Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Book Review: Jesus Loves You

Do you like book reviews?  I hope so because I have recently been blessed by a bevy of authors sending me books to review. I guess word has gotten out that I am an unapologetic book addict!

One of those recent, and very patient, authors is Christine Topjian. She sent me a copy of her first book Jesus Loves You for free in exchange for my honest review.

I was very excited to receive my copy so quickly. Christine was a joy to work with and I can tell she is a very loving Christian.  The book is written from her heart. Her faith and love is evident from cover to cover.  It features colorful pictures that appear to be water colored, which is a nice change from the computer generated graphics in so many books these days. I appreciate true illustration.

Jesus Loves You traces all the ways that God walks through life with you and how He demonstrates His love for His children.  Beginning with the love God lavishes on new babies and walking through later life and ultimately Heaven.

This book is a sweet message of God's undying and abiding love. It demonstrates how He holds your entire life in His Hands.  There is nothing that is unimportant to God, and nothing that will make Him love you less.

I originally thought of gifting my review copy to my nephew who is also my godson, but then I realized it dealt with topics of life that were not pertinent to a five year old.  While the bright illustrations my lead you to believe this is a children's book, it is really more suited for adults.

The story is very short and simple.  Sometimes there is beauty in brevity.  I think that this would make a lovely companion to a present for a birthday, retirement, or just to cheer someone up.  It is not what I would call a gift book, but would be a lovely substitution for a greeting card--which are so overpriced, anyway.

It has been a pleasure working with Christine and I wish her great success.  May God bless you and your writing career! Thank you for allowing me to review this book.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

First Ever Joke Coloring Book: A Review in #7QT

"What is the chicken's favorite day of the week?"

"Fry-Day...that's a funny one, Mom"  ---Little Man, age 4 (attempting a joke he heard at the fair)

Have you ever been to 1st grade?  No, not as a student, as an adult.  What you will quickly notice is the unique sense of humor that 1st graders have.  It's like their own private language--or inside joke!  They can turn anything into a joke.  They laugh at jokes that aren't even funny and don't make sense. Does that matter? No, because they are having fun.

Do you know the average number of times a day a 40 year old laughs?  FOUR

Just four.  I get it. We are serious. We are adults. We have responsibility.  We also need to laugh.

"Why did the cow cross the road?"

"Because he wanted to be a dirty dinger! hahahahaha"

Another joke by Little Man, he is making jokes on a 1st grade level already.

I was offered a copy of HaHa Color-Me Joke Book for free in exchange for my honest review.  This innovative book will be released October 17th to great applause.

This book is a great little take along for long car rides, visits to DMV, or for a little peace and quiet during the day.  It is nicely set up and allows for plenty of creativity with the pages to color and pages at the end of the book to record your own jokes.  The only thing I would change is the "Party Pooper" joke--we don't allow potty humor in our home, although I know it is popular.  Nothing scandalous, just not my taste. Otherwise, this seems like a book my boys would thoroughly enjoy!

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Enjoy! And, oh, did I mention, for every PRINT book this author sells, she will be sending one to a child in need who can’t afford one. So when your child laughs, you know you’re sharing the laughs with another child. <— I love this!  

If you want to buy the book and use it for your own fundraising or in your kid-friendly business, or give in goody bags or as birthday gifts  (instead of those junky plastic toys that kill the environment and don’t add any value to kids). You can sign up for the #gigglegiver program and get a bulk buying discount.  

Imagine this:
  1. Kid thinks you’re funny.
  2. Leaves you alone to work.
  3. You get to help kids in need laugh too.

What’s not to love about the world’s first social joke-coloring book? Cheaper than wine, this is the best $10 you can spend on your mom-sanity today.  

Now for the bonus surprise!!! One reader is going to receive a copy of this new book for free. How do you win?  Answer this question in the comments:
 How many times a day does a 4 year old laugh? 
 One winner will be chosen at random. Best wishes!!!

Linking up with Kelly who always knows how to laugh!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Let's Get Planning: Read Alouds

Whew! It's September 20th already!! Where does the time go?  I really want to get up the rest of our plans.  I have really tried to simplify this year and so far it seems to be working.  I still have to add in a few small study items but otherwise our schedule seems to be moving along swimmingly.

Term 1:
See How She Loves Us by Joan Carroll Cruz
Illustrated Catechism by Inos Biffi

Term 2:
Advent and Christmas with Fulton Sheen
Saints and Heroes for Boys and Girls by Doris Burton

Term 3:
Our Holy Father, the Pope by Ignatius
the Life of Christ by American Bible Society

Challenge of Freedom by Neumann Press

Term 1:
Time for Battle by Susan Martins Miller
Children of the Civil War by Candice F Ransom

Term 2:
The Rebel Spy by Norma Jean Lutz
My Brother's Keeper by My America
The Story of the Gettysburg Address by Kenneth Richards

Term 3:
The War Ends by Norma Jean Lutz
Children of the Emancipation by Wilma King


Term 1:
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
When We Were Very Young by AA Milne
The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde

Term 2:

Term 3:
Swallows and Amazons

Audiobook :
Shakespeare Audio Dramas

Term 1:
The Shed that Fed a Million Children

Term 2:
Life is Precious Unit Study
Come Look with Me Exploring Landscape Art with Children

Term 3:
Handel at the Court of Kings by Opal Wheeler
G is for Googol A Math Alphabet Book

What are you reading this year?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Prayer Vigil to Stop Irma

When the going gets tough, the tough get praying.  Irma is a monster of a storm. The strongest and largest ever recorded.  We need to pray not just for those in her path but to stop her all together.  Please pray with me!

At 8 pm your local time, pray a flying novena followed by the Stella Maris Prayer.  Please light a candle while you pray so that a wave of light and prayer can sweep across the earth.

Flying Novena
Memorare (pray nine times)

Remember o most gracious Virhin Mary 
that never was it known
that anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help,
or sought thy intercession
was left unaided
inspired by this confidence
I fly to thee, O virgin of virgins, my mother
to thee do I come, before thee I stand,
sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy, hear and answer me.

Prayer to Our Lady, Star of the Sea

O, most beautiful flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruit of the Vine, splendorous of Heaven.
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin,
assist me in this my necessity.
O, Star of the Sea, help me
and show herein you are my mother.
O, Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor me in my necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power,
O, show me here you are my mother.
O, Mary, conceived without sin,
pray for us who have recourse to Thee.
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands.

I offer three of each: Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

And for each of your twelve stars, on twelve beads, I pray:
Our Lady, Star of the Sea, Help and Protect us! Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands.
courtesy of Holy League
Thank you so much. May God have mercy on us and save those in peril from the affliction of this storm!  Please share!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Let's Get Planning: 4th Grade

Summer is rapidly coming to a close and I am still working on planning!  Here is my plan for Buddy who will be in 4th grade next year.  It is mostly based on Mater Amabilis but I have adapted and added as I saw fit.  Hope you are having a great week. Linking up with Kelly, again, this Friday.


Faith and Life 4
57 Saints-- This is a family favorite!

The First Christians: Acts of the Apostles for Children
Stories of the Child Jesus from Many Lands
My Path to Heaven
St Francis of Assisi
Karol from Poland

I am adding a book to supplement Life of Fred this year. It is a very boring workbook, but it reviews all the basic concepts in mathematics.  I am feeling that Buddy needs more practice in mechanics because he has sped along so quickly in concepts. It is an old workbook that I picked up second hand but is solid in practice. 

Life of Fred Jellybeans and Kidneys
Basic Math Concepts Level E for supplement
How Math Works

I know this looks like an awful lot but we are not doing every book, every day Also, many of these books we will not necessarily do every page.  I followed MA's guide and pulled in a couple of more items to round it out.  The four language arts are speaking, listening, reading, and writing.  I wanted to have a full curriculum that addresses each of these well.  The books marked (I) are for independent reading. A (N) means it is for narration.  I have marked read aloud books with (RA). We will be doing copy work, dictation, and narration, along with poetry memorization.  I have a schedule worked out if anyone would like to see how we rotate among them.

Language Arts:
The Ideal Catholic Fourth Reader (I) OOP
The Catholic Youth Fourth Reader (I) OOP
The Harp and Laurel Wreath-- this is a supplement for days when copy work or dictation is scheduled but not in the lesson plan for Intermediate Language Lessons. It also has poems to memorize.
Intermediate Language Lessons
The Good and Beautiful Creative Writing
Shakespeare Audio Dramas from Library
The Children's Homer
The Aeneid for Boys and Girls (N)
Pollyanna (RA)
Heidi (audio book) (RA)
Swallows and Amazons (RA)

We always do a family history study as part of read alouds, however, my children really enjoy history so they each do some private history study as well.  Buddy enjoyed the Story of Civilization so much last year, I decided to continue with the series. Our Island Story is also available as a free download through Librivox.

Our Island Story (audio book)
Story of Civilization: The Medievel World (audio) 
Famous Men of Greece (RA)
Herodotus and the Road to History (I)

We are going to do some map work and basic geography as part of our read aloud time each day.  In addition, Buddy will be reading/listening to the literature listed to give him a better understanding of the Americas and the people who live there.

Map Work
Paddle to the Sea
Elementary Geography (RA)
An Illustrated Atlas of South America and Antarctica (I liked this books so much, I bought it 3 times!)
An Illustrated Atlas of North America
Maya Quest: Interactive Expedition (I)
Secret of the Andes (I)
Chucaro: Wild Pony of the Pampas (I)

Last year, Buddy enjoyed Swimming Creatures from the Apologia series so much, he can't wait to do Land Creatures this year. Having the audio book to go along with the program made it so much easier to get through, however it will only play on our computer.  We will still get the audio, even though it wasn't convenient.

Archimedes and the Door to Science
The Librarian Who Measure the Earth
Apologia: Exploring Creation Land Animals 

 As I mentioned previously, Buddy will be helping Little Man with his nature study while doing his own.  I am very loose on nature study requirements, mostly because my children are so intrigued by nature they need very little prompting.  I am filling a basket with nature guides, including ones for younger children and some supplies.  The boys are already excited.

In addition, I purchased two Thinking Tree journals as supplements to the general curriculum.

Teach Yourself to Draw Forest Animals
Thinking Tree All About Animals

Lastly, we have "electives" if you will to round out his education.  

Seton Art 4

Latin for Children

Computer Science with Kano computer kit

Abeka Developing Good Health

Guitar instruction at fine arts school

Drama class at fine arts school

Chimes choir at fine arts school

Irish Step Dancing at dance school

Soccer at our parish school

Basketball through local Christian intramural league

This seems like a lot of books, and in some ways it is.  I have managed to get all of them by shopping Thriftbooks and using our local library. It was fairly affordable and still so mcuh cheaper than private school.

How is your planning going?

Friday, August 11, 2017

7QT: Let's Get Planning Preschool

Linking up with Kelly to share my plans for next year. Be sure to check out my curriculum sale post if you haven't.

Last year, I shared my Great Books Preschool program for Little Man.  We did enjoy it but never made it through all the books with the new baby and all.  This year we will be continuing with the program, and soon I will be sharing the new additions to make up for the books we have already read 20,000 times.  Little Man surely had some favorites.

My new 4 year old want some school work like the big kids, so I have also chosen some fun workbooks for him to use.

We are also going to add a time for play dough, painting, and other hands on projects.  I hope to create a rotation to keep him occupied while I work with the older kids. Some ideas to include in this time:
  1. play dough
  2. watercolors
  3. wiki sticks
  4. tangrams
  5. beading
  6. Popsicle sticks and glue creations
  7. scissor projects
  8. stamp work
  9. coloring

I am still finalizing a schedule but one thing that will definitely be included is slots for Cowgirl and Buddy to work with Little Man one on one. This will free up time for me to get one on one time with each of the older children while still giving Little Man the attention he needs.

 Time with Cowgirl will be spent on simple handicrafts. She really enjoys crafting so this will be a diversion for both of them.  I plan on focusing on the following handicraft skills:
  1. loom knitting
  2. potholder weaving
  3. basic sewing--this is per Little Man's request
  4. cooking
All of these will require some guidance and supervision. I believe Cowgirl is up to the task.

Since I have adopted Mater Amabilis curriculum for Buddy, I hope to school the two younger ones in the Charlotte Mason style as well.  A large part of Charlotte Mason for the early years is Nature Study.  Mason advocates long hours spent outside in any weather and guided nature study.

This is where Buddy comes in.  He is a bit obsessed with nature.  So it is perfect for the boys to explore outside together.  My plan is to get each boy a nature journal to complete. I have a small block of time planned each week for me to provide some nature study guidance  and feedback.  I wish it could be every day but there are only so many hours.

When the weather is inhospitable to going out, as happens here in the northeast, there will be a basket of age appropriate nature books for the Buddy to read/explore with his brother.  I will share the basket's contents soon.  

The last part of preschool for Little Man is going to consist of learning to play games.  My older children and Hubby really enjoy board games. Little Man really wants to play along but is still learning how to participate. So, there will be a time each week to play a simple game that we can then play as a family once he has gained understanding of how it works. 

So, not too many bells and whistles, but there it is.  How do you do preschool?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Feature Thursday: Carmelite Scapulars

UPDATE: Aurelius Cabrini is changing platforms. We are in the process of moving the store to our Facebook page.  If you would like to order a scapular, please contact me.  They should be listed in the Facebook shop very soon. Thank you.

I have closely been considering what my shop needs and why it exists.  It is part of my business plan to further its development through careful planning.  In the end, it's mission is the same as this blog, to further God's Kingdom through promotion of vocations and service to the LORD.  This shop is for Jesus, more than for me.  I have fully given it over to Him.  Yes, the profit benefit my family, but I want it to benefit my soul more.

That is why I am so happy to feature our Carmelite nun made brown scapulars today.  These scapulars are lovingly made by hand by the sisters. They are selling the scapulars to earn money and build a special project.

The sisters are seeking to raise funds in order to build a modern convalescence home for patients with dementia. The home will also provide palliative care, rehabilitation, and assisted living. This home will serve 133 seniors.

At present, the sisters are in desperate need of funds to keep their current mother house open as well as to pursue this initiative.  All profits from the scapulars will be disbursed to the sisters.  I am donating all etsy fees incurred to give the sisters a bit more.

I ask you to please consider purchasing a scapular and supporting these beautiful brides of Christ.

Each scapular is hand made with reinforced stitching and pure wool backing.  Each scapular has a St Bendict medal sewn safely inside. We will include instructions of enrollment as well.

If anyone has any questions or would like to place a bulk order, please contact me for more information.

Thank you so much for supporting this effort and may God bless you!