29 April 2009

Paul in a Basket -- A Review

When The Catholic Company put out a notice that they were looking for product reviewers, I jumped at the opportunity. What fun! My first item arrived the other day and the whole family has been enjoying it SO MUCH! It is a CD called "Paul in a Basket" by Rob Evans, the Donut Man. Through catchy, fun songs and intriguing dialog, we have learned everything about the wonderful Saint Paul. Certainly appropriate, since dear Pope Benedict has declared this Pauline year. Before listening to this CD, I didn't realize just how little I knew about St. Paul!! He is a truly wonderful hero in our Church's rich history.

But I digress . . . back to this marvelous CD. I have heard many great thing about "The Donut Man" in the past, but this was my first experience listening to him. He is wonderful! Immediately, my children were all dancing, hopping, and singing around the room. On listening to the words of the songs and dialog, they began asking all sorts of questions about St. Paul, the Fruits of the Holy Spirit, early Christian persecution, and on and on. Our new friend, the Donut Man does a beautiful job of teaching children (and Mama's!) about St. Paul in a fun and upbeat manner, while staying true to the reverence and sacredness deserved by all our Holy Saints.

Along with the CD, the Catholic Company also sent a directors guide, filled with instructions and ideas for putting the music and dialog on as a stage performance. The CD consists of 30 tracks -- the first 20 are songs (10), with dialog interspersed. The latter ten are just the songs. Therefore, children can dance and act out the songs, while performing the dialog portion themselves. This is geared for about 15 children. The handy director's guide gives great ideas for doing this, as well as all of the words to the songs (although my kids have already memorized most of them!). Although I have not done this, I can see how this would be a fun little project for a group of kids.

As a mother who tends towards a much less structured form of education, I found this CD to be a fabulous tool for teaching children in a fun, entertaining, and lasting way. My children made two new friends today -- The Donut Man and St. Paul!!

28 April 2009

My life is a grocery list

I sat down at the kitchen table this afternoon to write my grocery list, surrounded by the normal chaos of our days. The kids were listening to music and dancing around the room, while Bella jumping back and forth between my lap and the floor. I pulled out my cute grocery list paper and started writing the items in neat handwriting. About to words in, Bella grabbed my pen and scribbled on the sheet of paper. So I set her down and grabbed a new pen, in a different color. Then Christopher wanted to help by writing a few items himself, so I let him write "Maple Seerp" in his finest six year old letters. After he got bored, I began again, only to have Isabella spill coffee all over the (cute) paper.

I finally finished my list, but on further reflection, I could see how this mundane item actually did a fantastic job of summing up my life. I try to be cute. I try to be neat and tidy. I try to match and have all things in their proper place and order. But my days get taken over by little hands. Small people want to "help" get the job finished. And more often than not, I am covered in something sticky and gross.

But in the end, everything gets accomplished and it was all the more exciting since we did it together. I have a feeling that when my kids grow up they will sum up their childhood by saying "It was messy, but we sure had fun!"

(I took a picture of said grocery list, but then I discovered that the SD card wasn't in my camera when I shot the picture . . . )

22 April 2009

Household Tip O' The Day

A few weeks ago, we spent the day at my parents river cottage. Before we headed home, I bathed the kids, put them in their jammies, and shoved all of the dirty, damp clothes into a garbage bag. And then I promptly forgot about said clothing. A few days ago, I found the forgotten garbage bag and decided to clean its contents. Then I discovered Christopher's favorite shirt, one sleeve of which was covered in mildew. Now, considering that this was a bag filled with damp clothing that had been sitting for a rather long time, I figure I came out pretty lucky. Considering it had to be his favorite shirt . . . not so lucky.

So, I decided I had nothing to lose in trying to clean it. But everyone knows that mildew is incredibly hard to remove. In fact, when I looked up "removing mildew from fabric" in my favorite homemaker book it said "probably damaged beyond repair." Great.

But I remembered reading somewhere that hydrogen peroxide removes mildew (hey, it works for blood!). So I got out my giant bottle of peroxide, which it turned out had only about four drops left. I then found "Chlorox 2", which, it turns out, is mostly hydrogen peroxide anyway. I dumped the peroxide on the sleeve and then soaked it in the chlorox for about an hour. After a regular wash, the mildew is almost entirely gone! Hooray!

20 April 2009

Our Trip South: Part One

Andrew's Godson was confirmed this weekend, so we took a family road trip to Kentucky. (Also known as Chicken-Tucky if you happen to be a 2 year old boy.) It was a twelve hour (round trip) drive that was filled with adventure! My pictures here are actually in backwards order. We passed many Indiana fields that were covered in little purple flowers, so the entire field would appear to be purple. It was SO pretty!
On the trip back home, we stopped at the Lincoln Boyhood Memorial in Lincoln City, Indiana. Andrew's directions actually took us to Lincoln City, Nebraska, but luckily we noticed that mistake before it was to late! The kids have been reading and learning about Abraham Lincoln, so it was wonderful for them to be able to see the land where he lived, the original foundation and hearth stones of his cabin, and the burial site of his mother and sister.
We went to Mass Sunday morning at a Benedictine Monastery. The Church and grounds were beautiful. You could see for miles . . . but not on this rainy day! Actually, this is a neat story. It rained and rained all morning on Sunday, but when we got the the Lincoln Memorial, the rain stopped and the sun came out. The sun shined and everything was beautiful while we looked around. It didn't start raining again until we got into the car to go home! God is so great=)
This is the Hidden River Cave in Horse Cave Kentucky, where Andrew lived when he was a teenager. We toured the cave, which was pretty exciting. The kids thought it was a little scary. I thought the 900+ stairs might kill me. . . especially when PX was slung on my back on the way up!
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15 April 2009

Happy Easter Wednesday!!

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Star Wars Adventures

The kids are on a big Star Wars kick these days. They even have costumes of their favorite characters (thanks Ooma!). Coincidentally, the Children's Museum (one of their favorite places in the world) just opened a new Star Wars exhibit. So on Saturday, we loaded out own little Jedi's into the car and headed to see this new exhibit.
Of course, this sign greeted us, Light Sabers in hand, at the door. Luckily no one took us up on this offer to check out weaponry, so we proceeded armed.
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06 April 2009


Isabella turns ONE on Wednesday!! But since her Daddy has class that night, we celebrated with family and cupcakes this evening. Her Grandparents, Aunt, Uncle (who are also her Godparents!), and her wonderful cousins came over to party with her.
She had SO MUCH fun eating her cupcake!! My dad had to give her a bath in the kitchen sink after she was finished! It was SO cute -- by far the best first birthday cake eater we've had. Apparently, my grandmother always said that babies need chocolate cake with chocolate icing on their first birthdays, because it shows up better in pictures -- so true!

01 April 2009

Corn for Dessert

Since it is April Fool's Day, we had corn on the cob for dessert! Annie generously lent me her "Hello Cupcake!" book, so I made these cute corn cupcakes. I am still trying to decide what to make Isabella's birthday cupcakes . . . so many choices! But no koala's, which is what I was hoping for, since Bella is our little koala. But there are monkeys!! Or really cute sunflowers . . .I just can't decide!
And here are my adorable girlys, enjoying a nice spring day!