Friday, October 29, 2010

Open Invitation to my friends

This is for Advent preparations -The way we did a Jesse Tree swap a few years ago, I'd like to do an O Antiphons Swap.

I'm slowly replacing my more cultural Christmas decorations with religious ones. I'd like to have these ornaments on a lighted garland on my stairway railing, so I'd like them all to "coordinate."

Let me know by Nov. 5, 2010 if you're interested. We'll swap them at the MNO at my house Nov 29th -- that should give you about 3 weeks to work on them.

Background information on the O Antiphons

printable coloring pages
meanings, verses & music of O Antiphons
a series of podcasts with reflections on each of the O Antiphons

PDF of O Antiphons Booklet Advent O Antiphons.pdf- if you tell your printer ("Print" "Properties" "Finishing") to print on both sides of the paper (click the box "print on both sides manually") then it will print in booklet form.

Other options you can do for your own family :

  • rectangle shapes (from whatever materials) like cards.
  • I've also seen blocks and you can make houses for the blocks.
  • Just for fun, here's one made into a wreath.
  • Another of bottle caps.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Nursery Rhyme Baby Shower

I was really excited to throw my sister, Sara's baby shower. I decided among other ideas (rubber ducky party, ) that I'd throw a "Nursery Rhyme" theme party. I searched for Mother Goose Books. I ended up buying The Real Mother Goose because it had sooo many nursery rhymes in it. The pictures, however quaint, weren't inspiring. I bought the Golden Book of Fairy Tales. It had seriously great pictures, but no nursery rhymes -- all fairy tales.

THEN...I found Ruth Sanderson's Mother Goose and Friends. The front cover doesn't do the book justice. The entire book is a work of art!! You can go to her website to see the artwork from several of her books including this one. It was just the inspiration I needed.

For invitations, I called around & Office Depot had the best price. They turned out beautiful!
I went with the non-creative, but standard wording...

Hey, diddle, diddle!
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon;
The little dog laughed
to see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.

Hey, diddle, diddle!
We can tell by Sara’s middle,
Baby Henry is coming soon;
You can bring them gifts
and celebrate,
At the shower, an hour after noon.


We made a tent card with the nursery rhyme that goes with each dish

  • Sandwiches : Roast Beef Roll-ups w/ toothpicks - This Little Piggy
  • Salad : Em's Casa Salad - Contrary Mary's Garden
  • Cheesy Potato Soup - The Winds
  • Hot Beef Dip & Crackers - Over the Water
  • Veggie Tray - Peter Rabbit's Garden
  • Fruit Tray - Curly-Locks
  • Chocolate Covered Strawberries - Curly-Locks
  • Emma's Cookie Basket - A Tisket A Tasket
  • Pumpkin Pound Cake - Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater
  • Kate's Cake was based on this cake - Twinkle Twinkle
  • Em's Cake was based on this cake - Mother Goose
  • Apple Cider - An Apple A Day
  • Tea - Polly Put the Kettle On
  • Coffee - Coffee and Tea
  • lots of fresh spring water in a decorated bucket from Jack and Jill
  • cheese tray that also has cheese curds for Little Miss Muffet's Curds and Whey or 3 blind Mice
Other ideas we didn't use :
  • deviled eggs Humpty Dumpty
  • Pat-a-cakes cupcakes
  • Little Boy Blueberry muffins
  • muffins for the Muffin Man
  • Low fat trifle for Georgie Porgie’s pudding
  • Little Gingerbread Men
  • Avacado Boats - put sails in them and make guacamole
  • An apple a day Sends the doctor away Apple in the morning Doctor's warning Roast apple at night Starves the doctor outright Eat an apple going to bed Knock the doctor on the head Three each day, seven days a week Ruddy apple, ruddy cheek
  • Nuts - I Had a Little Nut Tree
  • Hot beef dip = Over The Water
  • Ice Cream, a Penny a Lump
  • Ice cream, a penny a lump! The more you eat, the more you jump. Eeper, Weeper, Chimney sweeper, Married a wife and could not keep her. Married another, Did not love her, Up the chimney he did shove her!
  • Coffee = Cross Patch, Draw The Latch -Cross Patch, draw the latch, Sit by the fire and spin; Take up a cup, and drink it up, Then call the neighbors in.


  • figurines : little boy -- Little Boy Blue / Girl - Mary Contrary / bath toys puppy, cat, cow - Hey diddle, diddle / pigs -- boys need to build a house of sticks / sheep --
  • popsicle stick house & fence w/ paper pigs
  • hanging from chandelier: cow jumping over the moon paper - bath toys cat w/ paper fiddle taped on / plastic spoon & construction paper dish holding hands (chenille sticks) / dog
  • Create a Hickory Dickory Dock centerpiece using a clock and a toy mouse
  • Use children's books opened to various nursery rhymes to decorate tables around the party space & Bear reading - http://baby.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Storybook_Baby_Shower have all books w/stuffed animals
(we didn't end up using these...but some ideas on the theme I collected)

  • chocolates
  • Peter Rabbit
  • pic
  • Put prints into cheap frames and spread around room or tape onto walls
  • Create a 'goose nest' for guests to deposit baby shower gifts
  • decorate your shower venue with nursery decorations.
  • One table could have a black sheep (for Ba Ba Black Sheep)
  • If you or someone you know has one of those big, white, garden geese statues handy, tie a bonnet or a large hat to the statue's head to create your very own Mother Goose
  • Wooly Sheep ornaments, then use as party favors
  • pic




  • Name The Nursery Rhyme – We list 20 short phrases included in popular nursery rhymes. You may think it’s easy to fill in the rest of the rhyme along with the title, but we’ve found a few that are pretty challenging. Don’t worry, we also provide an ans wer key!
  • Nursery Rhyme Jeopardy
  • Mad Libs story about the guest of honor I wrote based on this one.
  • Meanings of Rhymes
Party Favors
(we didn't end up using these...but some ideas on the theme I collected)
  • star-themed book marks (twinkle, twinkle / star light, star bright / when you wish upon a)
  • $20/4 Nursery glassware
  • Individually wrap hot cross buns or muffins in pastel cellophane and tie with a contrasting ribbon. Attach a computer generated thank you note bearing an image of Mo ther Goose. Write the name of the nursery rhyme that the favor represents on the card and a thank you for the Mom to Be. Let her hand out the favors when the party is over.
  • bulbs or plants from Contrary Mary’s garden
  • miniature pie from Sing a Song of Sixpence
  • beeswax candle – Jack Be Nimble
  • copy a quote from your favorite nursery rhyme and have it printed on coffee mugs, or potholders for everyone
  • Personalized candles in baby food jars
  • "Polly Put the Kettle On" tea bags or “I’m a Little Teapot”

I just HAVE to show what my friend, Jackie, made for my sister.
jaclyn at simplyelegantfw.com

I was so glad she had the gumption (and skill) I didn't so i could give my sister some
beautiful things all from Jackie's hands. Everything was soo well made! I absolutely LOVED the blanket and the wipes cover that matches her diaper bag was so sweet!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Great Education for Less Money

Homeschool Connections Online has recorded courses. (Click on the link and at the top of the page click the tab "Courses", then scan down to "Subscription to Online Catholic Courses". Scroll down past the paypal buttons to read the FAQs, How To, & available courses.)

I knew they were a great resource -- many are taught by college professors and Ph.D.s -- especially once we tried their 7 days for $1 deal. (Follow the instructions above and click on the paypal "Subscribe" button.) During our 7 day trial, Dd#1 chose a literature class on Tolkein and did the week's worth of homework and all the recorded class each day for the week. I gave her a quarter's worth of high school credit for her intensive week and we were HOOKED! Once you subscribe to their recorded courses, you have access to any and all courses that were previously taught live through Homeschool Connections Online.

Her live teacher through Homeschool Connections Online, Alicia Rollings, has been sooo patient with Dd#1 and genuinely encouraging. Maureen Whitman, who started Homeschool Connections Online has been helpful when I messed up our computer and had to find a substitute. Everyone's been great to work with. When I was looking to put Dd#1 in a Latin class this year, it was $500 - $650 for classes in town and those online. Homeschool Connections has been GREAT for the cost (~$360/year) and the learning that's going on has been excellent.

It's $30 per month for their recorded courses. So for the cost of one course, we can have access for a year's worth of unlimited learning. ($30/month * 10 months = $300)

We've already chosen all our classes for her 9th grade year, so I was looking for next year. Since we knew the recorded courses were excellent learning opportunities and a great cost, I just had to figure out how we'd use them. I made the spreadsheet below to help me sort it all out in my brain. (Am I the only mom out there who thinks better with a spreadsheet??) It's hard to see online, but if you download or print it, you can see what recorded classes I think would fit with our school plan for Dd#1. There's not a grade level on the recorded classes (just "high school" or "middle school"), so your child may do them in a completely different order than we will. The grey classes are live classes this year, 2010-2011, so they'll be available as recorded classes at the end of 1st or 2nd semester this school year. I'm not sure how many we'll end up using -- but I KNOW we'll do some (many?) of the recorded classes.

Homeschool Connections recorded classes allow me to teach as much or little as I deem prudent while giving her the well-rounded education we're striving for. It's also REALLY reassuring to know we've got a resource that will be academically challenging, interesting, is easy for all of us AND is SUPER INEXPENSIVE!!

Home School Connections

Quote of the Day

DS#3 from the other room -
"Mama, what temperature do I cook tomato soup on?"
"O.K. Thanks" -- swish, swish, swish
Me thinking to myself...that sound seems familar...
..."WAIT! You can't cook at the stove with ROLLERSKATES on!!"

Sunday, October 03, 2010

It all comes down to love

Love is...

...not freaking out when your 2 year old wants to kiss and cuddle and breathes on you while he has a bad cold knowing you're probably going to catch his cold.
...picking him up and holding him even though he just threw a fit in church and he doesn't feel so adorable right now.

...letting your 8 year old snuggle with you in bed even though he didn't clean his room the 3 times you reminded him and you're still pretty miffed at him.
...admiring his artwork that you really don't care about that moment, just because HE cares about it.

...letting your 10 year old have an extra 20 minutes of a computer math game even though he tends to obsess about computer games because he has to have room to practice SELF-discipline.
...letting him try and struggle to read in front of a group of people because he thinks he can do it and you don't want to tell him otherwise.

...listening to your 12 year old's story of what happened at youth group even though your head hurts after catching the 2 year old's cold.
...pushing through the tears and yelling and being patient and encouraging while she discovers what you already knew -- she really IS capable of doing hard school.

...including your 14 year old in the talk you're having with your friend because she wants to feel like she's growing up.
...hosting a high school literature class for all your daughter's friends, even though it's her strongest subject and she doesn't need the help and it's costing you many hours of extra study to prepare it just because she loves it so much.

...feeling stretched in everyway but Tuesday because each of the kids have a different passion and enjoy different activities, but the desires of each child is just as important as the others.
...ironing the kids' clothes for Mass week after week so your husband doesn't have to.
...doing all the mom stuff you don't want to like meal planning, sorting clothes for the season change, cleaning the house for the 3rd time that day.

This is love.
And it's a beautiful way to live.