd#2 set a plastic disposable cup on fire in the microwave trying to melt chocolate. She didn't have permission to be cooking. It's all black inside and she's scrubbing.
Meanwhile...(The two year old) locked himself in the bathroom and by the time I got him out, he was running the water in the sink full blast over the DVD remote.

Please don't work late.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Christmas List Ideas

The kids have already made their Christmas Lists. In case you're looking for ideas for your 7-13 year old boys / girls, here may be a "few".

13 G –
Borders Gift Certificate (or any bookstore or Hobby Lobby...)
Art set with chalk
Movies :
Historical Paper Dolls
Pretty Sleeper

11 G –
electric scooter
Lipsmackers (10 pack variety) Pop flavored or sour
Picnic dishes w/ basket
Emily Windsnap and the Monster in the Deep
Emily Windsnap and the Castle in the Mist
Pretty sleeper (satin long sleeve & long pants)
Ella Enchanted
Hair accessories - brush, mirror, barrettes, head band (no pony tail holders)
Gift Certificate to Mall or Target

9 b -
rescue hero
Ice cream maker
Remote Control Car or Hellicopter
Star Wars episode 4
Checkers set

7 b –
Walkie talkie watch
Sprinkler or pool
rescue hero
Sleeper short set
Star wars sleepers
Star Wars Episode 2
Indoor exercise equipment for winter- chin-up bar, dollarstore jumpropes, hulahoop
Wii Remote
Wii Charger
The Littles’ books

2 b –
24months clothes
Play food
Pooh stuff : clothes/ sleeper / slippers / towel / figurines / dishes / toothbrush / toys / anything

boys together :
An Indian teepee you can really climb in
Ping pong ball shooter
Sword & Shield (an example is on Vision Forum)
Pop gun
Water Guns
Astronaut suit
Lone Ranger Movies
Civil War Dress-up Clothes, the blue guys
Cowboy Dress-up Clothes, we've already got Indian dress-up clothes
Superman sleeper & slippers
Superman Dress-up suit
Superman lunch box
Superman toothbrush
Giant Floor Puzzles
Peter can do 50 pc puzzles
Drew can do 100 pc puzzles
· Movies :
o The Aristocats
o The Great Mouse Detective
o Indiana Jones I (
Play bowling set
Modeling Sand for Indoor Sandbox
Basket ball & hoop
Toy boats for bathtub
Planet Frog Habitat
Warm fuzzy slippers
LEGO People - Community Workers Set (amazon.com)
Ultimate LEGO House Building Set (amazon.com)
Anything LEGO CITY kits: ambulance, hospital, airplane, airport, fire truck, fire department
LEGO Star Wars sets
Remote Control airplane (I have no idea how much these are)
Animals (ant farm, frog hatchery kit...)
Hand-Held Mixer (for shakes)
Snowball & snowbrick maker or 2 sleds (they all play outside together) w/ hot chocolate packets
Sturdy outdoor play equipment including
o Big climbing rope for swing set or tree
o Rope Ladder
o 2 Swings for the swingset
o Tire swing swivel
o Fireman’s pole
o pulleys for the tree
o zip line
* Tree house equipment

Family Gifts
· A Family Movie w/ micro popcorn, pop, etc.
o Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
o Bridge to Terebithia
o Superman 1 w/ Christopher Reves
o Wizard of Oz
o Spy Kids 2
o Music Man
o 12 Dancing Princess - honest, they ALL love this one...
o Peter Pan
o 101 Dalmatians – Disney cartoon original
o The Jungle Book – Disney cartoon
o The Librarian I

· Playmobil Knights Set(s)
· Playmobil Romans Set(s)
· Movies :
o Cars (K, E & P)
* Marshmallow Guns
* Tent with floor
* Christian Pop CD for their Karaoke Machine
* Snow Cone Maker
* Black Felt pictures to color
* Walkie Talkie Set

Email laughs

From the diary of a Pre-School Teacher

My five-year old students are learning to read. Yesterday one of them pointed at a picture in a zoo book and said,
"Look at this! It's a frickin' elephant!"

I took a deep breath, then asked....
"What did you call it?"

"It's a frickin' elephant!
It says so on the picture!"

And so it does...

" A f r i c a n Elephant "

Monday, October 19, 2009

ACRL Banquet - Emma MacDonald

Having been helping with the banquet committee AND having Em sing AND having so much of my story in her song -- it was a really taxing evening for me. I was really happy how pretty the banquet turned out, though.

As soon as the banquet was over all my family got well and I caught it -- BUT I WAS SOOO THANK FUL that God kept me well until after the banquet!!

I am really proud of Emma and it was very cool seeing her melodramatic-larger-than-life personality that blows out the walls of our school, fit in lovely on stage in front of 700 people. It is so validating seeing the child I've prayed over more than any other and worried about and fought with and .... shine in her own right and see God's plan unfolding for her.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

"You Are There" - Emma MacDonald

Dave and I are so proud of what God has done in our Dd#2, Emma. The Banquet For Life turned out so pretty and Em did sooo well. All 5 kids had been sick and Em barely had a voice the day before. God answered all our prayers and she felt great the day of the Banquet. She sang in front of 700 people and wasn't particularly scared, just really excited. She's been dreaming of singing for the Banquet for almost a year now and it was a dream come true.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Elizabeth Foss, again - Not So Simple


Really, I love her writing. She says so elequently what lives in my heart.
I wrote somewhere that I love chaos. I don't. Chaos is so very hard to live with. But the beautiful gifts (my children, homeschooling, busyness) that are the origins of the chaos - that's what I love.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Normal Life

The Banquet For Life is over and I'm so excited -- I get to CLEAN my bathroom! It's so great to have time to do the things that need done -- a gift from God!

Thursday, October 01, 2009


My friend Ursula is leaving next week. She's moving across the country with her family. I've crashed 2 of her going away parties and written her a gooey note. Putting an adjective in front of the word "friend" would belie the truth -- she's just a salt of the earth, everything you would want, FRIEND. It would embarass her for me to gush to her face, but she's told me she doesn't really read blogs, so I'm safe gushing to cyberspace.

I'm going to miss her. She's a rare bird that only flies through your life once. I keep reflecting on the first time I met her. A mutual friend suggested I run our Catholic homeschool support group with her. I'd never even met her -- and how is this lady so sure I'd even LIKE someone named "Ursula". Who's named "Ursula", anyway? I've completely grown to love my friend Ursula. The name has become synonymous with a favorite pair of shoes that looks nice with everything but doesn't draw attention to your feet. Grass that is so well cared for that it makes all the flowers around it look fabulous while you almost don't see the grass. Something you almost don't notice while you have it and really feel the loss when it's gone.

She has enough to deal with in moving across country, handling her own children's emotions, adjusting to new EVERYTHING and lastly dealing with her own emotions. It would serve no purpose for her to know how much I'm dwelling on her leaving. But I am. I've got 10,000 other things to think about right now, and I'm sad about loosing Ursula. I just keep taking my sadness and giving it to God as a prayer for her. The Michael W. Smith song "Friends are friends forever" is too sappy & teenagery for my friendship with Ursula, but the sentiment holds true. If you have a thought to spare, please say a prayer for Ursula's family. Thanks!