Danielle Bean, ever the cheerful encourager, has arranged for the weekly sharing of the small successes that make moms smile. Here's mine:
1. I have a gigantic island in my kitchen with a vast expanse of countertop space. Actually, we have two islands so we call the big one Assateague and the smaller one Chincoteague. Keeping this seemingly infinite surface area clutter free is a monumental task, a never-ending battle against the tides of stuff. I have kept Assateague clear for - are you ready for this - five days in a row!
2. Last night I wasted a fair bit of time trying to find a crochet pattern for an afghan I want to make. Frustrated by my lack of success, I sat down with the afghan I want to copy and studied the stitches until I deciphered the pattern! It's really very simple but I feel so clever to have figured it out, and I'm having so much fun getting started on it.
3. This one is more like a major miracle than a small success but we are all delighting in this week's marvel: Eliza has started eating by herself! Getting her to eat has been a major challenge for years and we daily spend oodles of time jumping through all kinds of hoops getting her to eat. But this week finds us with our jaws hanging open as Eliza sits around happily munching on snacks, requesting and eating foods she would never touch (she ate pizza for lunch!), and feeding herself bowl after bowl of food, repeatedly asking for 'several more'. It's absolutely amazing.
A recent question in my inbox inquired about Eliza's developmental activities. Here are some photos of what my two littlest learners have been up to this past week. It was 'B' week and so painting Bb's was in order-
We use various printouts from favorite sites like abc teach, Enchanted Learning, and First-School. I save the leftover paper strips from cut outs and they are perfect for beginning practice with scissors. Here Eliza is using spring loop scissors, similar to these.
I found this Bottle Top Names activity at the Tools for Tots site via Joann at Ten Kids and a Dog, whose Tot School posts are always a delight. You have to love a manipulative that uses something as simple as cardstock and our infinite supply of milk jug tops!
Both girls love to spell with these cards. I think I will add stickers so help with the word identification, although both girls already recognize their names and most of the other words on the cards. I didn't want to have the messy job of tracing the bottle caps with a sharpie so I made up templates to print out. They took a bit of fiddling to get the circles sized and spaced correctly, so I thought I would share them to save others the trouble. There are various words as well as blank circles that you can fill in.
And lastly, you can see a glimpse there of the lovely Elsa Beskow Wooden Box Puzzle set that Eliza got for Christmas, along with the quite challenging Elsa Beskow Cube Puzzle. Both girls really love to work wooden puzzles, and the pictures on these are so sweet (you've probably seen the puzzles over at Jenn's as she has the same ones!).
And of course around here, all this learning has to take place while we listen to music, such as this delightful ditty-
I'll write and I'll draw and I'll spell you a word,
Big 'A' and a little 'A' and a middlesize 'A',
I'll make you a number 1, 2, 3 and 4,
and I'll scramble them around so you can see them run.
On this, the 36th anniversary of the most tragic of all days I can't help but wonder, how as a country did we get to this place? And how long before we wake up and get out?
The other night we went to hear a talk by Joe Scheidler. The first thing he talked about was the energy and enthusiasm of the pro-life people gathered at his previous speaking engagement (as Bridget blogged about). Rather than finding the attendees discouraged and despondent due to the current political situation as one would expect, he noted that people were more passionate and eager to get to work than ever. This seems to be the case further east as well, as many more protesters turned out for today's March for Life than has been the case in recent years. Mr. Scheidler spoke of how God can 'write straight with crooked lines' and how things often seem to be at their darkest right before the dawn. We know God is in the habit of bringing good out of apparent evil, and of accomplishing His will through our meager efforts and paltry offerings.
Still, it's hard to imagine any kind of dawn anytime soon with Obama in office. But as the posters candidly tell us, there is always HOPE. Since the election I've been thinking about how much we should be fasting and praying for a change of heart for this man regarding Life issues. It's not easy, this love your enemies business, and it's only by God's grace that we can even consider it. Pro-lifers hoped and prayed the McCain/Palin ticket would prevail, and their victory would have been seen as a triumph for the movement. But how much greater it would be to have President Obama become convicted of the sanctity of human life, and all glory be given to God. In this Year of St. Paul we can pray especially for his intercession that Obama would indeed be knocked off his horse and see the Light, the Light that is Truth.
Father T. spoke this morning at Mass of how the whole abortion movement is founded upon and fed with lies. Satan, the father of lies, has blinded the eyes, closed the ears and turned to stone the hearts of so many. I keep thinking of Obama taking his oath on Lincoln's bible. His words 'so help me God' keep resounding through my head and I pray that God will help him. I pray that in His mercy God will help this man to see the truth and have courage enough to face it. Oh, I know our puny little minds and wee bits of faith scoff at the mere thought of such a thing happening. But we have St. Paul as our example and hope, and we can call upon him as our intercessor in the cause for life. I'm sure Paul's contemporaries had a hard time believing that the man who once travelled far and wide in order to find Christians to murder had become a believer. Can you imagine the potential if Obama were to inform his throngs of zealous followers of the value of every human life? If all that 'powerful', 'rousing', 'eloquent' speech of his was used to defend life?
And that Bible of Lincoln's. Nowadays we struggle to try to comprehend how it could possibly be that slavery was legal in our very own country. We try to teach history to our children and we really are at a complete loss attempting to explain that people actually believed you could own another person. It really is incomprehensible, and trying to make sense of such madness to a child seems preposterous. With this past election so many mothers have had to grapple with and try to explain the inexplicable to our children. And so we labor on in hope that this too shall end. The battle will be won. People will look back with horror and disbelief and shame and wonder how, HOW was it, that it was legal to kill our own unborn children, to cut them up in little pieces and throw them away like so much trash all in the name of the ideology of 'choice'. But it doesn't matter how confused and bewildered they will be trying to understand how.
All that matters is that it ends.
May God strengthen us in our resolve and have mercy on us all.
With Advent and Christmas reading behind us it's time to get out all of the other beloved winter books. I think Snowflake Bentley is surely in everyone's stack of winter favorites, so I am re-posting this entry written by Jonathan two years ago explaining his method for photographing snowflakes. If you live where the white stuff is flying give it a try!
Everyone knows that snowflakes have six sides.If you take the time to look at them as they land on you, you can see for yourself.A couple days ago it occurred to me to try taking pictures of them with our digital camera. This produced some interesting pictures, but they were mostly blurry because I could not hold the camera still enough.Then my Dad made a simple stand to hold the camera.This made it very easy to get quite good pictures of your average snowflakes.
If you want to make the apparatus we used you will need two small pieces of wood, two screws, a bolt, some cardboard and some black velvet or other dark cloth. You need to find a 1/4-20 bolt that will fit into the hole at the bottom of your camera where the tripod adapter screws in (see picture below).
Screw the two pieces of wood together at right angles as shown below.
Tape the velvet to the cardboard to make a small “tray” about the size of the bottom board.Put the small velvet tray on the bottom board (see final picture).Get your camera and see how close you can have it to the tray and still get it to focus (use close focus mode).Our camera will go within ½” of the velvet tray. Mark where your camera is and estimate where the hole in the bottom of it is.Mark this spot and drill a hole there for the bolt.Put the bolt through and screw it into the camera.If your camera will focus nicely on the tray, you are ready to go. We drilled a hole in the top of the piece of wood for a handy place to store an Allen wrench for the bolt.
To use this device, go outside when it is snowing and catch some snowflakes on the velvet tray.As soon as you see a snowflake that has a distinct hexagonal shape, position it under the lens of the camera and use the display on your camera to center it in your camera’s field of view. Press the trigger button on your camera, make sure it focuses, and take your picture.You probably want to view your picture right away so that you can take another if it didn’t come out the first time.
If your tray is too large, like ours is, you may be annoyed to find that gorgeous snowflakes are landing on an area of the tray where you cannot get them under the camera.This is not too much of a problem because it is possible to move around snowflakes with tweezers-they are fairly sturdy. Be careful to first chill your tweezers or they will melt the flakes.
When you look at your pictures, you will probably want to zoom in to see your snowflakes in detail.The following pictures have been extensively cropped for easier viewing.I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Have fun!
The top photo was taken by my husband; all of the others were taken by Jonathan.
I just got a new book for Christmas from Nana. When I opened it I was very happy to see it was a fabulous field guide!
The Sibley Guide to Birds is by David Allen Sibley and is full of useful features and information. In most ways I think it's better than our last field guide (though to be sure it's bigger and bulkier to carry). Our old field guide, National Audubon Society Guide to North American Birds is a good guide, but the main advantage of Sibley's is its many labeled illustrations. For nearly all of the 810 included species there are lots of pictures by the author. The different pictures show all manner of plumage variation. Adults are compared with juveniles, different color phases are shown. Even the differences between birds in different parts of the country are shown because Eastern birds will sometimes look different than Western ones of the same species, or Northern birds from Southern ones.
Hello Amazon box, goodbye Lydia
The way all the different variations are shown and compared is what I like best about the book. Often at the top of the page are pictures of the bird in flight, views from the side or above and below. For raptors especially, the guide explains how to identify flying birds. It describes how each different kind flies and how the shapes of the wings and tail can help in identification. I've never seen other field guides have so many details about that.
Another good thing is that usually the very similar species will be shown right next to each other and Mr. Sibley points out the different ways of telling them apart. The new field guide also describes more of the various calls and songs and random noises the birds make. This also is very useful because it makes it easier to learn to identify the birds by their calls.
One thing the old field guide has that the Sibley guide doesn't is nesting habits. Sibley's doesn't give a description of nest and eggs; the Audubon guide does and so will surely come in handy in nesting season as it even includes the length of the incubation period and number of eggs. However, as I said, I think that The Sibley Guide to Birds is an improvement from our other bird guides. It is quite a grand field guide and I like it very much. I'm looking forward to identifying more of the birds we see around here.
While tidying up her school bag Anna Ruth found a forgotten logic puzzle that she had written some time ago. I had never seen it before, so I sat down and attempted to solve it and found it a bit tricky. I thought it would be fun to share and I typed it up so it is a bit tidier than this -
Then Lydia said she had written one as well, so I asked her to dig it up for others to enjoy. I put them both into a pdf file for easy download, including an answer sheet- don't peek!
Remember, O Christian soul, that thou hast this day, and every day of thy life: God to glorify - Jesus to imitate - The Angels and Saints to invoke - A soul to save - A body to mortify - Sins to expiate - Virtues to acquire - Hell to avoid - Heaven to gain - Eternity to prepare for - Time to profit by - Neighbors to edify - The world to despise - Devils to combat - Passions to subdue - Death perhaps to suffer - Judgment to undergo.
Thanks for stopping by! My name is Kimberlee. I am a Catholic homeschooling mother of seven children ages 10 - adult. This is my place to share all these things I treasure, and ponder in my heart.
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