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Issue #19 - As We Prepare for Advent
In this Issue:
From Laura's Desk: Our Fall Semester and Advent
Homeschooling Tips and Ideas: Revamping your Second Semester
Book Recommendations: Two Great Books to Read (or give as gifts)
New Product Announcements: St Kateri Unit Study and Advertising Opportunities
Our Favorite Recipes: St Patrick Irish Cheddar Soup
From Laura's Desk
I can't believe that Advent is almost upon us. It has been an interesting semester around here. Unusual might be a better word. This semester we had no weekly commitments on our calendar! I can't believe what this has meant for our family.
1. Our school year got off to a great start and we've been schooling non-stop the whole time (this is unheard of!).
2. We have been able to exercise consistently since September. That, of course, has led to more energy and feeling better as well as increased strength and less weight. An A+ activity all around!
3. My mind has been much clearer and I have been able to think about planning other things. Before I could never catch up with myself so I was never able to think ahead to things we might like to do. Usually I was FORCED to think ahead, which didn't bode well for extra activities.
I'd have to say that most everyone else feels like this time has been beneficial for all of us, although some of them are ready to get back into all of the activities we used to be in. I'm still evaluating!
Since my brain isn't bogged down and tired, I have been planning an Advent that I hope will be enriching for all of us. Usually we head into Advent full speed ahead, but this year I envision something more controlled and fruitful. We'll just have to see if it actually plays out that way.
I hope your fall semester has been a fruitful one and that you are as anxious as I am to head into the coming season of Advent and Christmas. Feel free to hop on over to my facebook page and share some of your Advent traditions with the gang!
If you'd like to keep up with all the latest info, you can always follow me on facebook!
Homeschooling Tips and Ideas
I like to take the time over the Christmas break to look back at how our fall went and see how far we've come. Some years it looks good, others it doesn't. Based on what I see, I will make any necessary changes for the spring.
The first thing I usually do is to see how close we are to finishing some subjects. If we've been cranking through them then there are bound to be some that we will finish early. If there is enough time open, this is when I like to throw in something fun - like a unit study or a subject we don't normally cover.
I also take a look at my schedule and decide if we need to tweak things or not. How did our days flow? Was there order and peace or were most days chaotic? How can I change things around to make them work better? What was my prayer life like?
If you need to make some changes to make your second semester go better than the first, then please check out my book "A Plan for Joy in the Home". It will really help you to get some peace and order into your day. It would also make a great gift for a fellow homeschooling mom that you know who needs some help.
Do you take stock of the first half of the year? How often do you wish you could change things, but never do? Now might be a great time to pray about what you would like to change and how to go about changing it. If you're happy with how your first few months went, then praise the Lord! It is great when you can have a school year like that (or even half a year!).
I have two books to recommend this time around. One I have read, the other I haven't :)
The first book that I just finished is called "Reason to Believe" by Ron Tesoriero. It was a fascinating book about a scientific look at some of the Eucharistic and other Catholic miracles that have taken place around the world. The author explores hosts and statues that bleed, he talks to people who receive messages from Jesus as well as the stigmata. He also looks into the Shroud of Turin and all of the testing that has gone into proving that it is truly the burial cloth of Jesus.
If you know someone, or even yourself, whose faith needs a boost, this would be a great book.
The second book, the one I haven't read yet, is called "Choosing Joy: The Secret to Living a Fully Catholic Life" by Dan Lord. I just KNOW that this is going to be a good one. I have been struggling so much lately with being joyful while in the midst of trying times. There is so much suffering going on that it seems almost impossible to feel joyful. This book discusses joy and how we can find it, even amidst these struggles. I'm thinking it will be a great Advent read!
New Product Announcements
I have two new things I'd like to tell you about this time around. First, I did finally finish the St. Kateri Unit Study. I think it will be a fun learning experience for those who want to learn about the Native American Indians of the Northeast. Why not consider adding it to you curriculum for the spring? If you sometimes finish some of your subjects before the end of the year, that is a great time to add in a little something extra.
You can check out St. Kateri here.
I've also been working on updating my website. One of the pages I'm changing is my Catholic Owned Companies page. If you have a product or Catholic company that you would like to advertise on this page, you can fill out the form on this page and I'll contact you with the information you need to get started. The price is just $10 per YEAR and the perks are many! You'll get your listing on that page for one whole year, as well as at least one promotion on my blog and facebook page and a link to this page in all the newsletters I send out.
It is so important to support good, Catholic owned companies! This is one way to help get the word out about where to find them. Please share this with others you know who have a Catholic business or product to sell.
Our Favorite Recipes
With the cold weather setting in, now is the season for soup. This one is one of our favorites and tastes great paired up with a grilled cheese sandwich for those meatless Friday meals.
St. Patrick Irish Cheddar Soup
4 Tbl butter
6 C vegetable or meat stock
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp sage
salt and pepper to taste
1 C milk
7 oz. grated Kerry gold Irish Cheddar cheese (or any mild cheddar)
Clean, peel and chop the vegetables. Melt the butter in a soup pot and saute the vegetables lightly for about 3 minutes. Stir frequently.
Add the stock, garlic, herbs and seasonings. Bring the soup to a boil , then cover the pot and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
Blend the soup in a blender and return it to the pot. Add the milk and cheese. Reheat the soup, but do not allow it to boil again. Serve hot and enjoy!
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Until next time, may God Bless you abundantly!