Happy Birthday, America!

I wanted to make a moment to wish everyone a Happy Independence Day! Thank you, God, for this country that is America. Please watch over and bless our country

I wanted to share a great version of our National Anthem – please watch, enjoy, and share:

Remember, freedom isn’t free ~ Support our troops ~ Vote in November ~ Pray for our country.

Electability – Fact or Fiction?

We hear a lot about electability during primary season. Throughout this entire process we’ve been told that Mitt Romney’s the only ‘electable’ candidate in the field. Heck, even Donald Trump endorsed Romney because he “doesn’t get Rick Santorum.” Apparently, according to Trump’s standards, someone who’s lost an election should not run for another office. So, I guess what Donald Trump is saying is that once you fail (whether it’s your fault or not) you shouldn’t try again. I guess Mr. Trump’s never failed at anything.

Yes, Rick Santorum lost his last election in 2006. Yes, he lost by a lot. But that’s not all that is important about that election. Remember that the election took place in 2006. If you recall that year Rick Santorum wasn’t the only one. That’s an important point; things were different six years ago. We are now living in a country with more debts and less safety. We are now living with fewer freedoms – our rights are slowly being stripped away from us. We are now “helping” those who refuse to help themselves.

But that’s not the only thing… it seems that the man who was endorsed by Donald Trump has lost an election as well. Let’s take a look at a side-by-side comparison of the election records of both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum and see what we find…

Source (click here for original article)

If we look at Mitt Romney first, we see that losing an election does not preclude one from winning the next. As you can see, Romney was defeated by Ted Kennedy in 1994. Then he won his bid to become governor of Massachusetts in 2003.

Now let’s take a gander at Rick Satorum’s election record. We see first of all that he has a proven track record of winning elections. Not only that, we can see that he didn’t just win them. He defeated the incumbents. And not just once – he’s done it twice! Isn’t that what we need in November? We need to oust the incumbent. Rick Santorum has the experience to do this. He has proven that this is not an impossible task.

There’s one more thing I’d like to point out that is not shown on this graphic. Mitt Romney has one other defeat on his record. He lost to John McCain in 2008. Why would we nominate the man who lost to the guy who was defeated by Obama? What makes us think he can get the job done this time? He can’t. But Rick Santorum can. He has the proven record. He has the experience of running against and defeating incumbents.

For more information about where Rick stands on the issues, please click here.

For more information about Rick Santorum, please click here.

To donate to Rick Santorum’s campaign, please click here.

Note: These are my conclusions and opinions. This is my “mom blog,” if you will. I will not tolerate (read: I will delete) any comments that are mean-spirited, profane, or contain personal attacks toward me or either candidate. All comments are moderated.

Rick Santorum — The Servant

Rick Santorum — The Servant.

I know I don’t normally post about politics on this blog, but I do have a new page in the upper right-hand corner where I lay out my reasons for supporting Senator Rick Santorum for president. We don’t have to agree on that choice to get along and continue to read/follow each other’s blogs. However, I came across this article today that really sums it up and I wanted to share it with you.

I commented on the author’s post acknowledging that there are characteristics in each of the other three men on the ballot that would compel me to select their name on the ballot against Obama come November. But it would be the same as any other election: I would be voting for the “lesser of two evils” (in my opinion).

This election can be different. This time, I FINALLY have an opportunity to support a candidate because I truly believe that he is the best man for the job. In Rick Santorum, not only do we have a man who is intelligent; supports Israel, understands our immigration problems, truly supports job creation and manufacturing in America, and so on; but we also have a man who is principled. He doesn’t just believe things, he LIVES them. He is a man of conviction.

Anyway, back to this article. The author takes a look at each of the four remaining candidates and assigns a one-word description to each. I’ll let you read the article to see how he categorizes the other three, but I agree with him. His one word description of Rick Santorum is Servant. How appropriate! Santorum has been quoted saying that he is not running to be the most powerful man in the country, but he is running to restore that power to the people – where it belongs. A servant. He wants to serve America and her people. He cares for people – even the poor, especially the poor. He is a man of conviction.

Feast Days

Growing up we didn’t celebrate a lot of feast days, so I never really thought about it. It wasn’t until a few years ago, when we really started homeschooling, that I thought about celebrating feast days with the children. However, they always seemed to creep up on me and I was never prepared. I would find a great idea here or there, but it would be too late to do, or I wouldn’t have the right supplies/ingredients to make it happen.

But I decided to change that this year. Since Advent is the beginning of the Church year, I thought it was a good time to start and we actually began celebrating some feast days. Keep in mind that we are new at this, so our celebrations are not huge or elaborate in any way. However, I’ve also realized that they don’t have to be – the children enjoy the celebrations and they learn something about someone who loved Jesus. Just stopping the ordinary, changing the routine, is a way to signify that this is something to remember.

So far, we’ve celebrated St. Nicholas (December 6th), The Immaculate Conception (December 8th), St. Juan Diego (December 9th), Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12th), and St. Lucy (December 13th). We’ve also made our very first Jesse Tree.

For St. Nicholas (sorry I didn’t take pictures, but it’s pretty explanatory) tradition has it that he helped a poor man with dowries for his three daughters and that perhaps one of those ended up in a hanging stocking. For this reason, the children put their shoes out overnight and received a small amount of chocolate (wrapped, of course). Throughout this feast day, we read several books about the life of this generous, Christ-loving man.

For the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, we attended Mass at a local church. Our church is a little farther away, so when we have a Holy Day during the week, we usually attend a more local Mass. We remember at this Mass that Mary had to be without sin in order to carry Jesus as fully God and fully human within her womb.

The feasts of St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe are intertwined and tell a beautiful story that resulted in the conversion of Mexico. Mary appears to a humble widower and asks for a chapel to be built. The local bishop asks Juan Diego to ask for a sign. Mary shows Juan Diego where God has allowed roses to bloom in the winter, and he gathers them in his tilma. When Juan Diego shows the roses to the bishop, that’s not the only amazing thing: a beautiful image of Blessed Mary is imprinted on the tilma. That image still exists and scientists have not been able to figure out how it got there. We enjoyed some Mexican tostadas and recalled the story as told on Glory Stories at Holy Heroes. Diva even colored some coloring pages.

For St. Lucy, it is a tradition (Scandinavian, I think) that the youngest daughter wakes the household dressed in white with a wreath of candles on her head (if you have Kirsten’s Surprise by American Girl, this is the image on the cover). She brings with her sweet buns and coffee/cocoa. While this is a great thought, Diva is not quite old enough to accomplish this on her own. Nor do I want lit candles on my daughter’s head! So, we compromised. She woke us up in an almost white dress with a paper wreath on her head. {This is where I know I’m not a professional blogger yet – I didn’t have my camera on my bedside table to get a photo!} Then we made some biscuits, cocoa and coffee and we all had a nice breakfast together.

Lastly, we have begun making our very first Jesse Tree. This tradition follows the lineage of Jesus from Creation through His birth. Each day there are Bible stories and a new ornament to make. We kept it simple this year and are making everything out of paper. I went to get a piece of poster board and the only green they had was neon, so our tree is neon. As we discuss each day’s readings, either LegoFan or Diva draws the day’s symbol and attaches it to the tree. I love how they can look at the ornaments they have made and can tell the Bible stories in order. This auditory, visual, and tactile project has enabled them to internalize Biblical history even more! We are getting our ideas and explanations from the Advent Adventure Series by Holy Heroes. Now, please don’t laugh at my crude tree drawing or the neon color…

I really think these traditions have helped my children to learn more about people who have loved Jesus before them, as well as more about Jesus Himself. They are doing much more this advent then just making lists and succumbing to the commercialism and greed we see so much of nowadays. I pray that with Advent seasons like this, my children will grow up with the true “Reason for the Season” in their hearts.

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Medieval Feast

We recently finished a history unit on the Medieval times, and I think Diva and LegoFan really enjoyed it. We had a lot of fun making things from the period, and finished off with a mock medieval feast. They started out by making their own Coat of Arms. They each selected an image or two that they felt represented their interests. They put their names at the tops, but for privacy reasons, I have cut that part of the photos out.

Diva chose tornadoes as she’s becoming quite the weather buff!

LegoFan was true to his name and chose Lego bricks, as well as some weapons.

Next, they tried their hands at illuminations in the style of the monks who painstakingly preserved so much of the ancient writings. I even joined in the fun with this one! They were allowed to choose any one of their three initials for this project.

Diva loves her flowers and pink!

LegoFan enjoyed the use of bright colors!

And here’s my contribution…

We discussed the castles of the time and the ways they were protected. One of those ways was through a portcullis – an iron gate that could be opened or closed as was needed. So they drew a scene of the castle yard and then added a portcullis on top of the scene. The gate made it a little difficult to see what was taking place within the walls of the castle…

Another form of protection was a thick, heavy wooden door. This door often showcased some elaborate metal work. So here’s their take on some castle doors:

Next, we discussed guilds. They learned that people of the same profession banded together and formed a guild to protect its members, ensure safety and quality, and keep prices reasonable. They would meet together and wear aprons with symbols of their profession. In keeping with their Coats of Arms, Diva and LegoFan formed guilds of Storm Chasers and Lego Builders:

The last project before our feast was our interpretation of brass portraits. The children took cardboard, wrapped in foil, and ‘engraved’ a knight with a toothpick. They added details like shields and swords. Then they used watercolors to paint their knights. LegoFan wanted his to remain mostly silver like the color of armor, so many of his details can’t be seen in the photo. Diva wanted hers to look like St. Joan of Arc.

Now, on to the feast! We made a very simple beef stew in the slow cooker (because we all know they were very popular back then!) that consisted of beef, gravy, veggies, and herbs.

We know they didn’t really use bowls like this, but it just seemed to be a less messy way to eat it! Instead of bowls, the people would use trenchers – bread plates – to hold their food. At the end of the meal, they were either eaten, fed to the dogs, or given to the poor. The children made a simple dough and flattened it out into trenchers for our feast. They were good with a little butter (I know, not authentic) or dipped into the stew.

The rest of the meal consisted of fresh fruit and vanilla pudding. We all ate our meal with goblets, but also added the modern convenience of silverware. We just couldn’t bear to eat stew and pudding with our hands…

All in all it was a fun end to our history unit. I think the kids really learned a lot and had fun doing it! Diva says her favorite part of the unit was that, “knights fought for their ladies and that there was cool jousting!” LegoFan’s favorite part was that “gargoyles spat out water to protect the roof and that the battering ram actually had a ram’s head.”