January 31, 2013

In the Footsteps of the Saints Series

I was introduced to the In the Footsteps of the Saints series of saint stories by Brother Ernest when I attended a wedding this fall.  These are being re-printed by Mary's Books.  I must say that they are very enjoyable! They are rich in the faith yet simple enough for young minds.... without being watered down.  There are 3 levels. Level One is for those who are beginning early chapter books.  I have bought 2 full sets of these (10 books in each set).  The Level Two is for the next level, still young readers, but these are longer in length.  I have bought 2 full sets of these (5 books in each set).  There are more in both of those levels as well as the ones I bought... yes, there are many of these!  And they are being reprinted by a wonderful family!  This year they will also be working on reprinting the Level Three books.

You can buy them individually or in sets from Emmanuel Books.  Or from Immaculate Heart Books.


Due to a very large project I am involved in, I'm a little late in mentioning that we are now in the Penitential Season of Septuagesima.  Previous posts are found here.  The Church used to begin to fast during this season but now there are the 2-1/2 weeks of preparing oneself for the Great Lenten Fast.  So what are we doing to prepare ourselves for Lent? This is the time to think about what sin or fault to work on, what book we will read, what pleasures we will do without.  In this planning it will also include a particular plan:

How will I work on my weakness? Being average human beings, most of us aren't conquered by being thrown off our high horse like St. Paul.  Instead, most of us have to walk the slower route with small steps.  Pick a particular part of your sinfulness to work on. It may seem small to work on a little piece of our sinfulness but if we want to make progress, slow and steady wins the race.  You can always add on.

Do I have my spiritual reading or will I wait and order it on Ash Wednesday? No, this is the time to get that book (or two).  Be ready... be prepared. Know yourself and what you can handle in your spiritual reading.  Perhaps you are over-stressed right now, picking up some tedious bit of reading just might be too much and make you want to quit. It's ok to read simple things.  The point is to spend time in reflection and getting in the habit of making spiritual reading a part of our daily lives.  Although I greatly enjoy the richness of the great saints, sometimes it's more profitable to read some simple children's books.  For that matter, pick up the Baltimore Catechism and see if you know everything in it.  :)  As I teach my children I am amazed at how much I have forgotten, or never knew, or was awakened to in some way!

What pleasures to I find myself seeking that I could do without?  Computer time, TV, movies, video games, sweets, too much food, spending money, buying unneeded items....

Or perhaps I should take the opposite route?  Eat more vegetables, eat what I'm served, take a walk

That's just a start, but do... be prepared by making a plan for lent.... I should do that too! :)

Confirmation Preparation

As we near our next set of Confirmation Candidates in our family I thought I'd share some traditional resources for preparation with you.  Of course a regular daily routine of studying the faith on the level of the children is crucial and never ends, even as they get into their teens, tweens and adulthood.  So for starters, just continue with their (and your!) daily religious education course (and spiritual reading).

Preparation for Confirmation according to the Baltimore Catechism is available at Angelus Press HERE for $5.95 (Amazon has a copy for $102 if you just must have the highest most ridiculous price! Not saying there is any price on the study of the Faith :)
To go along with this, Lady Modesty has put together her own Confirmation Exam as well as a Certificate of Completion.  It is available HERE for only $3 for the Exam and $1 for the Certificate.  She is one of the most talented people I know, especially when it comes to writing her own course of studies for her children.

A RACE for Heaven Company has a wonderful Confirmation Reader-Retreat:  Read-Aloud Lessons, Stories and Poems for Young Catholics a total of 9 Lessons with Read-Aloud Stories and Poetry to go with each lesson talking about:  The Sacrament of Confirmation, Graces Bestowed in this Sacrament, Soldiers of Christ, A Perfect Christian, The Sign of the Cross, Pentecost, The Offering, God, the Holy Spirit, The Seven Gifts. This can be purchased HERE for  $18.95.  Read-Aloud stories comes from various older resources like King of the Golden City, The Ghost of Kingdom Come, Sr. Mary Josita's book Sing a Son of Holy Things, Mary Fabyan Windeatt Books, For Heaven's Sake, Fr. Lovasik's The Catechism in Stories:  The Creed, and Sacraments.  And more.

January 30, 2013

Double Fun

Friends of ours just had their 2nd set of twins exactly 2 years after their first set of twins... on the very same date. Here's a fun interview!  If you've been around here for a year, you'll perhaps remember their beautiful little Rosalia was born at 23 weeks, born live and lived for 5 hours.  And the blessing of their Rosalia Garden.

January 27, 2013

What We've Been Doing

 Playing house in Costco boxes
 Cleaning grubby faces
 Singing to Baby Jesus
 Of course she was only singing "Ahhhh, ahhhh, ahhh" at the top of her lungs since she doesn't talk. But who's complain'?  I've got 10 other bodies that talk enough for a dozen dozen.  I'm ok if my 1-1/2 year old isn't talking.   She does however say "Mommy" and something or other that has no spelling for Galadriel.
 She had given a little stuffed bunny to Baby Jesus and was singing an Ode to Jesus.
 Getting dancing tots off the tables. But the table is the size of a dance hall floor.  Just the same, I'm worried about their future.
 Puzzles, lots 'o puzzles
And Holy Week organization.  More Holy Week organization. And even more Holy Week organization.  This is the pretty picture,  meeting for 2 hours to get our binders synchronized.  When you find yourself with 5 Masses during Holy Week following the 1962 Missal and wanting to do it right... according to the 1962 Missal as Holy Mother Church requests... and weeding through layers of changes that happened just before 1962.... it's an overwhelming project.  But... fortunately it is a one-time organization... unless... of course... another Holy Father wishes to get his name in the Land O' Revisions, then we'll have some more work ahead of us in some other year.  :D
clarification:  It was my partner in musical crime who did all the hard work in research in going through all the revisions and finding what went with the 1962 missal, I only print music.  It's nice being the dummy :D 

And just for kicks?  Our wonderful Bishop has given us a date for the first Traditional Rite of Confirmation in our diocese in 1/2 a century or more!!!  And it will fall the week before Holy Week on the Feast of St. Joseph!  God Willing, Eleanor, Merry and Pippin will be confirmed.  When Pippin found out he jumped around shouting, "I'm going to be confirmed on my feast day! I'm going to be confirmed on my feast day!"  So our children's choir will be singing for a High Mass prior to the Confirmation.

January 21, 2013

It's Cold Tonight .....

* Wind chill values... 18 below to 25 below late this evening... 22
below to 30 below zero later tonight into Tuesday morning.

But for tomorrow......

Partly cloudy. Low of -2F. Winds less than 5 mph. Chance of rain 20%

..... now that is ODD.
Must be post-inaugural syndrome.

January 20, 2013

Happy Birthday Frodo

 Happy 13th Birthday, Frodo!  That brings the count to 4 teenagers:  16, 15, 14, 13.  Frodo opted for Eggs Benedict for breakfast, Vintage Brewery for lunch and pizza for dinner.

 I have so few spots for taking pictures because we have so many windows (that wasn't a complaint, I love windows, just mentioning from a picture-taking perspective which is why we commonly have a lot of glare!) anyway, one of the few spots happens to be in front of the bathroom door.  Odd.
 Marigold's ultimate favorite book is The Three Little Kittens... it is now on the top list of least favorites for Galadriel & Eowyn who could recite it in their sleep.
I never would have thought that 400 planks were so few.  But what kind of castle only has 2 towers?  (And don't say "Two Towers"! ha..ha)

*** Please note any new funsies at Trinity Acres blog is the talent of Lady Modesty!  ***

Sewing Party

 The Middle Girls (that's not them in the picture) went to an awesome sewing birthday party.
 Auntie Seamstress was the master coordinator in the sewing department.
 The girls made skirts of the prettiest prints.

 I see the pictures are a bit out of order here, but these are the adorable cupcakes... pink... of course.
 The girls all got their hand at the sewing machine and I have to admit all did a really great job. I did think a couple times that I'm not sure I want to get in a car with some of these girls the way they press "the pedal to the metal and the thing to the floor"!

 The girlies working on some thank you cards for Auntie Seamstress.
 Aren't those adorable skirts?
 Someone knows how to find the best seat in the house!

 Back at home.


Ski Day

 The 4 oldest went on a ski day trip with some of our homeschooling group.  The rest of us showed up to enjoy watching for a while.

 Please note Poppy's halo is shining.

 Eowyn bought hot cocoas for 7 (that's all you can get for $20. Yikes)

 Keva plank bridge. The talk in the house is now about whether they can make a bridge expanse over the center part of the loft, we'll need at least one or two more sets for that.  We shall see.

Frodo went from carving wooden spoons to carving daggers.  Hey, what can I say, it's what they use in Middle Earth.

Quote Wake-up Call

I snitched this quote from someone's signature line.  Methinks I'm going to frame this one as a reminder.

Fr. Fredrick Faber:  “We must remember that if all the manifestly good men were on one side and all the manifestly bad men on the other, there would be no danger of anyone, least of all the elect, being deceived by lying wonders. It is the good men, good once, we must hope good still, who are to do the work of Anti-Christ and so sadly to crucify the Lord afresh. Bear in mind this feature of the last days, that this deceitfulness arises from good men being on the wrong side.”

Paper Dolls

I laughed right out loud when I saw this set of paper dolls, thinking, "Really?!"  I mentioned this to Aragorn who replied: "Now Bilbo can have his own set to cut the heads off and no one can get mad!"  Reality paper dolls.

(oh... just for the record.... no we aren't getting these!)

January 13, 2013

Feast of the Holy Family

On the Traditional Calendar we celebrated the Feast of the Holy Family today.   This is such a beautiful feast day and one we, families, should really cling to in this age of our anti-family society.  We all know the typical general, big attacks-at-large on the family in our society today: abortion, contraception, impurity in the grossest ways, divorce, sinful (non)marriage.  But there are so many other attacks, particularly on the large family:  the ridicule, the demeaning comments, oh... there are many things.  However, these are actually blessings from God.  Since our goal as families is to imitate the Holy Family, we need to imitate the actual life of the Holy Family.  That means we need to live out the constant daily sacrifices necessary to  live a life of holiness and virtue and to pass that on to our children.

There are days, like today, that I wonder what I've been doing for the last 16-1/2 years since the children starting coming along.  I thought I was trying to raise good, upstanding Catholic children, capable of thinking, of living a life of virtue and holiness and just being plain ol' nice kids (who wear socks to Mass and don't have green marker on their face)!  I thought I was actually working at all this.  Today I wondered if that adage about sitting around doing nothing be eating bonbons was what I was doing all these years....   But alas, these types of days are just another way for God to teach us that we need humility, that we need the perfect and infinite humility of Jesus Christ in order to become holy.

We must accept all the humiliations, sacrifices, set-backs, irritations, hurtfulness, sorrows, as blessings from God, for they are merely His way of preparing us, of purifying us so that we can see Him one day in Heaven.  The family is the perfect place to learn humility because we can fool those out there but rarely can we fool our family.

Today we heard the Gospel about Christ being taken to Jerusalem, doing his duty in the Eyes of God by teaching in the Temple, how Our Blessed Mother and Joseph did not have perfect understanding of this and then how He (GOD!) went home and was subject to Mary and Joseph... for 30 years.  God, subject to mere human beings, His own creatures... for 30 years. So that is what we, too, must do, be willing, as parents, to live a life of self-sacrifice and die to ourselves to raise our children as best we can by the Grace of God.  The Grace will be there but we need to ask for it, we need to accept it.  God will provide the graces necessary but it will also mean, as it did to Our Lady, that our hearts will be pierced, that we will have much to ponder in our hearts, that we will need to be willing to make all the sacrifices necessary to bring all our children to Heaven.  That's an overwhelming thought when you are going to have your 12th child.   And these sacrifices will come daily. Not just when they take off for their future vocation or crisis comes up, but daily.  Every day.  Multiple times a day.  Multitudinous times a day.  No matter what they do in life, we, as parents, will always be responsible for them.  Thank our Good God Above for priests who are there to provide the Graces through the Sacraments so that we can raise our children.

And what a way to celebrate! Don't laugh but these are our first Christmas cookies but we will call them Holy Family Cookies since we were blessed with this gigantic basket and pail full of cookies just in time to celebrate today. Aragorn's sister has always made the most amazing plethora of cookies, candies and goodies every Christmas.  We are finally well enough to enjoy some treats.

Happy Feast Day to all those beautiful families I'm so blessed to know, who are so diligent in raising their families. Of course you probably don't know who you are because you feel as unholy as I do! haha  May God bless our families as we so need it in this world today.

January 12, 2013

Nothing Much

 I had diligently color coordinated everyone's Christmas outfits for a very reasonable price.  But it wasn't until  Epiphany that everyone got dressed up.  Did we take a picture of everyone? Oh no, of course not.  Why not?  To quote my children, "I dunno."
 More fun on The Thing.

 Keva Planking tall towers has been a frequent thing around here.  But it is also a great way to make battle zones with little army guys.  I've heard that boys don't ever outgrow little army men or legos.... and I suppose Keva Planks.

 This is the tallest to date. Of course to go any taller will mean another bag 'o planks. This one is 400 planks tall.
 Encouraging Marigold to pull out a plank.  This time it fell on her head, poor thing.
 I know, I wondered why that picture was on the camera.

 Sam just finished making a new table top for us. We had a 8 x 4 foot table around which we squeezed in 12 chairs and a stool.  We were jam packed.  There was much elbow fighting and fear of someone entering into their personal space.  (is there really such thing as personal space in a house of 13?
Our new table is awesome! Just shy of 11 feet long by 50 inches wide.  Eventually we'll build some benches and use a combination of benches and chairs.  So you ask what we do about table cloths.  I was able to order 54" wide oilcloth cut to 12 feet long.  And oilcloth comes such pretty colors and prints.  As far as a fancy pretty cloth... well, we aren't fancy people... sooo... that might never happen anyway :D  Or... we'll sew a few together :)