Friday, October 31, 2008


It's something I both love and despise... the noise all around me, every day.



My three year old snapdgragon entertains me all day with her endless alphabet song she is so proud of.   Whether I'm trying to sleep on the couch, make dinner, or chat on the phone, she requires my full attention.  And she's just so darn cute.

To compete with her, the twins of course have their average volume set slightly above her.  Except, they don't know how to talk really. So they resort to very loud grunts, blood curdling screams and growls.  They're pretty darn cute as well.

Now my oldest boy Z (5 years old), is the king of sound effects and races through the house with his latest favorite toy in hand(helicopter, plane, boat, bus etc...), yelling in his very excited voice.  
E, my little daisy (8 yrs) is usually the quietest one... but only because while all this is going on in the background, I'm trying to teach her some sort of complicated grammar or math lesson.   When she's not doing school work or sitting on the couch with her nose in a book, she is playing with her friends or her siblings and sprinkling the house with her hysterically contagious laughter.  She knows how to laugh.  She once had an entire grocery store looking around for the source of her bright laughing.  

I thank God that my house is joyful, and full of life. That I have ample evidence right before my very ears of the love and responsibility I have been blessed with.  That I have minute by minute reminders of what my calling is in life.  I could have days filled with traffic sounds to and from work, gossip, television shows and computer typing.  

Instead, I choose to stay here: The music might be out of tune, and the dialogue might now win Academy Awards... but it's my own personal soundtrack, and I love it.  (especially the part called 'bedtime')

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Early Xmas shopping online... now cheaper at CHC

Catholic Heritage Curriculum is one of my favorite Catholic stores online. They carry an extensive list of homeschooling curriculum that is gentle, beautiful and authentically Catholic. They also carry many other items that would make lovely Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers.

Here is the link to their Advent/Christmas catalog. 

It all looks wonderful. I pretty much wanted to by everything I looked at in the catalog.  

I am delighted to see that they have added a cheaper shipping option for Canadians! Be sure to go check out their new rates (as you can ship something for $8-$16 as opposed to the $30 it used to cost... and you don't have to use the evil UPS that charges such exorbitant brokerage fees).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

Tuesday October 29th, 2008

Outside My Window... Most of the leaves are gone, my lawn littered with them.  I suppose we should rake them up, but since the large birch tree beside us is still bursting with yellow leaves, it seems like it would be such a waste.  I wonder if my neighbor can handle the messy lawn for a few more days... poor man, living downwind from us.

This week...  Trying to stretch the last of the grocery money and the food in the pantry to make enough meals and snacks to last until payday on friday.  Thank God for chocolate chips!  

I am thinking... about the coming winter, and looking forward to cozy afternoons in a warm kitchen, and quiet evenings by the fireplace with a cup of tea and a good book.  I'm such a homebody.

I am thankful for... generous friends who by their actions let me know that God is taking care of me.

From the kitchen...  Better-than-wheat chocolate chip cookies.  yummy!  

From the Learning room... watercolors again, Ancient Rome: Julius Caesar, The Hundred Dresses, multiplication and fractions, the letter G.

I am wearing... comfy skirt and tshirt, hair in a bun, bare feet.   (my feet are freezing and I really should get some nice feminie slippers to wear around the house).

I am creating...  Mittens!!  Ok, make that part of 1 mitten (so far). I lost two of my needles (I need 4), so it's still in progress).  I want to make a set for each kid... so I guess that makes 9 more to go!!

I am reading...   The Two Towers (Lord of the Rings part 2).  Again, I'm loving Tolkien the second time around. It's so much easier to read this time.  I'm also still making my way through Come Be My Light.  What a beautiful book!

I am hoping... The American election turns out for the best.  I am praying that the country can come together after the election and bridge the divisions that are growing wider each day.

Around the house... Toy trains, little people, books, more books, art supplies, tiny pieces of paper and glue-stick lids, smiling children, piles of laundry, beautiful music.... the usual.

One of my favorite things... cookie dough.  Shhh! don't tell my mom. (it has raw eggs in it)... don't worry, I don't give it to the kids.  I sneak it when they aren't looking LOL.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... comming up with the annual All Hallows Eve costumes.  Going to a halloween party at our church, searching out good gluten-free candy, enjoying the remaining few days of fall. Trying to survive the biannual daylight savings week torture.

Here is picture thought I am sharing... 

Translation: Carthage and rome fought with each other.  Rome won.  A rich family in Rome had a son. They named him Caesar.  "Why are you so sad?"... "I'm sad because I want to be like Alexander the Great!"

Three Singing Priests; from Sony

When I saw a link for the new group from Sony BMG, The Priests, I was expected one of those YouTube jokes that go around.

I was pleasently surprised when I followed the link, and listened for awhile.  They are lovely. The music is gentle and inspiring, their voices are beautiful and I sat and listened for more than a few minutes.  Even my 8 year old daughter paused in her work to dance around the family room to the music.  Their new CD would make a great christmas gift this winter.  

Apparently, they have just singed a music deal with Sony BMG and will be releasing thier first record shortly.  The three have been singing together since they were boys, and are all parish priests in Ireland.    I love the fact that they made sure their contracts included an exemption that they could break from the promotional work to attend to important parish duties like funerals etc...  These guys are the real thing twice over: musicians and priests.

More about The Priests on the internet:

The Priests Homepage  (listen to more songs)

Catholic Media Review: Sony's New Music Group; The Priests

Audioholics: Three Priests Signed by Sony

Friday, October 24, 2008

Time away

Someone else made my bed for me this morning... and folded my towel nicely, and served me breakfast and lunch and even cleaned up my dishes. I showered and got dressed in a quiet room without worrying what the 'quiet' really meant. I savoured my morning prayer time, lingering in quiet conversation with God, and enjoyed Mass, holding only my hymn book in my arms.

No, I didn't hire a nanny... and no, I didn't train my almost-eight-year old to be a nanny. I was just blessed enough to have parents, inlaws and a very generous husband who all volunteered to take over being 'mom' while I'm away at a beautiful Regnum Christi Woman's convention for an extended 4 day weekend.

Big THANK YOU!! If you ever want to give a mother of young children a gift they will treasure forever, this would be it!! Time away to reflect on my role as a mother and a wife... time away to reflect on how I can inject light and love and hope into my family, my neighborhood and the world all around me. Time away to be grateful for what I have been given, and time away to recharge, in order to return with greater love and energy and resolutions to give myself as a gift to those around me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Our creative bunch

The homeschooling room has been buzzing with activity this past week. Z has discovered a love for cutting and pasting, and the babies have delved into flour arranging. E and H both enjoy painting. Here are some of our latest creations. I spared you the agony of looking at my paintings. If you want to see those you have to come visit me and rummage through my trash can in the back :-)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My little helpers

As the kids get older, they have learned to help out around the house in many ways. Every morning (and sometimes again in the afternoon) they unload the dishwasher. They have figured out a great system to make it go faster: E perches on the counter and puts the dishes in the cupboard while Z hands her the plates and cups. Whatever works :-)
They also do lots of other things around the house:

Morning chores: make bed, clean room, get dressed, empty dishwasher
lunch time chores: take dishes to dishwasher after lunch
supper chores: help set the table and help clean off the table after supper
night time: clean up their toys in the basement and family room, brush teeth and put dirty clothes in hamper
weekend: help with taking sheets off the beds, Z empties all the garbage in the house, and E helps clean bathroom countertops and sinks.

H is a great cleaner and helps where she feels like it, unless I have a specific job for her. Her favorite job is to clean up entire rooms in a flash. "I did it ALL by MYSELF!!" (of course she just piles everything in a huge pile behind the chair, but hey, it's a start!)

The twins just help where the can. Today they decided to help clean out the flour bin... it was looking a little full afterall. The kicker, is that they did it three times in one morning, on three seperate occasions... in three seperate areas of the living room. You'd think their mother would learn the first time!!
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Great Online Spelling Resources

It's both a struggle and joy to teach phonics to a child. You wait patiently while they figure it slowly out in their minds and begin to read- haltingly at first and then faster and smoother until they reach a level of fluency that allows both of you to enjoy the shared gift of literacy.

Reading is not the end of the journey though... after it comes grammar, the rules of writing, and spelling.  

This year we are focusing on spelling. As a child, I thought spelling was just about as boring as school got... (which is probably why I'm hopeless at it). I've been looking for things to help spice it up a bit and here are a few things that I have found on the internet. If anyone has any other good ideas, leave me a comment!

Have fun practicing your spelling words
This is a fabulous resource. It allows you to type in your spelling words for the week and it makes up online or printable games that you can play. It also will read the words one at a time to the child, read it a second time in a sentence, and then wait for them to type in the word and then correct their spelling. Cool! I tested it out and they even did 'nutmeg'

This looks like a good program too, although it costs money to subscribe, and the animated people who guide you through the lesson are pretty annoying.

This is a  good resource for making up your own spelling practice pages.  You type in the spelling words, and then it spits out a handwriting worksheet using those words. You can change the font and the size.

This is a vastly popular tool amongst homeschoolers. It's a very versitile handwriting program that allows you to create handwriting worksheets in many different fonts and sizes, including cursive, handwriting without tears, among others.

Lastly, there is this terrific free resource that makes very quick copywork and spelling lists in the correct size for the grade the child is working at. I like their cursive font and use this often.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I"m in awe

of this family.... I mentioned a prayer request for them last week, as their little five year old girl was in hospital fighting for her life after choking on a bead at church last sunday.  

She passed away yesterday, and her mother has already had the time and peace of mind to write a most beautiful letter to all those who were praying for her. She writes with such hope, and encourages us all to dwell on what is truly important.  

Dear little Marie in heaven, please pray for us. Our world needs your prayers.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Please pray for this little girl...

This prayer request was passed onto me today, and I wanted to share it with all of you who still read my little blog.  

 an urgent need for prayer for the sake of a 5 year old girl (Marie Francesca - family friends of the Matte who live in California). This little one choked on a bead during Sunday Mass and even with a doctor in the congregation going to her aid, she suffered several cardiac arrests and is now gravely ill in intensive care. The mother of Marie was a novice with Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity for several years and the family is asking for intercessory prayer.  Please see details on the following website if you wish.

Simple Woman's Daybook

 Weds October 8th 2008

Outside My Window... The leaves have almost all fallen to the ground and there is a chill in the air.  My brown and weedy flowerbeds are calling me to clean them up for the coming winter.

This week...  E's followup appointment with the GI doctor about her celiac disease... she's doing really well and her blood tests showed much improvement.    

I am thinking... about adding gluten free oats into our diet now that she's been doing so good for 6 months on the GF diet.  Apparently regular oats are almost always contaminated with wheat from the processing, and being grown nearby wheat fields.  Some people with celiac disease even react to certified GF oats, so we'll try them out slowly.  

I am thankful for... great husband's who take time off from work to take care of everyone when mommy has the tummy flu...

From the kitchen...  home made applesauce and fresh baked bread.  (all courtesy of Mr. Mom - see above)

From the Learning room... water color washes in art, how to take care of a sick mommy.

I am wearing... Jammies.  Tummy flu going through the house.. 'nuff said.

I am creating...  nothing much really.... oh, but in my mind I am so crafty.  I have a beautiful house overflowing with gorgeous quilts and needlework and full scrapbooks.  You will have to come visit and see my beautiful interior design skills as well.. my walls are painted in comforting tones to match my soft over stuffed furniture, and my children are playing beautiful songs on the piano while I bake cookies and tea for my guests.  

I am reading...   The Lord of the Rings.  This book, though full of battles and 'boy stuff' has such truth about life packed into it.  This go around (my second), i'm taking time to savor Tolkien's long and generous descriptions and poetry.  It helped that I layed in bed all day yesterday.  The hobbits have just made it to Rivendell.

I am hoping... That no one else gets sick.  The only ones left are JP and Daddy.  Oh and the handfull of relatives and friends we might have infected along the way this week... sorry!

Around the house... Chaos like you wouldn't believe.  But, I am experienced in chaos enough to know that this too will pass.

One of my favorite things... laying in bed after being sick and having my dear husband come up with a snack for me to see how I'm doing and give me a gentle kiss on my forehead.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... Cleaning the house, resuming school,  having a shower.

Here is picture thought I am sharing... 

 Go seePeggy's blog for all of this weeks entries.

Monday, October 06, 2008

just a bit of rambling

oh blogging... I love chatting about the silly little details of my chaotic life on here. I love scrolling through pages looking at how my children have grown, and how my own patience, joy and sense of humor have grown through them.  

I love reading all the other amazing blogs out there that are far more beautiful, witty and inspiring than my own. I love this wonderful outlet on the internet for moms who spend their days in service to those little ones around them.  

I wish I had more time for all of it, but of course, it's just a celebration of the real thing which is around me in person right beside me!!  As I type, my little JP is on my lap helping me push the right keys, and the other 4 angels are quietly sleeping in their beds.... soon to wake up, come down rubbing their eyes and looking for cereal and a smile from their mommy.

What a precious, lovely, blessed life I have been given.  

Oh, it can be so hard sometimes. Oh, I can get so so tired sometimes, and oh. the. noise.  But, I love it and I recognize that I am far more blessed than most people.  Thank you dear God for my children, my husband, my family, and my home.  Thank you for giving me this full life where I can stay home and work hard to meet the needs of all these souls in my care.  I am loving it.

This winter,  Sean and I will celebrate our 9th anniversary.  He wants me to think of something really special that we should do for our 10th.  I have a year to think and plan.  What should we do?  I'd love to go to Rome, or do that pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella... but those would take us too far away from our little monkeys.  I would love to visit St. Anne de Beaupre again and wander hand-in-hand through the streets of Old Quebec.  Perhaps I would be satisfied with just staying in a cabin in the mountains for a week and sleeping in, drinking wine and eating good meals in the quiet with my love.  

Any ideas?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Hard working students

Here are some samples of the kids work this week:
Z's learning the letter D. He did this very carefully at his kindergarten class. His teacher commented that he was a very busy worker that day. This was one of many sheets he had for me to take home.
This is E's sketch of a chair, obviously. I drew a chair from the other side, as I was fiddling around with the book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain". Her's looks better than mine .
Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 03, 2008

This would make a great Tshirt for my life

I plugged in my blogs address into wordle to see a fun word cloud of my blog.  It shows the frequency of the words as they appear in my posts.  

I love it!! click on the image to see a larger version.

Weekly report

Every week is filled to the brim with learning, errands, adventures and fun. This is mat man from the Handwriting Without Tears PreK book. H made him the other day. She is getting really good at following instructions and drawing things. He's made from the pieces that we usually use to put together letters.


Z is learning his plus 1 facts, and has really enjoyed his once-a-week Kindergarten class where they were counting apples, putting numbers in order and coloring apples different colors. Poor colorblind kid: the red apples were all colored green and the green apples were all colored yellow.

E is doing great in saxon 3. We have been learning about measuring, telling time, counting coins, adding doubles, double plus 1, and the +3 facts. All in all, math has been pretty easy so far.


We've finished the first 5 lessons. yahoo! Lots of vocabulary. Today we played a game with the flashcards, and I was surprised by how many words Z knows.

Language Arts:

Z is making great strides in writing. Today he was so fired up, he did 28 pages in his handwriting book. He learned all the captial letters, all the numbers and lots of the lower case letters. He is also getting good at sounding out 3 and 4 letter words with the short vowels. Teaching reading is so. much. easier. the second time around.

E is learning about adjectives and determiners and how to diagram sentences on paper. I never learned this as a child, and she already knows more grammar than her father :-) Did you know that adjectives tell what kind, how many, which one and whose? :-)
E is also enjoying reading. She is reading quickly and with good comprehension. I'm thrilled! Right now she is reading the 3rd book in the Happy Little Family series. After that, I'm not sure what I'll make her move onto. I'm having her read every afternoon for a good 30-45min from a book of my choosing, and then at bed time she can read whatever she wants. After each book, she does up a page for her reading notebook with a few sentences about the book and a picture, if she wants.

H is starting to learn a little school too! She cries if I don't let her do big girl schoolwork like her siblings, so she is enjoying working through the preK handwriting without tears book. It's a great book for her stage and is learning lots. She can make a big L, and an I. She has also done lots of coloring and counting, and learning her colors.


Ancient Greece is where we're settled for awhile. We've been busy reading Black Ships before Troy, and listening to Story Nory's collection of Greek Myths. We're learning about the Trojan Horse, fair Helen of Troy, and all the crazy adventures of Odysseys. I'm fascinated as I have never heard any of these stories before.


We learned about the Scientific Method, chemical reactions and what a solution is. We're excited to start all the fun experiments in our new chemistry book Super Science Concoctions.


On to a new book! E finished her piano adventures primer and is moving on to Piano Adventures 1. She is doing great and loves to play her songs every day.


we learned North, South, East and West and helped Little Bo Peep find her lost sheep while we were at it.
Posted by Picasa