Saturday, September 26, 2009

What gets my house cleaner!

I am so happy to say that after more than 2 years of being frustrated with our choice of Stainless Steel kitchen appliances, we finally found the solution to those annoying fingerprints. Scotch Brite was my answer!




I was already happy with their Kitchen Cloths. The Stainless Steel Cleaner made my fridge, oven, dishwasher and microwave look like they did when we first bought them. I am thriled with the shine and resistance to fingerprints. Now I am also excited to try out their Kitchen Cooktop Cleaner.



Check out their website to take their quiz

My Cleaning Type: The Queen of Clean

"Congratulations your highness! With a toilet scrubber in hand, you’re unstoppable. You’re a woman who goes to extremes for a spotless home and you clean even where people won’t see because at least YOU know it’s clean."
 
 

 
For most ALL my cleaning needs, I have my trusty Melaleuca. I have used Melaleuca's eco-nomical and eco-safe cleaners for about 14 years now. They are higly effective, inexpensive and hypo-allergenic, instead of being expensive, caustic and irritating. If you want to learn more about Melaleuca's products, visit their website then give me a call/email! I have more testimonies to share about their cleaners, supplements and more.

God Bless you and yours!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rediscovering God in America: Our Heritage

A wonderful new resource was presented on Fox and Friends this morning. Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista, have produced a beautiful new movie about how the history of America has been shaped by religion since day one. I am certainly going to view this and share it with friends and family. It seems almost necessary in these trying times when the government is trying to dismiss or replace wrongfully our freedoms, our rights, and our history.

Rediscovering God in America II: Our Heritage
http://www.rediscoveringourheritage.com/
http://www.gingrichproductions.com/



God Bless America - the way it was and always should be - American!

Here little piggy!


Taken at the Benton County Fair for this blog.

For the Breastfeeders out there...

Here little piggy... That would be the best description of my current experience feeding Jonathan.

My first baby was doing great until I took some cold medicine and dried up just short of 2 months. No success bringing it back. The second was given up out of frustration around the 6 week growth spurt. I had a hard time managing baby and toddler. The third was my hardest attempt at breastfeeding, which included supplementing, pumping, herbs, medicines, etc. I just felt like I couldn't keep up with milk production. 2 months and I gave up.

Now with my fourth, I started out on the right track. Even though there was a delay with Jonathan going straight to the NICU for two days, I started pumping within 6 hours of my c-section. Milk was in by 2 days when he arrived in my room. We never used a pacifier, which he now refuses if given. He's been at my breast nearly 24/7 with just a few necessary breaks. If he's not feeding, he's bundled up in my baby sling I've written about before. (love it!)




Well, not all has been peachy keen. I pursued through those growth spurts and have made it PAST the 2 month mark. I am so happy and proud. But now we're facing additional fussiness, especially in the evening hours. Of course this had to start when Tom FINALLY went back to work just a 1 1/2 weeks ago. (Praise the Lord!) So the stress has mounted between breastfeeding, homeschooling and caring for everything and everyone on my own. (and less sleep) Thanks to my facebook friends, I was able to find an article with my exact story... Cluster Feeding and Fussy Evenings



This and encouragement from friends and lactation consultants has given me hope to continue this special bond I have with my youngest son. While we had unsuccessful attempts to supplement and switch to a bottle just a week ago, I am now excited that they didn't work. Now I have more incentive to push forward and make THIS work. Breastfeeding, though difficult at times, is well worth the effort.

So cheers to my making it past 2 months! And fingers crossed, hands folded, for a successful next 4 months ahead.

God Bless you and yours!

Homeschooling Encouragement

Here is a wonderful article my mother, Pat, wrote for the local homeschool newsletter in Spring 2009. I really enjoyed it and thought you'd like to read it for yourself.



Our Family: Deacon Bruce, Pat, Melissa (29), Annaleah (21), Michael (14);

Grandchildren: Mikayla (6 ½), Stanley (5), and Sabrina (1 ½), and son-in-law Tom (32)

Our Adventures in Home Schooling began in 1999. My daughter Annaleah was about to enter sixth grade and had been asking me if I would home school her. I asked a friend of mine about her home schooling experience with her children. It all sounded so positive and was something I thought would be worthwhile trying. When I told my husband Bruce (a Project Manager and a Deacon ordained in 1989) about my consideration to home school Annaleah, he immediately acted with favor and support of this decision. Within two weeks of school starting we found ourselves open to embarking on this great adventure with a little “fear and trembling”. We contacted Seton Home Study School and enrolled Annaleah with the intention of giving this a one year trial. Annaleah graduated from Seton Home Study School in 2006 and is now a Junior in College earning her degree in Early Childhood Education and working at the YMCA in childcare and fitness classes. The years have gone by quickly and we have never regretted taking the plunge to educate our children at home. Michael was enrolled in Seton when he was 5 years old and is now in 8th grade. The curriculum has been very challenging for both our kids, but continually we are amazed at the quality of education our kids have received. The Catholic Church has long considered parents “the first and foremost educators of their children”. Apostolic Exhortation by Pope John Paul II (November 2, 1981)

Our oldest daughter Melissa is 29, married, and expecting her 4th child (plus 2 in heaven) was brought up in both Catholic grade school and public high school. I look back with what I know now, wishing I would have home schooled her as well. I guess I never even gave it a thought until I met friends who shared their personal experiences with me about home schooling their children. Melissa is now home schooling her children Mikayla , Stanley and Sabrina. This has brought much joy to their family and to us as grandparents as well. Melissa has always been called to be a teacher of some sort and has now found a way in which she can share her gifts and deep Catholic faith in the daily education of her children. She has also chosen to use the Seton Home Study Curriculum for her children. It is such a blessing to share this wonderful experience with our whole family.

While Annaleah was very self-motivated from 7th grade on, it hasn’t been the same experience in teaching our son Michael who would rather be out golfing. On days when it gets tough I have to stop, pray and remember why I have chosen to home school. Deciding to make your life’s vocation more than just a mother, but also a teacher, I believe is a selfless gift of love.

The 5 Parenting Goals that I have hanging on our office bulletin board constantly remind me of the important reasons why we continue to choose home schooling for our children and our family: (Excerpts taken from Catholic Education: Homeward Bound – Kimberly Hahn & Mary Hasson)

1. As Catholic parents, OUR FIRST GOAL IS FOR OUR CHILDREN TO KNOW AND EXPERIENCE GOD’S LOVE. This means helping them to develop a deep and loving relationship with Jesus Christ and to live according to their Creator’s plan. All of our family and education-related decisions must be consistent with this goal. Thus, the question we must ask ourselves in every choice is: will this bring my child closer to, or farther from, Jesus Christ?

2. OUR SECOND GOAL IS FOR OUR CHILDREN TO DEVELOP RESPECTFUL, AFFECTIONATE, AND LOVING RELATIONSHIPS WITH THEIR PARENTS AND SIBLINGS. We want them to know and experience the love of family members and to return that love without measure. Cultivating good relationships within the family takes priority even over academic concerns.

3. OUR THIRD GOAL IS TO FORM A STRONG MORAL CHARACTER IN OUR CHILDREN. Like developing strong family relationships, building character takes time, consistency, and concrete action. Its fruits will last a lifetime!

4. OUR FOURTH GOAL IS TO WANT EACH OF OUR CHILDREN TO HAVE A HEALTHY PERSONALITY, MATURING APPROPRIATELY FOR THEIR AGE. We need to keep in mind all the different gifts and talents that God has given each of our children and our responsibility to develop them according to God’s plan. Each child’s personality, as well, needs to be nurtured differently in order for it to unfold according to God’s design. What a delicate task to bring our children to maturity!

5. Finally, OUR FIFTH GOAL IS TO HELP OUR CHILDREN DEVELOP THEIR ACADEMIC POTENTIAL TO THE HIGHEST LEVEL POSSIBLE. Not to prove to our families and friends that home education is a superior way of educating, but so that they can become the person God wants them to be and can do what God made them to do.

We have been very blessed to be part of two home school support groups through the years. When we lived in Cold Spring, MN we belonged to the St. Cloud area Catholic Home School Group. Melissa now belongs with her family. After moving back to the cities we joined Epiphany Catholic Church where Bruce serves as Deacon. They have a wonderful home school support group (Epiphany Catholic Homeschool Organization – ECHO) which we have been a part of for 7 years. The many home school Masses, family potlucks, field trips, special events, park days, gym classes and most especially the friendships we’ve made – have been an invaluable part of our home school experience. Each year we also enjoy the Catholic Homeschool Conference. It is usually just the boost we need to commit to another year of home school. It always reaffirms the immense importance of what we do.

[She then discusses the difficulties with extended family's acceptance/encouragement of their choice to home educate. It's always a silent issue that leaves "a deep sense of hurt." She says...] I know we are not alone in this! Putting that aside and offering it up we continue to home school for the reasons that are so important to our family.

“As it is parents who have given life to their children, on them lays the greatest obligation of educating their family. They must therefore be recognized as being primarily and principally responsible for their education. The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute.” (Declaration on Christian Education) and in addition, Casti Connubii states: “For the most wise God would have failed to make sufficient provisions for children…if He had not given to those to whom He had entrusted the power and right to beget them, the power also and the right to educate them.

Why do we home school? The answer is, for many reasons, but most of all as one home school mom stated: “We would rather have a St. before our children’s name than a PhD. after their name”! Our faith that we pass on to our children is of the utmost importance. I have often told my children as they grew that the most precious gift we as parents can give them is our Catholic faith. We don’t feel there would ever be enough time after public school and homework to effectively teach the elements of our faith in daily living. What we practice we learn, and what we don’t practice we don’t learn. Certainly one area in which the family has an irreplaceable role is that of religious education, which enables the family to grow as a ‘domestic church’. Fr. John Hardon, a noted theologian, urges parents to consider carefully whether or not we should educate our children at home. He says that Catholic education is no mere teaching of academic subjects. Teaching of the Catholic Faith is communicating Divine Grace from mind to mind, from believing mind to believing mind, from believing will to believing will. You parents are no mere teachers when you teach the Catholic Faith, you are the conduits of human life to the children whom you conceived and gave birth to and, in our case, also adopted.

In looking back over the last 10 years we appreciate and are thankful for the opportunity to be the primary influence on our children in a world that can so quickly pull them away from us and God. We pray that the basis of what has been taught both academically and from life’s experiences in our family, our children hopefully will be equipped to not only defend their faith and their love for God, but be instrumental in evangelizing and winning more souls for Christ.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Can't Keep Up!

Well, as you may know or can imagine... life with 4 young children is no piece of cake. Adding a new homeschool year to the schedule just adds to the mix. So I have found zero time to blog or read blogs. I have so much I wanted to share with you, if it didn't take so long to do!

Here's a quick summary of our summer.

Went to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin with Melissa's family. Had a blast, except for the long drive.
The kids and I spent time with Grandma, while the guys went golfing on one of the most challenging and beautiful golf courses in the Midwest! There was lots of swimming, golfing, cooking and laughing.


Catholic Homeschooler's Bible School - watched my kids grow up a little while they learned so much about the Holy Eucharist.

Landscaped back yard with sandbox, rocks and shrubs/trees. Filled that sandbox to the top on Stanley's birthday for just $5! Stanley turned 5 - An impromptu Walle Brithday Party. Lots of last minute fun!



Had a BABY! Jonathan is such a blessing.


Sabrina almost 2 becomes a big sister and loves to talk and play with her siblings.



Mikayla turned 7 - impresses us daily. But still not ready for riding that 2-wheel bike, despite many efforts. She lost 3 more teeth, two in one day. Mikayla also had her first sleepover.



Enjoyed entire summer with Tom home. (Laid off May thru Sept) Definately a blessing in disguise, since I had him available at my beckon call for cravings, naps, etc before and after Jonathan was born. The kids and I will miss him dearly when he goes back to work.



God Bless you and yours!

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