Expressions from our Youngest

Expressions from our Youngest
Love it!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Eileen is Grateful

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  How appropriate to participate in Judy's meme over at Thankful Woman's Blessings to list five things we are thankful for on this special holiday.  Just click on the link to participate.

1)  I am so grateful for my two college sons that have come home to spend Thanksgiving with us.  They are so handsome!  They will probably be bringing their girlfriends over to the house for a visit.  It is so nice to see them steeped in faith and participating in family traditions.

2)  I am grateful that I was able to prepare two different kinds of stuffing and a sweet potato casserole before yesterday.  Therefore, I will be able to just pop them in the oven to heat up.

3)  I am grateful that today my illness is not bothering me as much as it was yesterday.  I have PTSD and yesterday I had a very rough day.  I'm lucky I prepared the food ahead of time because if I had waited, I would probably not be able to function effectively.

4)  I am grateful for the rosary that I was able to offer prayers for a nice man that passed away from my high school class.  In fact, he was the first boy I ever kissed in 7th grade.  I know he was a good man.  I wanted to attend his funeral but with my illness flaring up, I was unable to go.

5)  I am thankful that my daughters are getting a good education.  It is such a joy to see them grow and develop a strong relationship together!  With my illness problems effecting homeschooling at times, the Lord has given us a chance to foster their growth in the heart of the Church.  I am so grateful for their Catholic school.  I would not have it any other way.  I am also grateful to be homeschooling my six year old son.  This is indeed a great blessing!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Shop at Sears this Christmas

Just something to consider during the Holidays…

Sears - Christmas  shopping this year.

I know I needed this  reminder, since Sears isn' t always my first choice. It's amazing when you think  of how long the war has lasted and Sears hasn' t withdrawn from their  commitment. Could we each buy at least one thing at Sears this year? What  commitment you say? < /span> How does Sears treat its employees who are  serving in our military? By law , they are required to hold their jobs open and  available, but nothing more. Usually, people take a big pay cut and lose  benefits as a result of being on active duty. Sears is voluntarily paying the  difference in salaries and maintaining all benefits, including medical insurance  and  bonus programs, for all employees who are serving.

I submit that Sears is  an exemplary corporate citizen and should be recognized for its contribution. I  suggest we all shop at Sears at least once this year. Be sure to find a manager  to tell them why we are there so the company gets the positive reinforcement  & feedback it well deserves.

Pass it on.

I decided to check this  before I sent it forward. So I sent the following e -mail to the Sears Customer  Service Department:

I received this e -mail  and I would like to know if it is true. If it is, the internet may have just  become one very good source of advertisemen t for your company. I know I would  go out  of my way to buy products from Sears instead of another store for a  like item, even if it's cheaper at that store.

This is their answer to  my e -mail:

Dear Customer:
Thank you for contacting  Sears. The information is factual. We appreciate your positive feedback. Sears  regards service to our country as one of greatest sacrifices our men and women  can make. This is the " least" we can do for them. We are happy to do our part  to lessen the burden they bear at this time.

Bill Thorn

Please pass this on .  Sears needs to be recognized for this outstanding contribution and we need to  show them as Americans, we do appreciate what they are doing for our Military!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Homeschool Blessings

I am participating in Judy's meme at Homeschool Blessings to list five reasons why I am thankful to homeschool my young children.

1)  During weeks that have holidays, we can school at a more relaxed pace so that I can clean and cook for company coming.  I do not have the mentality to do it all at once but need to clean and prepare food little by little for our big Thanksgiving feast.  My husband is the opposite.  When he cleans, he goes all out all at one time and you have to stay out of his way.

2)  I am so grateful that my six year old and I can say the pledge, devotion, morning offering, mysteries and decade of the rosary every morning before we start our work.  When my older kids were home with us, we would say the morning offering and rosary or prayers in the afternoon after we completed our work.  This is because we had too many schedules to juggle and more work to complete during the early part of our day when we worked best or more efficiently.  Both ways were quite nice but things change as my family grows too.  We have to do what works best.

They do not pray in public schools and this is a travesty.  My daughters are blessed to attend a Catholic high school where they attend Mass every day.  This school is indeed a diamond in the rough.  If we didn't have this school to attend, we would be homeschooling the girls through high they were up until ninth grade.

3)  We read the bible nearly every day.  In fact, I'll be going to the library tonight to get more books that we can do journal entries that focus on virtues of characters and references of bible verses.  They do not open God's Word in public schools.  See my facebook page ( and click on a link to try some of the sample stories and verses I've included on my website.

4)  All the fruits of our homeschooling efforts are bearing fruit and I love to see my children grow and learn.  As you can see, the faith is extremely important to us and my college sons are very active at the Catholic Student Center in college.  If we did not homeschool and chose to send them to public school during their elementary years, this may not be a reality.

5)  We can use the computer when ever we need to to do research.  I also have my son practicing underlining subjects and verbs in his sentences he creates on the computer.  He can not type paragraphs good yet as he is only first grade.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Going to Mass: More Important than Your Birthday

Helping Children Appreciate the Mass

Does your family celebrate any special events/traditions together?  Our family celebrates birthdays and special holidays together.  Our family has made it a tradition to remember and celebrate these special events together.  Parents teach their children to understand which events in their lives are the most important.  For example, most parents consider their child's birthday a momentous occasion.  It gives me a happy feeling inside when my family and friends tribute me on my birthday.  They are showing me that they care about me when they have a special card or celebration for me on my birthday.  Human beings tribute each other on their birthdays or when something arises in their lives as being an important step in their growth as a virtuous person.  A child's birthday can signify that one has become a closer step to living a life as a responsible adult.  Responsibility and virtue are qualities that Jesus Christ displayed while he was on earth.  God loves people who try to be kind to others and lead a good life.  If people tribute each other for birthdays, how much more should we pay tribute to God, our Creator, for giving us this life we have on earth.  After all, we wouldn't be alive to celebrate birthdays if it wasn't for God's loving wisdom in creating us!  If birthdays are important to us, honoring and paying tribute to God at Mass should be much more important than having a birthday.

God gave us a set of laws to obey called the Ten Commandments.  The third commandment is to remember to keep holy the Sabbath day or remember to honor God at Mass on Sundays for the Catholic.  This commandment helps us to be responsible towards God and others which helps us to live virtuously if we want to be happy.  God sends us graces to help us live virtuously when we keep and follow His commandments.  Shouldn't paying tribute to God at Mass be just as natural and common as sending a birthday wish to a loved one or special friend?  Too many do not even attend Church on Sundays.  Why does it appear God is sometimes forgotten about in our world when people do not try to keep this important commandment?  The Mass is one of the most beautiful gifts God has given to us.  Going to Church is one of the most important traditions we can regularly practice if we want to be true to God and our discipleship.  God has told us this in the bible.  If we obey God's laws, go to Church, read the bible, and practice authentic discipleship; we will come to see more and more beauty at Mass and our world around us by putting God first in our lives.

The Birthday of Jesus

Do you ever wonder how Mary and Joseph celebrated the birthday of their son, Jesus, when he was a young boy?  Do you think they had any idea that one day people all over the world would honor Jesus on his birthday at Christmas?  Maybe or maybe not.  They did know one thing for sure.  Mary and Joseph knew that Jesus was the Son of God and promised Savior.

God chose Mary and Joseph because he trusted them with His only son and he was pleased with them as they honored and payed tribute to God by participating in the traditions of the chosen people (including the Ten Commandments) and reading scripture.  No one else really knew that Jesus was God's Chosen One like Mary and Joseph did while he was a young boy, unless it was revealed to them by God.  I can think of a few people, such as, the three wise men, the shepherds, Elizabeth, and Simeon at Christs' presentation who were knowledgeable that Christ was the Son of God because God revealed it to them.

Most other people had to wait until Christ grew up and began his public ministry to believe He was the Son of God and learn the value of discipleship.  We are so stubborn that many people did not believe until Christ died and rose from the dead.  Christ knew He would have to suffer to pull people to Him.  We, as human beings, did not understand this fully and He had to teach us and show us by example so that we may all be able to believe.  His entire life shows us how much God loves us.  We should do everything we can to learn about Jesus so that we can live the way of the Cross and never forget the lessons he taught us.  Going to Mass is one of the best ways to live out true discipleship.

We remember special events in Jesus' life when we go to Mass to receive the Eucharist and hear God's Word.  Remembering these events at the Mass and in our daily routines will enhance and improve our Faith in Jesus as our one true Savior.  We should remember to go to Mass just like we remember our birthdays.  Would you forget your birthday?  God would never forget the day you were born and that He gave you life. Therefore, we should remember to keep God's special day holy.  We should not ever feel like we're missing something when we to to Church.  There is nothing more kind and important we can do for Christ, ourselves, and even our world.  We should never feel that we are wasting our  time in talking and learning about Christ (as some want us to believe).

We know Jesus did come and live and die for us.  He grew up like every child does and the Church provides us with many holy traditions to remember how Christ was revealed to us.  The Church provides us with His true identity.  The truth about Christ will bring us happiness.  Keeping God's commandments, like going to Church, helps us realize that life is the most valuable gift from God.  Celebrating the gift of life is honored in the Church Christ gave us.  What can be more important or blessed than the very life we have now?  All life is indeed holy and a blessing from God and we should encourage each other to rejoice about life.  Similar to the way families rejoice in each others birthdays.  Rejoicing about life should be just as natural as wishing someone happy birthday.  We shouldn't wonder about whether or not we should attend the Mass instituted by Christ for believers.  We don't wonder about wishing someone happy birthday...and this isn't even a law.  We should know how important Mass is for us.

A Tradition for Life

Therefore, celebrating any of the traditional events with the Church should be more common than celebrating a birthday wish with a loved one.  After all, it is the third commandment.  Every week we should come to the Lord with praise.  Too often our society pushes God aside when He should be the very center of our lives.  We can use the tradition of a birthday celebration to help us to understand that we should thank God for giving us this gift of life.  A birthday is remembering the day we were born and took our first breath of air.

Jesus may have been too poor for an expensive birthday party, but He was rich in spirit.  He is the finest example to us in leading a good and virtuous life.  We do have a reason to celebrate our life in Christ.  This is one of the reasons we celebrate at the holy sacrifice of the Mass every week.  Each time we go to Mass, we acknowledge how valuable life is in this world.  Life is extremely valuable and God wants us to praise Him for giving us our life.  In fact, anything we encounter in life that is good we can acknowledge before God and men and thank God for it.  What could be more important than the love God has for us.  Let's return that love to Him by going to Mass.  We make Jesus feel special when we go to Mass, just as you feel special on your birthday when others have kind greetings for you.

Traditions can include activities people perform during a birthday celebration or at the Mass.  It is good when families get together to acknowledge an individual on their birthday as a tradition.  It is a noble act when we get together to acknowledge Jesus at the Mass as a tradition (and law).  Today, many birthday traditions can include eating cake, opening presents, and playing games.  Traditions at Mass include bringing up gifts of bread and wine, reading the bible, and going to communion.  There is no law that says we have to perform traditional birthday activities.  Although, it sure gives someone a happy feeling when friends and family spend time to participate in these activities.  Nevertheless, there is a law that says we should attend Church on the Sabbath.  It is God's law.  People show the individual or Jesus how special they are whether at a birthday or at Church.  Friends and family enjoy each others company at a birthday and want to make the individual happy on their special day.  People who go to Church regularly want to make Jesus happy by remembering the day of His Passion.  Remember, a birthday can be acknowledged or conducted in many different ways.  A Mass is a sacred event that must be conducted under the authority of the Pope who Christ set up to lead our Church. Oftentimes, adults do not always have a birthday party but send birthday cards to each other or make a special phone call if they can't be together.  These are also very special ways to acknowledge an individual's birthday.  We can not call Jesus on the phone, but we can pray to Him...which is even easier.  Nevertheless, Jesus is always honored at the Mass the same way.  The only parts of the Mass that may change from week to week are the readings, homily, and songs.  It usually follows the same basic format for worship.  The Mass is a holy gift from the Lord that is far more important than anyone's birthday party.

Remember, the Church permits us to perform a noble attempt at salvation, not just a profitable one.  We should try to use all the resources God has provided us to enable us to be with Jesus in heaven one day.  If someone is noble, the person acts in a way that is idealistic and considerate.  It means the best way possible.  We should participate in the life of the Church.  A noble attempt at salvation does not only save us but enables us to share in more the the divine graces so graciously poured out to us from God.  These graces make us more beautiful in the eyes of God.  Therefore, He will pull us closer to Him.  Just as a father hugs a child when he or she does something good.  Wouldn't it be nice to be hugged by God?  Heaven must feel like a birthday every day!

Increasing Value

Friends and family who choose to participate in an individual's birthday celebration or give them a kind card send a message that says, "LET'S INCREASE THE VALUE OR WORTH OF OUR RELATIONSHIP."  A relationship is the connection existing between two or more people.  The most important relationships we have are with God and our family.  We also have a relationship with our friends.  Increasing the value of our relationships happen when people spend quality time together or do kind acts for one another.  Obeying our parents is another way to increase the relationship with our parents.  It is also one of God's laws as the fourth commandment.  When we spend time being kind to a person, whether with our parents, or at a birthday party, or at Church, we can build up and improve our relationship with them and God.

Jesus taught us to be kind to one another.  Remember, Jesus said, "What you did to the least of my brothers you did for me."  It is wise to be kind and virtuous in our relationships.  The way we treat someone on his or her birthday, or any day for that matter, is far more important than eating cake or getting presents.  Friendship and family relationships are the more important gifts we receive than the ones we open.  God also gives us gifts when we go to Mass to honor Him and keep His commandments.  If we want to receive the gift of God's grace, we must keep His commandments and honor Him.

Once we reach a certain age, we should realize that the days of having a birthday just because we want to receive gifts is over.  Now that we are older, we begin to know the real treasure lies in the time spent towards building up the relationship with a friend.  Just as going to Mass and praying regularly builds up our relationship with God.  Birthday traditions have been celebrated for years and years and to this day remain to be a special event in an individual's life.  Well, so too have the traditions existed in the Church, and we build up our relationship with God when we choose to follow his commandments.

Keeping the commandments exist in the Church Christ founded for a reason.  While there is no law that says we need to participate in birthday traditions (yet we choose to out of the goodness of our hearts), there is a law stating that we should participate in keeping the commandments.  It is God's law.  The third commandment, written by God and given to Moses on Mount Sinai, is to keep holy the Sabbath.  Going to weekly Mass is a way to honor and thank God for all that we have in life.  The Church, through the saving power of Jesus, permits us to more fully receive and respond to God's very love here on earth.  Why we even remember the last supper at every Mass.  The last supper is truly the most important meal that ever took place on earth.  This was the meal Christ had with his disciples just before he was put to death on the Cross.  Every time we kneel before God and receive Jesus in holy communion, we tell him that we believe in Him, are thankful for Him, and want to follow Him.  Jesus listens when we pray.  It must make Him feel very special when we come to Him.  Even more special than friends and family can make you feel on your birthday because it is a personal choice which fosters our growth in discipleship.

Participation is a Wise Choice

People who chose to participate in the life of the Church can send a message to God that says, "LET'S INCREASE THE VALUE OR WORTH OF OUR RELATIONSHIP."  Does this sound familiar?  It should.  Similar to when one devotes time to an individual on their birthday.  It is even more important to spend time with God because, through prayer and worship, God will provide us what we need and comfort us in times of trouble.  Remember, we must love God with all our heart, soul, and minds as the first three commandments tell us.  Our friends can't provide us with what God can provide us with here on earth.  Time with God is a sacred event.  We should try to devote time with God every day.  Praying to God can also enhance or improve our ability to live for, work for, and build up God's law of Love.  We actually become members of God's loving family when we keep His commandments.  We do not become members of a friends family by celebrating their birthday.  How much more important is it to honor God?  We should always remember to honor God at Church and be eager to go to eager as we are to go to a friends birthday celebration.

We enhance our relationships with others and with God by choosing to participate in meaningful traditions and spending time together.  Devoting time to God in prayer or at Mass strengthens our relationship with Christ.  God doesn't ask for too much time.  Spending an hour at Mass and holy days, saying our prayers daily, participating in the sacraments, and helping our neighbors are important.  Honoring and acting upon the holy traditions and biblical truths gives us the wisdom and intelligence to do what is right and good.  The bible is read at every Mass.  Everyone should try to read the bible as often as possible.  The bible not only shows us how God loves and protects us but also helps us to understand why certain things happen in our world that we might not otherwise understand.

The message of Christ is to love God and one another.  Too often, people attend Mass in search of belonging to a community rather than sharing in the teachings, sufferings, and glory of Christ.  We can actually offer ourselves to Christ at Mass.  Community is important...but that is not what it is all about.  Some people may be in search of something like a big birthday party.  The Mass is more than a birthday party.  It is more than a big social event.  Why do some children place a birthday party as being more important than attending Mass?  We must really learn to love and understand Jesus and appreciate the Mass.  We can do this through prayer, reading the Bible, and understanding our Catechism to strengthen our faith in Christ.  Remember, the Church should be a priority in our lives.  It is the best place to spend time with and honor our Creator.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Awesome Thanksgiving Stuffing

Sourdough Stuffing with Pears and Sausage

8 cups (1/2 inch) cubed sourdough bread (about 12 ounces)

1 pound turkey Italian sausage

Cooking spray

5 cups onions (about 2 pounds)

2 cups chopped celery

1 cup chapped carrot

1 (8 ounce) package presliced mushrooms (or omit)

2 cups (1/2 inch) cubed peeled Bartlett pear (about 2 medium)

1 1/2 tablespoons chapped fresh basil

2 teaspoons chapped fresh tarragon

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups fat-free, less sodium chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1.)  Preheat oven to 425.

2.)  Arrange bread in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake at 425 for 9 minutes or until golden.  Place in a large bowl.

3.)  Remove casings from sausage.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add sausage, and cook for 8 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. (Ground sausage works well too.)  Add sausage to bread cubes, tossing to combine.  Set aside.

4.)  Return pan to medium-high heat.  Add onion, celery, and carrot; saute 10 minutes or until onion begins to brown.  Stir in mushrooms; cook 4 minutes.  Stir in pear, basil, tarragon, and salt; cook until pear begins to soften stirring occasionally.  Add pear mixture to bread mixture, tossing gently to combine.  Stir in broth and pepper.

5.)  Place bread mixture in a 13 x 9 baking dish coated with cooking spray and cover with foil.  Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.  Uncover; bake stuffing an additional 15 minutes or until top of stuffing is crisp.  Yield:  12 servings (serving size about 3/4 cup).

Friday, November 2, 2012

3 in 30


I'm linking up with 3 in 30 today to put some goals for the month of November into perspective.  My October goals all went well as I took care of my health by seeing the neurologist (my carpal tunnel is not serious), had lessons planned for my weekly co-op classes and religious education classes in a timely manner, completed five college visits for my junior in high school, and cleaned the house for good news on our appraisal. Health and education will continue into November but I choose to focus more on cooking rather than cleaning in November.  My goals will be:


1)  Find some good recipes for Thanksgiving.  I make a good stuffing with pears in it and my hubby cooks the bird and mashes the potatoes.  I want to find more yummy recipes for our feast because nothing is going to stop me from thanking the Lord for what we have in this country on this holiday.  I also have to make two Friendship Bread recipes a week for gifts to family and friends.  I bought the jars for the ingredients and need to make recipe cards and nice notes to go along with the gifts.

2)  I need to continue to prepare my lessons for our co-op and religion classes.  We stop co-op during January and February but continue through December with breaks during the holidays.  Therefore, I may need to come up with some fresh ideas as to some new crafts and stories before the long break.

3)  I need to continue to do my back and leg stretches for ten minutes a day.  It has really helped me feel much better.  The best time for me to do this is in the morning right before we say our morning offering and rosary decade with the five daily mysteries.  I've had some pain in the past and the medicine the neurologist gave me for RLS and these exercises really seem to help me.  I continue to occasionally wear my wrist braces for carpal tunnel at night.

My Homeschool Week

It's time for a Homeschool Mother's Journal and I would like to share with you what we've been doing the past couple of weeks because my first grader and I both have colds and have had to take things a bit slower.   Just click on this link to participate.

In my life these past couple of weeks...

We've been blessed to be able to attend my daughter's Junior Ring Ceremony at her Catholic school.  It was very good to mingle with other Christian parents and teachers.  The girls all enjoyed the fellowship and luncheon together.  My son and I both got colds the following week and have been homeschooling at a slower pace during this week.  It was nice here in Maryland when my daughters were home from school and my husband was home from work this past Monday and Tuesday during the hurricane enabling me to rest a bit while they played with my first grader.  This cold really wiped me out for a few days.

In our homeschool weeks...

Religion:  The Annunciation, the liturgical calendar, four saints, fourteen bible verses, the Trinity

English, Journal Writing, and Art:  singular and plural nouns and verbs, compound words, proper and common nouns.

Completed craft and paragraph for Doctor Meow's Big Emergency by Sam Lloyd referencing Matt. 25:36 and marked parts of speech in sentences.

Completed art work and paragraph for The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde H. Swift focusing on 1 Sam 17, Matt 25: 23, and Prov 16: 18 and marked the parts of speech in sentences.

Read these two stories, completed art work and paragraphs, chose keywords and looked up bible verses, and marked parts of speech in sentences.

Science:  Habitats for Plants and Animals - learned about land habitats of forests, rain forests, tundras, and deserts; water habitats for oceans and ponds; animal adaptations consisting of camouflage, migrating, hibernating, estivating, and body coverings; and discussed how plants and animals help each other.

 - Wrote paragraph on how a squirrel meets its needs through food, shelter, and adaptations
 - Matching work of animals to their appropriate habitat
 - Classifying animals according to their environments
 - Describing different land habitats
 - Predicting weather changes to an environment
 - Understanding differences in water habitats
 - Forming hypothesis on which animals are easier to see as seasons change
 - Quiz on five types of animal adaptations
 - Observing differences between a tundra and a rain forest
 - Describing a food chain
 - Distinguish between animals using plants as food or shelter
 - Describe how an animal can help a plant grow
 - Describe desert, forest, tundra, and rain forest
 - Distinguish between facts and non-facts about water habitats

Read about changes in habitats due to droughts, floods, pollution, litter, endangered animals, reuse, and recycling:  How weather changes habitats, How pollution changes environments, and How people help the environment.

History:  The First Sumerian Dictator, The Jewish People, Hammurabi and the Babylonians:  map work, tests, projects of making Joseph's Coat of Many Colors out of an old shirt and fabric paint and made a Babylonian Ziggurat from old cereal boxes and paint.

Map Skills:  Reading Political Maps - Identifying cities, states, and boundaries and reading Physical Maps - Identifying rivers, lakes, oceans and land elevation.

Math:  Adding, Subtracting, and Adding coins/money

Helpful homeschooling tips/advice...

When family members are not feeling well, take things at a slower pace to give everyone the needed rest required to get better.

I am inspired by...

Places we're going and people we're seeing...

We'll be seeing my two college sons at the University of Maryland football game tomorrow at our tailgate.

I'm grateful for...

my hubby for driving my daughters into school today as well as driving them home.  We usually share the responsibility but with Patrick sick...he sacrificed today to do all the driving.

A photo to share...

My daughter's Junior class