Stir It Up Sunday 2013

I was just going to whip our Christmas Pudding together quickly this morning while the big kids were at church with their dad (a certain someone was just too sick to take to church) but after looking at pictures of last years’ Stir it up Sunday I just couldn’t make it without them. StiritupSunday-1-2


So I thought I would (wisely) get all the ingredients out so we could get right to it when they got home. Turns out it was not so wise because I came back 10 minutes later and found this:

Apparently someone wasn’t too sick to be causing trouble. Thank goodness he couldn’t reach the eggs! So I cleaned things up and we got to work. Christmas pudding is a big deal in my (very) English family so I was super nervous when I served it last year. Turns out it was amazing and my Grandad had 3 servings!! Hopefully it is just as good this year. Apparently my great great grandmother used to make her Christmas puddings on Boxing Day and keep them in her cold room for an entire year, periodically pouring more alcohol on them. Maybe we’ll try that this year….

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Summer’s Day(book)





Outside my window…. the saskatoon berries are ripe for the picking! My kids are having so much fun being outside every day. We have been here for a week now and there has only been one rainy day. They are all falling into bed exhausted every night from all the activity.


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I am thinking… that recovering from surgery is much more difficult than I was expecting. I was anticipating more pain than I have been feeling and while I’m not complaining it is very frustrating to be feeling pretty good but still not being allowed to do much lifting activity.

When you’re busy doing all the things moms do having a week to do nothing but read and rest sounds like heaven. I’m ready to get back to everyday life now!

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I am thankful…. for good friends to come keep us company. They all get along so well…. most of the time. 😉


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Learning all the time…. There is plenty of learning going on. Lots and lots of nature study and questioning and both my big kids have been ‘helping’ Grandpapa with gazebo construction.


I am working on…  lesson plans for our school year, and finalizing my book list. I’m so very thankful for the homeschool funding we get here, it’s so hard to decide what I want to buy. I have everything mostly finalized but I’m adding and moving a few things as I go through lesson plans.


I am hoping…  that everything with our move goes smooth. I have had to completely let go of control over any of it which is a tad frustrating, I can’t wait until we can move in!!!

I am reading… so so many books. Too many to list here though. If I had to recommend one it would be 10 Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child, by Anthony Esolen. I am so in love with everything he has written but this might be my favourite.

I am creating… plans for our school room!!!! My father in law totally sees my vision, we are going to have the coolest school room ever.

I am hearing… Nothing. And it’s glorious.

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Peace and quiet

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A little peek at my day… I took Mary to a library program today, she has been really missing the library since we moved. It turns out my dad’s cousin manages the library here so she allowed us to get a card! Mary was *thrilled*


Summer time!!





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SimonetteRiver6 (1 of 1) SimonetteRiver5 (1 of 1)  SimonetteRiver4 (1 of 1)Living where we do it is difficult to find nice water for our children to play in. Most of the bodies of water around here are swamps or slews and not places I would want my children playing.

However, yesterday’s high of 38°C encouraged us to take a chance on a spot on a river that I had heard about from a friend. We didn’t even consider going to the Canada Day Parade, it was just too hot!!

It was the perfect spot, the river was low and warm, perfect for wading (and splashing!)

We had a great time despite the heat. There was sand to play in, nature to explore, and plenty of very special rocks to be found.

I really treasure spending time like this as a family, it was a wonderful day.

Thoughts on our next school year

I have discovered the wonder that is Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education. After years of thinking I knew what her philosophy was and thinking I didn’t like it I came across a most excellent book that puts a Catholic spin on her methods and I fell in love. Her methods fit so well with our dreams and goals for our home school, I can’t believe it took me this long to discover it!

That being said, our next year will loosely follow her methods as outlined in year 1B of Mater Amabilis. It will give us just enough structure to our days that I will be able to show that we are actually doing school while still giving Mary the time and opportunity to follow her own interests. Our main goal in homeschooling is for our children to love learning and reading so spending time curled up with interesting books will always trump any other school plans I might have.

For my planning I have been using the Sanctus Simplicitus Planner (they are apparently sedevacantists but I discussed it with dh and decided that didn’t bother us enough to not use their products. We will pray for their conversion and call it good). I bought the pdf version and had it spiral bound at Staples. It cost me $7 to have it bound which is significantly cheaper than paying to have the printed version shipped to me. I love the way it is layed out and especially love their liturgical year planning pages.

Here is a general overview of what I have planned for next year:

Religious Education:
We are using a delightful little book called Jesus and I. We will also continue to use the Saint Joseph First Communion Catechismwhich is so far my favourite book that I have come across for First Communion preparation.

I have so many different saint books, we will probably use Marry Newland’s The Saint Book: For Parents, Teachers, Homilists, Storytellers, and Children to begin with. She also has a book called The Saints and Our Childrenthat is full of great ideas to teach your children about saints and stories that pair up with certain virtues, who better to teach the virtues than the Saints who exemplified them!!

*(side note: Every single one of Mary Reed Newland’s books is absolutely amazing. If I could only have one book to plan our celebrations of the liturgical year with it would definitely be one of hers!!!)

*(another side note: I love the idea of finding the country each saint is from as we read their story and then putting a pin on a map, we will definitely be doing this!!)

On the days we don’t read a saint story we will read from the New Catholic Picture Bible.

We will continue to celebrate feasts and solemnities and live the liturgical year as much as possible. I plan on (finally!) purchasing a copy of Catholic Mosaic: Living the Liturgical Year with Literatureto help me plan these days. I already have most of the books on her book list but after looking through a friend’s copy I definitely need my own.

Each night when he tucks the big kids in dh reads to them from Little Visits with God. When we begin our new school year I hope to have the last half hour of the day set aside for snuggling on the couch and reading together. The kids love it when their dad reads to them, hopefully we’ll be able to say prayers, read, and then send them happily off to bed (ha.).

We will try out Math-U-See Alpha. We started it with good intentions at the beginning of the year and Mary did enjoy it but it ended up getting pushed to the side. If she doesn’t love it I may just end up holding off for another year and getting her a work book to do some pages on when she feels like it. She completed most of the Horizons grade 1 math book this year for fun so I’m not too concerned about her falling behind. If I can squeeze the money from our home school funds I would like to purchase the elementary set of Life of Fred for Mary as well, I think she would love it.

Copy work will continue to be daily, from either the memory work we are doing or a part of a poem. Mary is desperate to learn cursive so we might start that as well.

I was thrilled out of my tree to find a leather bound copy of Favorite Poems Old and Newat Value Village for .99!! Mary will read a poem a day to me or her brothers.

I have a stack of books to use for narrations. We will start with the Complete Tales Of Beatrix Potterfor formal narration but Mary often narrates what she is reading to me without my asking so I’ll encourage her to continue with that.

We will most likely continue with PAL:Writing and All About Spelling Mary did enjoy this program so we will pick up where we left off.

My plans for English really require their own post, I’ve listened to so many of Andrew Pudewa’s talks my head is spinning.


After much internal debate over where to start we are starting a study of Canada. I went back and forth about starting with ancient history but in the end I decided against it.

This year I plan on using the Sleeping Bear Alphabet books on the Canadian provinces, starting with S is for Spirit Bear: A British Columbia Alphabet to make a scrapbook. We will study one province a month, colour the flag, learn about the provincial symbols, and hopefully find some living books for each. I’m pretty sure I already have M is for Maple: A Canadian Alphabet and Z Is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet around here somewhere as well.

(side note: I’m trying to convince my husband I need a Silhouette Cameo Digital Craft Cutter Machineto do school projects like this with… I really want one!!)


Mary is fairly self directed in science. I don’t feel like I need to do anything here right now. I will probably buy  a copy of Exploring Creation: With Astronomy to read out loud and possibly the Notebooking Journalthat goes with it.

Nature Study

Living where we do I don’t expect a great deal of nature study to happen during the winter. I do plan on having a bird watching station set up so hopefully we will be able to do some observing. Our nature journals also need their own post, I have found so many fabulous old nature books.

Habit Training

Using Simply Charlotte Mason’s Laying Down the Rails: A Charlotte Mason Habits Handbook we will start practicing the habits Charlotte Mason recommends in her works. I would like to make a scrapbook of some sort to chronicle our success. I’ll use the We Choose Virtues kit we were given along side this as well because I love it (and so do my kids!!).

Art/Music Study

We will begin piano lessons for Mary but other than that I don’t plan on planning much for either of these subjects for this year. I plan on printing some art from Costco’s collection for us to study and listening to classical music is already part of our days so I will just let it come naturally. Mary loves the DrawWriteNow books, hopefully I will be able to add a few more to our collection.

Like I said in the beginning, these are a very general outline of our plans. Living books, the liturgical year, and field trips will always be priority over any book work. I plan on having a morning basket like the one at Wildflowers and Marbles and I hope that we will be able to find a nice, slow paced rhythm for our days. Extracurricular activities will be limited to piano, gymnastics, and hopefully some sort of homeschooling group if we can find one.

Our week in cell phone pictures.


Water colour paints


Many many board books


Thank goodness she loves to read to him




It’s finally warm enough to grill! That was the best steak ever.


Science experiments with daddy


More grilling. He would eat nothing but corn if we would let him


He insists on using a big fork at dinner. None of that silly baby cutlery


Finger painting at the book group we’re going to

A Palm Sunday Daybook

My Daybook :: Palm Sunday- March 24th


 Outside my window… A fresh foot of snow. Here we were all hoping spring might be coming early after all. Ha.

I am thinking…
  That we haven’t missed having cable TV at all since we cancelled it at the beginning of Lent. We still have netflix and my father in law just hooked me up with an HDMI adapter so I can hook up my computer to my tv to watch ewtn. It’s pretty great!

I am thankful… For the sacrament of reconciliation and planning ahead. Our parish has reconciliation from 5:30 to 6:30 on Saturday evening (WORST time ever if you have small children but that’s okay…). We always try to get there early or right at 5:30 so we don’t have to wait long with the kids, thank goodness we did yesterday because it would seem that we weren’t the only ones who thought it would be a good idea to go before holy week. By the time we left there were at least 50 people waiting in line for the two available priests!

Learning all the time
Copy work. We won’t do much official school work this week, I have a few fun crafts planned instead.

Celebrating the liturgical year
Holy week is here! We will be spending lots of time reading our Easter stories this week and taking some extra quiet prayer time.

From the kitchen…

Waffles! Everyone had a hankering for waffles after church today so instead of going out for breakfast we stopped and bought a waffle maker. The oatmeal-honey waffles we had for brunch were delicious!! Peanut butter, bananas, and maple syrup on top = best waffle ever.

I am working on…
Plans for the Easter season. I found a copy of The Garden of the Good Shepherd and I’m excited to do it as a family.

I am creating… Felted Easter eggs. At least I hope I am. Big plans for this week, I think Mary and Luke will enjoy wet felting, I hope to try it with them one afternoon.

I am going…  To mass Holy Thursday and then to adoration afterwards. I have no nursing baby who needs me this year, I’m looking forward to some quiet prayer time.

I am praying… For more patience. Spring just can’t come soon enough, I’m starting to go a little stir crazy cooped up in here!
I am reading… The Bible. Father encouraged us today at mass to read a passion account every day during holy week. We’re going to do that with our kids as well.

Pondering these words… “You will never have more happiness than you have discipline in your life” -Matthew Kelly

I am listening…  To Matthew Kelly talk about The Seven Pillars of Catholic Spirituality. If you do a google search for it you will find a free video, it’s a really great talk and definitely worth watching.

Around the house… Everything is working so well!!! My father in law stayed here for four days with my big kids while we were out of town and fixed everything in here that was broken! He is a very handy guy to have around. Having them come was good encouragement to get a few organizing projects done so my house is in tip top shape, just in time for Easter.
One of my favorite things… 
Dance studio pants from Lulu.  I’ve been saving for months for our trip to a home school conference knowing that I would have an opportunity to do some good shopping. I was disappointed in most of the stores we went to looking for clothing but I may never take off these pants!

This week’s plans…
Monday: Sparks for Mary
Tuesday: Luke goes to preschool, Mary to co-op
Wednesday: Playdate with friends!
Thursday: Preschool for Luke, Mass and Adoration (all by myself!!)
Friday: Good Friday Tea? If I can get it together in time.

A little peek at my day…
It’s a bad cell phone picture but I just couldn’t resist taking a quick shot of the kids waving their palms. It was so sweet.

A Monday Afternoon Daybook

Outside my window… I don’t even want to talk about it. I’m grateful we have no where to go today as I stare out my window at the sparkling snow. -31 is too cold to take littles anywhere!

I am thinking… A lot about Lent. We enjoyed our Advent traditions so much, I hope to find something for Lent that will bring us together in the evenings like our Jesse Tree did.

I am thankful… For Maggie Reigh and her book 9 Ways to Bring Out the Best in You and Your Child. We have had some pretty major breakthroughs with miss Mary in the last week and it feels really good to finally feel like we are winning.

From the kitchen… oranges! Lots and lots of oranges. They are so yummy right now, I think we have gone through at least 4 boxes. My husband has been making the best orange smoothies every night after dinner.

Learning all the time… Mary has a renewed interest in her Classical Conversations memory work so we have been reviewing that often. We are working on some projects from volume 10 of Alphabet Glue. There has also been lots and lots of play dough time for all 3 kids. I’m always amazed at how long play dough keeps their attention.

I am going… for a pelvic ultrasound tomorrow morning. I just got the letter saying my appointment with the GYN my doctor referred me to is at the end of the month. I’m pretty excited.

I am reading… 9 Ways, and lots and lots of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See? Alex has discovered the animals in that book and carries it around constantly.

I am hoping… to make it to the library before the book I have requested three times gets sent back for the fourth time. We’re just so busy!

I am looking forward to… spending the evenings doing something other than watching Grey’s Anatomy. We started watching in December and are completely caught up to season 9 now. That is one addicting show! I’m not sure what we are going to do with all this free time we have all of a sudden! I have to say though, Downtown Abby seems to be calling to me. Everyone on facebook seems to think it’s amazing. Maybe in a few weeks.

Around the house… If anyone dares to sit or lay on the ground they can be certain that they will soon be tackled or jumped on by a rotten baby. He gets so excited to see someone laying down he immediately runs and flops onto them.  AlexMary0113


A favorite quote for today… “Instead of bemoaning the loss of “control” and “power” parents had, let us embrace the opportunity to develop relationships that empower us, and our children. Let’s take advantage of the knowledge, understanding, and tools available for personal growth, and challenge ourselves to develop our full potential. We can invite our children to do the same. ” ~Maggie Reigh, 9 Ways

One of my favorite things… A little one happy to be tucked into bed for a nap. Give this boy his sucky and his blankey and he happily goes for a nap without a peep. Definitely not something I take for granted!!!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Tuesday- I have an ultrasound, preschool for Luke, co-op for Mary, and that evening I’m starting a course at our parent link center.
Wednesday- Mommy group at Church, Valentine’s Day photoshoot with a friend.
Thursday- preschool for Luke.
Friday- Zumba for Mary, music with the boys, playdate with a friend in the afternoon.

A peek into my day…


It doesn’t matter what I do, it is impossible to get this boy to sit still long enough to get a picture of him!

Yarn Along: The First Week of Advent


Our Advent has started out wonderfully. I’m really enjoying the extra family time in the evening when we do our Jesse tree, pray together, read a Christmas story, and add a sticker to our Advent Calendar.


On the knitting front, I took a brief break from the endless ruffle scarves (I have 5 done now! I’m getting faster, I can pump one out in a couple hours) to crochet a hat for the baby one of my friends had today. I got to hold her tonight, she wasn’t even 12 hours old!!


(excuse the terrible cell phone picture)

We are enjoying our Advent Storybook and my husband and I are reading an Advent devotional every night.

I’m looking forward to giving the kids the books St. Nicholas is bringing tomorrow. Mary has been asking a lot of questions about Santa lately, she is very skeptical and we just aren’t sure how we want to handle it. We put most of our focus on Jesus and other Catholic traditions, so up until now Santa has just been a little side game. I’m not sure what is stopping me from just telling her he isn’t real, it seems like such a big deal… I’m just not sure why? Any insight? How do you handle Santa?

Joining up with Ginny’s yarn along again this week. Thanks for stopping by!

Our Jesse Tree

If I had to pick a favourite from our family’s Advent traditions I think the Jesse Tree would probably be it. Before we were married I used to imagine one day doing it with my husband and children, I love it.


This is our Jesse Tree. I made it out of felt in 2009 when Mary was 2. I used giant panels of felt from our fabric store.


Our ornaments are also made out of felt. I didn’t follow any specific templates, I loosely based them off of Jessica’s examples.
Our children are only 5.5, 3.5, and 1 so we use a simple illustrated children’s bible (which appears to be out of print now but I really love it).

It’s got short, simple stories for every night, that are easy for our little one to understand.

For Mary we are going to stop our normal school routine for Advent and start working on a lapbook and the Jesse Tree study guide instead. I think she is ready for something a little more challenging this year. She has inherited my love for traditions so I know it’s going to be lots of fun.

Linking up with the Jesse Tree Link Up at Shower of Roses