Journal: 4th Week of Advent

Outside my window: 

Very cold and white.  The kids had fun playing in the snow yesterday!

Around the house:

Planning some cleaning and laundry today.  I want everything in good order before Christmas so I can have plenty of chilled out time with the hubby and kids.

The kiddos:

The kids are looking forward to Christmas.  They are done with all their activities for the month and we are on school break so they are looking forward to free time.

We have had a fun few weeks going to the Christmas Symphony Concert, Illuminations at Botanica, and celebrating the feasts of St. Lucy and St. Nicholas.  The kids also had their Christmas choir concert for their homeschool group.  All three kids participated in the concert.  Zane did not do a lot of actual singing but he did the actions to the songs and I was proud of him for getting up in front of everyone.  Annika did an amazing job, she really learned how to project her voice and she received lots of complements on her singing.  Jude did a very good job in his group singing and they all seemed to enjoy the experience.

Zane finally had most of his speech evaluation done last week and we have the rest of it scheduled right after school break is over. I am eager to get him started on speech services and pray that stuttering is something he can learn to manage.

In the kitchen:

On the menu:  Chili, Chicken and Noodles with gluten free homemade egg noodles, Pizza, Tacos, and Beef and Cheddar Melts.


I have been helping Annika with some sewing on her machine and I put together a really cute Alphabet book like this one for my Godson for Christmas.


On school break for the next few weeks.  I always enjoy breaks it gives me a chance to reflect on how our school year is going and make plans or changes for the year.  We are definitely on a good path this year and I don’t forsee much in the way of changes.

Bringing me joy:

Seeing the kids sing in their concert, celebrating the Litugical Year,  our Christmas lights and decorations, taking time to slow down, family, getting all my present wrapping done, celebrating my 38th Birthday, and my new warm slippers!  I have also been enjoying this Advent/Christmas ebook from Catholic Culture.

Pictures to share:

St. Nicholas made a visit to our house.  The kids left him milk and an apple, they figured he was tired of all those cookies.  St. Nicholas always brings books and candies for the kids.  Jude got a Lego Brickmaster book, Zane a Ninjago book , and Annika a Garfield book.





Our Christmas Tree. We decorated on St. Lucy’s feast day. We also made Pepparkakor cookies for our Tea Time and these were very yummy!  Annika and Zane served the cookies.

I liked this picture because it shows our cat eating our tree, which he does every year, yum fake pine needles!


Annika in her dress and St. Lucy crown.
Illuminations at Botanica. Lots of fun every year!



Journal: Advent Week 1

Outside my window: 

Another beautiful day!  It is going to get cold later in the week so we took advantage of the nice sunny day.

Around the house:

Signs of Advent around the house.  We put up our Jesse Tree and Advent Wreath and a few other seasonal items.   I love the reminders that Advent is here around the house.

The kiddos:

All are doing great!  All the kids are healthy and enjoying their usual activities.  The kids are preparing for their choir concert in just two weeks.

Zane has his speech evaluation tomorrow and I am eager to hear what the plan will be.

In the kitchen:

On the menu:  Meatsauce and Spaghetti, Chicken and Noodles with homemade gluten free egg noodles, Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal, Roasted Chicken with Vegetables, Salmon Patties with Oven Fries and Veggies, and Pizza.  I made cranberry sauce muffins with leftover cranberry sauce today.  I have made these lots of time and really like them.  I will post the recipe later this week.


None last week.  But I do have some sewing plans this week.  Since we started our Jesse Tree yesterday I thought I would share the ornaments I made last year.  I used the idea for the no sew Jesse Tree ornaments from here.  In previous years we had paper ornaments and these are so much better.  I plan to make ornaments for the O Antiphons this year.




Only a few school items last week.  We worked on fire safety and watched some Libery Kids videos of the events we just studied in U.S. History.  Getting back into the swing of things with our regular schedule this week.  The kids did really well today, it is always nice to have a little break from school to recharge.

Bringing me joy:

Thanksgiving with my family.   Black Friday shopping with my sisters and nieces.

Pictures to share:

Black Friday Silliness


Journal: Thanksgiving week

Outside my window: 

Dark and cold.  Brr it feels like winter.

Around the house:

Not much new.  It is clean now after the toy explosion that happened with cousins over this morning.  I like it when my house is clean!

The kiddos:

All are doing well.  I enjoyed taking the kids to the art museum over the weekend.  We got a bunch of pictures from previous art activities they have done there.  We saw one of their featured exhibits called Vital Signs it was really cool and unlike anything I have seen before.  We also got to speak with a Japanese artist, who is blind, and still making beautiful origami.  We had a great time!

In the kitchen:

On the menu:  Pizza, Tuna Noodles with veggies, Chili, Thanksgiving Dinner (I will be making stuffing), and Tacos.


Not yet, but soon I think.


We will do just a little bit of school this week and enjoy a  break for Thanksgiving.

Bringing me joy:

Seeing my sister and neices and nephews who are in town.  Looking forward to hanging out with all my sisters this evening!  Watching my kids and their imaginative play, always entertaining.  Homeschooling and nature walks.

Thinking about:

My plans for Advent, going to Confession, and spiritual reading.    Neurodiversity, I might post my thoughts about this sometime this week.

Pictures to share:

Slumber parties are enjoyed every weekend by the kids.  I am glad my children enjoy each other so much!

DSCF5404 DSCF5400

Recipe: Simple Roasted Chicken Thighs with Vegetables

I found this recipe last Spring and it has become a favorite around here.  This is the recipe that I orginally found.  I don’t really follow the recipe anymore I just wing it as far as vegetables and seasonings, but if you want more specifics you can follow that recipe.

My ingredient List:

  • Chicken Thighs (not boneless skinless)
  • Baby Carrots (1/2 bag)
  • A Bag of Frozen Green Beans
  • Yellow onion (1/2 sliced)
  • Seasonings to Taste
  • Olive Oil

Mix choosen veggies in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, add seasonings and mix.   My go to seasonings for this recipe are sea salt, black pepper, paprika, and garlic powder.  Once you have your veggies all mixed with the seasonings put them on your foil lined pan.  Then place your chicken thighs on top of your veggies, drizzle with olive oil, and then I use the same seasonings on these as I use on the veggies.  Place in the oven heated to 375 and bake 45 minutes – 1 hour.

This particular night I served it over some yummy white basmati rice.  I often use potatoes in this recipe and just skip eating any grains with it.  In the summer I would roast our cherry tomatos in this dish.  This recipe is very versatile and would be great with other veggies too.  I plan to try using brussel sprouts soon in this recipe.  I love roasted brussel sprouts.  I think that sweet potatoes would be good in this too.

DSCF5473This is a nice simple recipe that is a regular in our house.  All the kids like the chicken in this dish and my non veggie loving child gets to sample a few veggies everytime we eat this meal.

Poetry Tea Time

This year on Fridays we have added Poetry Tea Time to our schedule.  This has been a fun way to make sure we are enjoying poetry every week.

The kids pick a poem on Monday from either a poetry book from the library or The Harp and Laurel Wreath.  They practice reading it during the week, so they can recite it on Friday during our tea time.  They are working on their recitation of the poem.  Jude definitely has gotten very good with his rhythm and voice tone.  Jude and Annika are also reciting poems that they have learned for memory work during tea time.  Zane is picking a poem out for me to recite at tea time and I pick a few poems as well.  We bake something special and serve tea, juice, or hot cocoa.

Our school schedule during the week allows us to be completed with school work on Friday by mid morning.  This has been a perfect way to end our school week.   We spend time at the beginning of our tea going around the table and thanking God for the blessings during our week.  The kids really look forward to this every week and I know this is a fond memory we will all have of our homeschooling days!



Here are a few blog posts that I enjoyed when planning our Poetry Tea Time.

7 Ways to an Easy and Fun Poetry Tea Time

Poetry Tea Times

Jude’s 10th Birthday

We celebrated Jude’s 10th birthday on October 24th. It is hard for me to believe he has already hit “double digits”. He was so super excited leading up to his birthday and I still remember my own excitement hitting that milestone birthday. As a mom it is exciting to him growing up and maturing, but I do feel a little bit of loss as he grows older. I don’t want his childhood over too quickly.

We celebrated his birthday with  chocolate cake, he always requests chocolate and I am always more than happy to make chocolate cake. He got a few Lego sets, an iPod shuffle, and an Angry Birds Star Wars Game.  He had fun building his Lego sets and has been enjoying listening to The Chronicles of Narnia on his iPod.   So glad my sweet boy had a great 10th birthday.



Talk about growing, look how tall this boy is next to his 5’10″ mom.


School Year 2013-2014 Curriculum and Schedule

Better late than never, here is my annual curriculum post for our homeschool year.  This is the fourth year we will be using Mater Amabilis  as our spine for our curriculum. Jude is level 2 Year 1 for 4th grade and Annika will be doing level 1A Year 1 for 2nd grade.  Zane is 4 and doing preschool again this year.  His routine is pretty similar to last year.  Here is what we are using this year and our schedules.



Annika and Zane will both be participating in The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Program through the Catholic home school group we are members of.  This is Annika’s third year and Zane’s second year.

57 Stories of Saints for Jude

Saints for Young Readers for Every Day, Vol 1 and 2 for Annika

The First Christians:  The Acts of the Apostles for Children for both Jude and Annika

Jude is also reading a saint biography each term this year.  Jude choose Saint Pio of Petrelcina: Rich in Love for his first book this term.

The past 2 years we have used P.A.C.E. Program for Achieving Character Education which we enjoyed, but this year we decided to use Laying Down the Rails for Children: A Habit-Training Companion for our character training and we are loving it!

Faith and Life Grades 2 and 4

Celebrating the Mass Lesson Plans from Catholic Toolbox

Annika will be preparing for his first Confession and Communion this year, these are the resources we are using.

First Communion Days

Sacrament of Holy Eucharist Lapbook

Sacrament of Confession Lapbook

St. Joseph Picture Books:  Going to Confession, The Holy Eucharist, and Receiving Holy Communion

We will also continue to use the following resources to plan our liturgical year activities.

The Big Book of Catholic Customs and Traditions

Catholic Icing

Catholic Culture



Math in Focus Grades 1,2, and 3.

I am also use Math Mammoth when the kids need extra practice in a particular area.  For math fact drills we are using  Xtramath and Math Fact Cafe.  We also enjoy the games in the Righstart Math Games Book.

Language Arts


Annika is using MCP Plaid Phonics Level B


After using All About Spelling for the past 2 years I did not feel like it was good fit for us.  We are using Spelling Wisdom this year for Jude.


Intermediate Language Lessons for Jude

Primary Language Lessons for Annika


Handwriting Without Tears Annika is working in the Second Grade book and Jude Fourth grade.  This is our fourth year with this handwriting program and it works really well for us.

Jude and Annika also have copywork selections for handwriting practice.


Jude will be completing written narrations daily for history, religion, geography, literature, and science.


Classic Literature

Jude and Annika will read one book per term.


Jude will start studying Shakespeare and will listen to retellings of The Tempest, Macbeth, and As You Like it.


Jude is reading The Adventures of Odysseus and Tales of Troy

Annika is listening to Classic Myths to Read Aloud


Annika is listening to stories from English Fairy Tales


Once weekly we are having Poetry Tea Time. Jude and Annika pick a poem at the beginning of the week from books either from the library or The Harp and Laurel Wreath.  They then practice recitation of the poem during the week and recite their poems during a mid morning tea on Friday.


Jude is doing science following the lesson plan on Mater Amabilis for Science in Ancient Greece

Annika is completing Noeo Science Biology 1

Earth Studies/Geography


For Annika:  Studies on Mountains and Volcanoes and Weather and Climate from The Earth: The Geography of our World and other books and resources.


State Scrapbooks inspired by ideas found at Shower of Roses  Our second year for our state scrapbooks.  The kids really enjoyed working on these last year.

For Jude: American Geography Paddle-to-the-sea and Seabird.

Term Books for Jude: The CaySecret of the Andes, and Chucaro: Wild Pony of the Pampa.


American History

Jude and Annika are completing their second year of American History using books from Shower of Roses American History Plans .

Ancient History

Book selections for Jude and Annika from Connecting with History Volume 2

Jude is reading Famous Men of Ancient Greece

Annika is listening to the Old Testatment stories from the New Catholic Picture Bible

Nature Study

Weekly nature walks and nature notebook



Music Masters We will be studying Handel, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven this year.  We will continue to use picture books to learn about the composers as well as listening to their music and completing notebooking pages.

Making Music Praying Twice

Choir once a week through our homeschool group

Picture Study


Picture Study along with Artist Notebooks and Picture Books

Paul Cezanne

Vincent Van Gogh

Henri Rousseau and Georges Seurat



Art projects twice weekly.  I have several art project books to choose projects from.  Jude and Annika also have access to the art supplies to work with when they are inspired.  We will continue participating in the Family Artventure at the Wichita Art Museum.

Drawing with Children- We will continue to use the Lesson Plans from Donna Young’s Website.

Extra Curricula Activities

Learn Spanish with Grace

Dance Mat Typing

Working on basic sewing school for both Jude and Annika using the lessons at Kids Sewing Projects

Annika is working on knitting a scarf.

Jude is learning is learning about photography.  He will take pictures through the school year learn some editing skills, and put together a photo book at the end of our school year.

Physical Fitness:  Swimming Weekly, Gymnastics Weekly for Annika and Zane, Wall Climbing, Outside Time, and Exercise Videos.

Our Daily Schedule School Schedule and Afternoon Schedule