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Issue #16 - Spring has Sprung

In this Issue:

  • From Laura's Desk: As We Wind Down

  • Homeschooling Tips and Ideas: Confirmation
  • Book Recommendations: Ranger's Apprentice
  • New Product Announcements: Some Gift Ideas
  • Our Favorite Recipes:
  • Used Curriculum Corner: All Gone!
  • From Laura's Desk

    Spring has sprung in the Midwest. Actually, for awhile it seemed as if Summer had bounded in and we totally missed Spring, but now we're back to our usual Spring weather and activities.

    With Easter over and May on the horizon, thoughts in this household are turning towards being done with school. I have to say that we're on track this year to finish up by the end of May. Some of the kiddos are even finishing up some subjects already.

    We're also thinking of Sacraments and graduations. We have one daughter making her Confirmation this year and another daughter graduating from High School. Both are daunting tasks for the teacher! Have I taught her enough? Does she know all her "stuff"? What will happen after graduation? I ponder all these things...and then I take them to the Lord and hope that I've done my job well enough.

    I know many of you school all year long, so the end of the year is not in sight for you. I say every year that we will do things through the summer, but it rarely happens. This year will be no different. If you are ending soon, I hope that it goes well for you and that you are happy with what you and your children have accomplished this year. Then, take a deep breath and start planning for next year!

    If you'd like to keep up with all the latest info, you can always follow me on facebook!

    Homeschooling Tips and Ideas

    This June my 13 year old daughter will be making her Confirmation. We've approached this Sacrament in different ways so far. Our first daughter made her Confirmation with about 80 other students at our local parish. Her preparation consisted mainly of the Seton confirmation preparation book that we worked through together.

    My next two daughters made their Confirmation together with about 28 other students in a Latin Rite ceremony. We only had about one week notification for the actual Confirmation. Luckily they had been prepared for awhile, but due to the lack of a Bishop at one parish and then switching to another parish, we were never quite sure when they were going to get to make it! When this opportunity arose, we jumped at it.

    I am very glad we did! It was absolutely beautiful, and we all loved the smaller size class! Therefore, our next daughter will be receiving her Confirmation at the same church in the Latin Rite. Thankfully we've known about it for some time.

    When picking her name, she just wasn't sure which Saint she should pick, so during Adoration one day, she opened her Saint book to see what she would find. I think the first three were male Saints, but then she landed on St. Jane Frances de Chantal. She studied her and decided that she would like to pick her as her Confirmation Saint!

    I've added to my repertoire of preparation books since our first daughter, so the books she will be using are:

    "Confirmation Preparation for Young Catholics" by Seton

    The section on Confirmation in "The New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism No. 2" published by Catholic Book Publishing Co.

    "The Sacrament of Confirmation For Confirmation Candidates" published by New Hope Publications.

    Right now she's been reading through the books but soon we will begin going through them together. We are all looking forward to praying a novena to the Holy Spirit with her as well.

    Sacrament preparation is such a special time in our homeschool "career". What a daunting task, but what a blessing to be able to prepare our children for such an important time.

    As always, if you'd like to share some of your favorite resources for Confirmation preparation you can contact me.

    Book Reccomendations

    Having four girls before I had my first boy means that, when it comes to reading, we have to expand our horizons to find him something that will interest him.

    A few years ago, a friend recommended a series of books that his boys had read and enjoyed called "Ranger's Apprentice" by John Flanagan. We finally remembered to get a few at the library a couple of months ago and he has devoured them.

    The series is about a young teenage boy, named Will, who gets chosen to be a Ranger's Apprentice. The Ranger's are the protectors of the Kingdom and as an apprentice, Will gets involved in many adventures.

    My son and one of his sisters have really gotten to liking these books, especially because the Ranger's in this series resemble the Ranger's in "The Lord of the Rings". The stories take place in Medieval times in a fictional Europe. They are full of adventure, along with bows, swords and knives...all the things that make for good reading as far as my son is concerned.

    My son is currently 11 and is enjoying these books. His sister, who is 16, is usually waiting not-so-patiently for him to finish them so she can have her turn!

    New Product Announcements

    I'd like to take this space to remind you of some great gift ideas that are available. With Mother's Day and First Communions coming up in the month of May, here are some links to items that would make great gifts for that special person in your life!!

    For Mother's Day:

    Why not consider giving a homeschooling mother (or asking for it yourself!!) a book that will help her to organize her day and make her life more joyful? Consider checking out A Plan for Joy in the Home.

    Or, if your mother, grandmother, aunt, godmother or friend likes great smelling, good-for-your-skin soap, why not check out our gift ideas over at our soap site The Goat Milk Soap Shop. This soap is made by a wonderful friend of mine who is a Catholic homeschooling mother herself. We love it so much, we help her distribute it. Buy once, help support TWO Catholic homeschooling families! Such a deal :)

    For First Holy Communion:

    "The King of the Golden City" audio CD brings to life this wonderful allegory of the Sacraments. Written in the 1930s by Mother Mary Loyola, it is as much a gem today as it was back then. A useful and unique gift to give to your First Holy Communicant!

    Thank you so much for patronizing our "shops" and helping to support another Catholic family! Please consider sharing this with your friends, too. May God bless you!

    Our Favorite Recipes

    I found this wonderful pork chop recipe on a clean eating website back when I was trying to find new recipes during Lent. The whole family loved it!

    Balsamic-Marinated Pork Chops and Grilled Peaches

    1/3 C balsamic vinegar
    1/3 C olive oil
    3 Tbl honey
    1 Tbl fresh rosemary, chopped
    4 5-oz lean boneless port chops
    Olive oil cooking spray
    Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
    4 peaches, halved and pitted
    Fresh thyme leaves for garnish

    In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, honey and rosemary. Reserve 2 Tbl and add the rest to a 1 gallon zip top bag. Add pork to bag and refrigerate for 1 hour, turning occasionally.

    Preheat broiler to high or coat a grill pan with cooking spray and heat to medium-high over stove. Remove pork from fridge, discard marinating liquid and season port with salt and pepper. Broil pork or cook in grill pan until pork is opaque throughout and feels firm to the touch, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, about 5 to 6 minutes per side.

    Meanwhile, cook peaches under broiler or in a grill pan over medium heat until tender and juicy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate, season with pepper and brush with reserved 2 Tbl marinade. To serve, place a pork chop on each of 4 plates and top with 2 peach halves. Garnish with thyme leaves.

    We obviously doubled this recipe for the size of our family. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

    Used Curriculum Corner

    Well, I can't believe it, but last newsletter a wonderful reader pretty much cleaned out my used book section! Therefore, after this issue I won't be running this section...unless I come across more good deals to advertise!


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    Until next time, may God Bless you abundantly!