Expressions from our Youngest

Expressions from our Youngest
Love it!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Easy Stew Recipe

1)  Brown cut up stew meat coated with flour in pot.

2)  Chop up some onions to put in with the meat.

3)  Fill water up to the level of stew meat.

4)  Put in 1 to 2 Beef Boullion Cubes

5)  Cover and Cook in oven at 350 for 1 1/2 hours.

6)  Cut up desired amount of potatoes to put in and desired amount of frozen vegetables.  (You may need to add water but not too much.

7)  Cover and Cook in oven at 350 for 1 1/2 hours.

Eileen is Grateful

A Thankful Woman's Blessings blog is a great way to take the time to think about what has occurred during your week and recapture the moments the Lord has blessed you with.  I'm having some very challenging times lately due to health reasons and recording these moments helps me to know that things aren't as bad as they feel at times.  Here is my list of five events I am thankful for this past week.  To participate, just click on the link.

1)  I am grateful that my husband was able to bring my two daughters and their friend to the March for Life Rally in WDC.  It is one of the most moving events I've ever been too.

2)  I am thankful that a group of Catholic couples in the Catholic Family Movement called us to find a babysitter this past weekend.  My daughter was able to babysit their children and make some extra money.

3)  I am so glad that my husband was able to bring my two sons back to college because I was very sick for about three days straight with some kind of flu/virus.  He is so awesome to take care of all these things when I can't help out.

4)  It was a wonderful opportunity to go out with just my husband the other night to a talk one of the teachers gave at my daughter's high school.  It was called, "The Development of Moral Reasoning in Adolescent Girls."  It was interesting to hear some of the things teachers experience with the girls during school hours and the different ways they interact with the girls to help them grow.

5)  I am thankful that another homeschool mom is able to help with a recommendation for my younger daughter's admission to Catholic high school.  May I ask your prayers that she is accepted at this wonderful school?

Monday, January 16, 2012

How to Have a H.E.A.R.T.

HEART Book Club Banner1 HEART Book Club Link up

It's time to talk about Chapter one in Rachael Carmen's book called, "How to Have a Heart for Your Kids."  I really liked her comment, "By seeking God first, we are going before our families, paving the way for our kids.  We are clearing a path through the undergrowth that is everyday life and showing our children how to put Him first in all things."  This is so critically important because it involves the very reason we were created by God. 

We were created specifically to know, love, and serve God.  Everyday life in the public school and/or many entities in our society now are void of Christ and his love.  Therefore, as parents we are given the opportunity to clear this critical path through the muck in our world for our children to have eternal life.  This includes a life here on earth aware of the provisions, love, and blessings we've received from the Almighty that helps us desire to grow closer to Him every day through study, prayer, and service to others. 

Every day life is empty without Christ.  There is evidence all around us, even in scripture, of those who live on earth without believing in the One and Only Lord.  We can not depend on others, like the state, to fulfill this most important component to our lives.  In fact, we can throw everything this world has to offer us away and only have the love of the Lord and we would be well off.  It is better to be poor and know the Lord than to be rich with all the material items in this world. 

We are called as parents to present our children with the richness of our faith.  A loving and gentle presentation is most effective when it comes from parents and is initiated at a young age in the child.  This will result in the higher probability of our children devoting their entire lives to virtuous pursuits.  It is much harder to loose our way and then have to break bad habits or sinful ways to return to the Lord.  Of course, we are all sinners and must repent.  Nevertheless, homeschooling enhances the lives of children by permitting parents with the time and bonding needed to bring our young ones to the Lord so they are armed with the truth as they confront the world.

Rachael also says that, "having a heart for the things of God began with me calling out to Him in desperation."  This also happened to me but not regarding homeschooling.  I needed to call out to God in desperation before we even had children, early in our marriage, because I was assaulted in a woman's restroom.  Afterwards, it was difficult to keep a job.  We lasted four years before we had children and in this time I was able to come before the Lord in my lonliness and desperation.  This time prepared me to be equipped with a very good first year for homeschooling even though the high chair was my desk!  I still needed to learn that I didn't have to work to be important though.  This was part of my 'muck' I had to cut through because it was taught to me this way and I believed it.  Homeschooling removes this type of thinking from the minds of our children.

I really am enjoying Rachael's book and can relate to much of it.  Homeschooling isn't always easy as she points out.  It also involves working on our own relationship with the Lord.  It is definately worth all the hard work though!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Eileen is Grateful

I love participating in Judy's meme at Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings.  Below are the five things I am thankful for this past week.  Please click on the link to participate.

1)  My beautiful children.

2)  My wonderful friends who help with our homeschooling co-op.

3)  My son's fractured clavicle does not need surgery.  It happened when he was snowboarding.  He has to wear a sling for 6 weeks to help with the healing process.

4)  The results of my blood test that finally reveal what is causing my fatigue and symptoms.  I have Anemia and am taking iron (60mg).  I still have to go for more tests to see if the docs can figure out what is causing it.  Please remember me in your prayers as it is very difficult to accomplish things lately - including homeschooling.  I do not want to send my five year old to school yet.

5)  All the friends my sons have that came over to visit Brandyn after he got hurt.  It is torture for a parent to see your child in pain.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Gilded Age (late1800-1900)

We covered some areas of importance during the Gilded Age in America with the homeschool class I'm teaching for middle schoolers.   I thought I would share them with moms who would like their own children to know about them too.  We need to know the truth about our history because there are some who try to teach falsehoods about it.  I believe it is good to share any information with others to stop this dangerous trend in our younger generation.  The following are some simple and important facts about the Gilded Age:

1)  Gilded Age and/or Industrial Revolution (late 1800's - early 1900's):  Major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on social, economic, and cultural conditions of the times.  Men moved from farms to crowded cities, no longer owning the means by which they could support themselves, becoming dependent on businessmen and factory owners.

2)  Capitalism:  The system by which a few men control most of the country's wealth.  This became the dominant economic system.  (thus far - not perfect but the most effective)

3)  April 14, 1865 - Assasination of Abraham Lincoln:  Both Lincoln and his predescessor, Johnson, wanted to restore the South through peaceful means.  After Lincoln's death, the Radical Republicans in Congress ignored Johnson and tried to punish the South, even with military force.

4)  1865:  Radical Republicans were lead by Thaddeus Stevens and Charles Sumner

5)  1866 - Black Codes:  Legislation passed by Southern states at the end of the Civil War to control the labor, migration, and other activities of newly freed slaves.

6)  1866:  Ku Klux Klan (KKK)

7)  May 4, 1886 - Chicago Haymarket Square bombing:  Violent Union rebellion

8)  1866 - Civil Rights Act and 14th Amendment:  The Civil Rights Act bestowed citizenship on the African American and granted the same civil rights to all persons born in the U.S. (except Native Americans).  The 14th Amendment defined national citizenship to include African Americans, denied national office to Confederate leaders, and declared that no state could "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due protection of the laws."  The last quoted clause was probably the most important item to come from Reconstruction.  The vagueness of the wording lent itself to any interpretation which the Supreme Court would use the 14th Amendment to justify, among other things, the killing of unborn children. 

9)  1878 - Knights of Labor:  The birth of the labor movement.  General reform of working conditions and just wages.

10)  1880 Election:  Patronage vs. Civil Service:  1) Patronage - Appointing office holders because they are political friends, and 2) Civil Service - Men are presumably appointed for merit.

11)  1880 - Railroad reaches Santa Fe and brought end to frontier life (cowboys).  (Also effected Catholic missionaries work of De Smet and Lamy).

12)  1884 Election:  James G. Blaine (R) lost to Cleveland (D).  He lost the key state of New York because of anti-Catholicism.  Cleveland was the first Democratic president since the Civil War.  On a visit with Blaine, a protestant mimister referred to the Democrats as the party of "Rum, Romanism and Rebellion" (meaning drunkenness, Catholics, and the Civil War).  Because Blaine did not contradict the slur, the Irish Catholics in New York almost to a man voted for Cleveland, thereby throwing the states electoral votes to the Democrats.

13) 1886:  Catholic Church emerges strong after Civil War.

14)  December 8, 1886:  American Federation of Labor (AFL) - New labor movement led by Samuel Gompers

15)  1866 - Purchase of Alaska:  Purchased by Secretary of State Seward for $7,200,000.  Americans didn't like this until gold was found near Alaska.

16) May 15, 1869 - Transcontinental Railroad:  Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads meet in Utah.

17)  1877 - Jim Crow Laws:  Racial segragation

18)  1890 - Sherman Anti-Trust Act:  The only significant attempt by government to check the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few.  Though its intentions were good, the wording of the act was vague, and those charged with its enforcement were lackadaisical.  Hence the existence of the law did not prevent the continued growth of monopolies (control of almost an entire industry by a few men).

19)  1892 - Populist Party (Cleveland):  Advocated an inflationary increase in the money supply and a curb on the power of banks and big business.

20)  1896 - Gold found near Alaska:  Everyone suddenly happy with purchase.

21)  February 9, 1898 - DeLome Letter:  Heart's Journal pulished this stolen letter from the Spanish ambassador, in which he called President McKinley "weak and bidder for the admiration of the crowd".  One of two reasons Spanish American War began.

22)  February 15, 1898 - U.S. Battleship Maine:  Sunk in Havana Harbor killing 260 Americans. Cry became "Remember the Maine".  Second incident starting Spanish American War.

23)  July 7, 1898:  Annexation of Hawaii

24)  April 21, 1898 - July 26, 1898:  Spanish American War lasted four months.  Easiest war America fought.  Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders fought too.

25)  1900 - Platt Amendment:  Cuban concessions to U.S.  1) Cuba would never enter into any treaty with any foreign power impairing Cuban independence; 2) The U.S. was authorized to intervene to preserve Cuban independence and maintain law and order; 3) and Cuba agreed to sell or lease to the U.S. lands necessary for naval stations.

26)  1890 - 1920 - Progressive Movement:  Goal was to give people more participation in government.  Some items include (more on this later):
a) direct primary
b) initiative
c) referendum
d) recall
e) 17th Amendment
f) Increased state control over education
g) New philosophy of Pragmatism

27) 1901 - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.:  T. Roosevelt appointed to U.S. Supreme Court.  He held the position for 30 years. His philosophy is summarized by his statement that the law "corresponds at any given time with what is understood to be convenient.  That involves continual change, and there can be no eternal order."  But law can be fair only if it is rooted in the eternal principles of the law of God, as reflected in the Natural Law and Divine Positive Law (Revelation).

28)  1901 - WWI - Muckrakers:  Journalists who exposed scandals in government and business.

29)  November 18, 1903 - Acquisition of Panama Canal Zone by T. Roosevelt

30)  1907 - T. Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine:  The U.S. did not merely give itself the right to prevent European nations from interfering in the affairs of Latin America, but to intervene actively on its own:  "The adherence of the United States to the Monroe Doctrine may force the United States, however reluctantly, in flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence, to the exercise of an international police power."

31) 1909 - 16th Amendment (Taft):  Permits federal income tax.

Monday, January 9, 2012

How to Have a H.E.A.R.T.

HEART Book Club Banner1 HEART Book Club Link up

I am participating in Amanda Pelser's book discussion on How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids by Rachael Carman.  This week we're focusing on the Introduction of the book where Rachael sets the stage of how her homeschooling journey begins.

I can really relate to Rachael's story because I had many things I had to learn about the role of faith in my life after my high school years.  I was a lost sheep for a little while until my first serious boyfriend cheated on me.  After we broke up, I stopped listening to the wrong people and spent much more time with my family and returned to Church.  I had to learn the hard way and God supplied me with the fortitude and wisdom to break away from the wrong crowd.  I had to begin building up my relationship with God - just like Rachael had to deepen her relationship with God more.

Rachael did not plan on homeschooling after she first had children, and she often thought of returning to her teaching career when her son was old enough to go off to school.  My experience is similar.  I used to say to myself, "I would never homeschool."  I spent two years after my first two oldest were born trying to find a job and holding some temporary positions while I brought my two sons to a daycare.    I thought I had to work in order to be important.  A very similar feeling to Rachael's statement, "I had bought into the world's lie that I had to harden my heart to find happiness as a modern woman, when in fact, true joy can come only by keeping the heart tender."

We also put our oldest into public school kindergarten like Rachael did.  This was only to find out that my son already knew what they were learning.  Rachael pulled her son out when his teacher couldn't put him on the right bus during the first few days.  My son went his whole kindergarten year but, as soon as it was over, the homeschooling began for all five of my children.  Also, the administration at my son's public school wasn't customer service oriented at all.  It was extremely uncomfortable anytime I had to deal with them.  I liked his teacher but she was stuck in a system where she promised more for my son and couldn't deliver it.

Rachael was much more fortunate to live in a neighborhood with three other homeschool moms to have fellowship with.  Our neighborhood didn't have other homeschooled families.  Therefore, we were on our own (in human terms, not spiritual terms) in the beginning.  As the years went by, we became more involved with co-op groups through the Church and various communities.  We have met some awesome families.  Rachael said those homeschool friends had a great influence on her.

Rachael and her husband were convicted by the Holy Spirit after attending a homeschool conference.  I was convicted after the kindergarten experience of my son but my husband realized the benefits of homeschooling after we attended a conference too.  When he verbalized his desire to homeschool the kids, I couldn't stop crying.  It was like chains that were binding me finally broke off.  I knew what my children needed more so than the school system.  So there are some more areas of similarity in my own journey where I can relate to Rachael's journey.

The statement that struck me the most in Rachael's story was, "You have given them everything - toys, trips, trivia, teams - but you've given them no target, no testimony, no Teacher."  If we want our kids to have a heart for others and for the Lord, we need to reclaim our God-assigned place as parents.  There is so much joy that comes from homeschooling.  Now, I'm happy to say, I have no desire to be in the working world yet.  I would have missed witnessing the growth of my beautiful children.  They are all so beautiful.  I have two in college, one at a great Catholic high school, and the two youngest still home with me.  Our target is eternal life, we have a Christian witness and testimony, and the greatest Teacher ever - Our Lord and Savior!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Peaceful Reform Movements

I took the opportunity to read Newt's book "Real Change" now that he is a GOP candidate.  There is no doubt that this man is a great historian.  I thought I would share with you how he lays out previous peaceful reform movements in our country that may also give us hope for a brighter future.  This is also pertinent to the history class I am teaching for my daughter.  Therefore, you may teach you kids this too.  They are as follows (except for Revolutionary War and Civil War):

1)  The founding fathers led an eight year revolution (1775-1783) changing the structure of government from the British Imperial model to a loose Confederation of Independant States.

2)  The Federalists decided that the Articles of Confederation were not working and launched a campaign for a stronger government by:

     o  Calling a Constitutional Convention

     o  Wrote the Constitution over a four month period

     o  Developed a nationwide campaign to adopt it (the Federalist Papers)

     o  Ran the new federal government for its first twelve years

3)  Thomas Jefferson and his allies decided that their vision of America was very different from the Federalists.  They favored:

     o  Smaller government

     o  Less spending

     o  Popular authority to limit the power of judges

     o  Limited the authority of the bureaucracy

     o  Created the Democratic-Republican Party-now simply the Democratic Party (my how things change!)

     o  Won control in 1800 and gradually became so popular that the Federalist Party disappeared

*  The Jeffersonians won a peaceful revolution that transformed the power structure of America.

4)  In 1824 Andrew Jackson and his supporters started a Populist rebellion of the frontier against the Eastern establishment.  They:

     o  Established the "spoils system" of giving government jobs to political supporters

     o  Remained a dominant force in American politics and government for a generation

     o  Spirit of domestic populism and foreign policy assertiveness has shaped America to this day

5)  Emergance of Republican Party as the new alternative party (slavery crisis led to collapse of Whig Party).  Lincoln Republicans:

     o  Fought a Civil War

     o  Radically strengthened the national government

     o  Shifted focus of American polical philosophy from Constitution back to Declaration of Independence

     o  Encouraged the growth of modern America by a combination of: 
               a)  the Homestead Act
               b)  the Land Grant Colleges
               c)  the transcontinental railroad

*  Power of Lincoln Republican majority is seen with the fact that they held the White House for 44 of the next 52 years (only Grover Cleveland won presidency as Democrat between 1860 and 1912).

6)  The Progressive Movement was a 20 year period from 1896 to 1916 (reform ended by WWI) of bipartisan efforts of change to stop corruption of big-city political machines combined with the cynical lobbying power of large corporations.  There was a general consensus that the emerging technical revolution (electric lights, telephones, electric trolleys, automobiles, motion pictures) called for a parallel modernization of government.  Examples of reform efforts include:

     o  The Referendum

     o  the Initiative

*  President Theodore Roosevelt (Republican) and Woodrow Wilson (Democrat) came to personify the reform mood of the era.

7)  The Great Depression led to a consolidation of federal power under the leadership of FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) and the New Deal Democrats.  Their formula was:

     o  Tax
     o  Spend
     o  Elect

*  Formula was so powerful that the Dems controlled the US House of Representatives for 60 years (except for 4 years, after elections of 1946 and 1952).

8)  1980 President Ronald Reagan brought the last great transformation representing a fundamental break with:

     o  the liberal model of high taxes

     o  bureaucratic government

     o  a welfare state that didn't work

     o  a foreign policy of appeasement that resulted in humiliation

*  Government had deteriorated from FDR's New Deal to Lyndon Johnson's Great Society to the manifest failures of President Jimmy Carter.  Reagan stood for:

     o  deep tax cuts to encourage investment in jobs and new companies

     o  deregulation to liberate America's entrepreneurs

     o  sound endorsement of American civic culture

     o  a firm policy of defeating the Soviet Union and ending the Cold War with a victory for freedom