Sunday, December 30, 2007

Delayed Revenge

My Uncle Ralph began his academic career as a sociology professor. On the first day of class he would always tell a story about my parents. It's one of those stories that is also retold at family gatherings whenever someone new is in attendance.

You see, it was my parents' first Christmas as a married couple. My dad, anxious to help his young bride set up her kitchen for entertaining, gave her a coffee pot as a gift. My mom put it away in the kitchen without a word.

The next year, their second Christmas together, my dad opened his gift from my mom and found it to be an ashtray. My dad, surprised, said, "I don't smoke." My mom replied, "I don't drink coffee."

What I Got for Christmans

Sharon asks in the comment box:
Ummm . . . are you forgetting something? Did you ever find out why your dear husband wanted you out of the house so badly?? Please don't leave us hanging! :)

I'm sorry to keep you all in suspense! I think he just wanted to get my presents into the house and wrapped without me around.

Rob did really good this year. He got me brand new knives in a butcher's block. I've been needing new kitchen knives forever, but hesitated buying them as I wanted good ones and they're expensive. He also got me all new pots and pans. My old ones were all missing handles and looking quite dented. I also got a lovely art deco teapot. I had been boiling my water for tea in one of the old dented pots, so the teapot was really appreciated. For the family, he got a popcorn popper and a toaster. I know it sounds funny to give the kids a toaster -- but they were so excited. We've never owned a toaster -- just an old beaten up toaster oven (the one TD2 caught on fire). They've been toasting bread and popping corn like crazy for the past 5 days!

Now you know the whole scoop.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

How I Spent My Christmas Eve

While Christmas was wonderfully peaceful, Christmas Eve was quite another story.

It all began on the eve of Christmas Eve when our sewer backed up in the basement. Yep, we had raw sewage in our basement. In case you're wondering, you can find a plumber on Sunday even if it is December 23rd, but you better be ready to empty your wallet.

It took three hours to get the drain cleared. He spent two of those hours next door as their drain is connected to ours. Financially, that was a relief as the plumber's bill was split between the two of us.

So, Christmas Eve morning was spent cleaning up . . . well, you know. I had candles burning all over the house and emptied out a can of air freshener. Bleach was poured down the drain and the basement thoroughly cleaned. I am very blessed to have tolerant children as they did almost all of the work as Rob and I prepared for Christmas.

Did I mention that Rob never gets around to Christmas shopping until Christmas Eve? He got home from his marathon shopping trip and announced to me that he needed to add one more thing to his Wish List. I pointed out to him that it was 3:00 pm the day before Christmas and I was up to my elbows in bread dough. He insisted that he absolutely must have some new sweat shirts for Christmas and Kohl's was open until 6:00 pm. It's not like him to insist like that -- if he wants something he just gets it himself. So, I figured he wanted me out of the house for some odd reason and I figured it probably had to do with my own Christmas present, so off to Kohl's I went.

The great thing was that Kohl's had already marked down all their wares for the big Day After Christmas Sale. I got some great deals.

One thing I should note here. If it is an extra blustery day and you decide at the last minute to stop at Target and buy your kid a round sled and it won't fit in the grocery cart so you set it on top of the cart -- you'll be sorry. The wind will catch it and it'll fly up in the air and hit you on the head, right in the middle of the parking lot with loads of Christmas shoppers staring at you. Men will stop in the cars, roll down their window and shout at you, "Hey Lady! You okay?" Then you'll have red cheeks to match the big bump on your forehead.

Anyway, I got home at 5:30 to Rob exclaiming, "We have to leave for Mass in 15 minutes!" Oops! Everyone else was ready and I managed to get dressed in time. The hair wasn't exactly coiffed, but I was able to comb it forward to cover the bump.

Mass was absolutely lovely. Half my family served in some way. The choir sang carols for the half hour before Mass. All the lights were off, except for white Christmas lights and candles everywhere. It was decorated so lovely. Included in the procession was a child carrying the Baby Jesus. She put the Baby into the crib and Father took out his guitar and sang a lullaby to the Baby Jesus before Mass began. It was very sweet.

We came home, enjoyed our evening meal, and reflected on the Reason for the Season. Yep, it was a crazy, hectic day, but there is something about the Christmas Vigil Mass to bring Peace to it all.

LOL and Amazon

For the Love of Literature is now listed at They don't actually have any copies available for sale yet, but it's listed.

If you've read the book already, don't miss this opportunity to be the very first person to post a review.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Danielle Bean Gets LOL

Danielle Bean, author of the lovely Mom to Mom, Day to Day and the equally lovely My Cup of Tea endorses For the Love of Literature:
Maureen Wittmann has put together not only a comprehensive book list, but also a helpful guide to choosing the right educational approach, tips for making full use of public libraries, and inspiration for studying fine art and music. For the Love of Literature is a gift for all variety of homeschooling families!

Thank you Danielle!

To order For the Love of Literature, just see the sidebar of this blog.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Save on Postage

You can save on postage for The Catholic Homeschool Companion or For the Love of Literature if you order more than one copy. I have Paypal setup for Priority Mail and it's the same price to mail two books in one envelope as it is to mail one book. So, get together with a friend (or a few) and save on postage.

Here's how the postage works out:
1 -2 books, $4.60
3-4 books, $9.20
5-6 books, $13.80
7-8 books, $18.40
9 or more books, $23.00

You can order from the sidebar of this blog or at my website.

Missing Family

We go home to Missouri for Christmas on even years. On odd years, we go for Thanksgiving. This being 2007, we spent Christmas home in Michigan.

When we go out of town for Christmas, it's mayhem. Loading up the car with kids and presents, driving 500 miles each way, going from house to house to visit, spending the night in various family members' homes -- it's all so very exhausting. Fun, but exhausting. Then, once we get home from our trip, we have Christmas all over again. You see, Santa delivers the children's presents here and we find them upon our return. We made this arrangement with Santa years ago, so we wouldn't have to lug toys over 1,000 miles, risking loss, breakage, and other headaches.

I love it when we stay in Michigan for Christmas. It's so peaceful and relaxing. We pick out our tree on the eve of Christmas Eve and decorate as carols play on the radio. On Christmas Eve we attend the Vigil Mass, as we're always scheduled to serve that day. We come home to a nice dinner, thanks to the crock pot, and put the kids to bed early before Santa makes his appearance.

Of course, the children jump in our bed early Christmas morning, anxious to open presents. Once Rob and I get our robes on and trudge into the living room, we read the nativity narrative from the Bible and get to opening presents. We open just one at a time rather than the everyone-for-himself mayhem. It takes forever, but hey we have nowhere else to go. This year, I stayed in my jammies well into the afternoon -- I love it!

Yes, I do miss my family in Missouri. But, it's not really the holidays when I long for them. It's those everyday moments when I find myself missing them terribly. When I bake a special dessert and I'd like to call my parents to come over to share. When the kids are in a play and I'd like to invite my in-laws to come watch. When I need a babysitter and I know my siblings would jump at the chance if they lived close by. When the kids would like to go on a nature hike and my Uncle Jim would be just the guy to take them. When I'd just like to sit down with a cup of tea and shoot the breeze with cousins for no other reason than to spend time together.

Those are the times when I really miss my family. Not in the hustle bustle of holiday busyness, but in the simple everyday happenings.

Contest Update

Merry Christmas everyone!

Even though we stayed in town for Christmas this year and it was wonderfully relaxing, I haven't been able to get on the computer.

I'm sorry that I didn't get right back into the contest mode. Here's what I'd like to do: Let's get back into the groove on January 2nd.

In the meantime, I'll give you a hint. The book will be from Our Sunday Visitor and there will be 5 copies up for grabs!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Contest: Christmas Break

Today's winner is:
Susan of TX
Congratulations Susan!

I've already packaged up Susan's copy of The Shadow of His Wings: The True Story of Fr. Geron Goldmann, OFM and will get it into the mail later today.

I love getting up every morning and having the opportunity to email someone to say, "YOU WON!" It's all so very exciting and fun. But even so, with the busyness of the season and preparing my family for the coming of Jesus, I must take a break.

I've got books from Our Sunday Visitor, Mark Shea, and others, so we will get back to the daily drawings soon after Christmas. Just check back here at the blog for the update.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Time For an Ignatius Book

The winner of Thomas Finds a Treasure is:

Deborah of TN

Congratulations Deborah!!! I'll be speaking in Memphis in 2008 -- maybe I'll get to meet you!

Today's book is from Ignatius Press, publisher of the now out-of-print A Catholic Homeschool Treasury, my first book and predecessor to The Catholic Homeschool Companion.

Anyway, today's giveaway is a copy of The Shadow of His Wings: The True Story of Fr. Geron Goldmann, OFM. This book is featured in For the Love of Literature in the history section under World War II. I was really moved by this book and highly recommend it for high school students and adults.

From the publisher:

We had to do it. We had to reprint this book. Rarely has a book had such an impact on so many of us here at Ignatius Press. It is one of the most powerful and moving books we have come across. If you can only buy one book this season, this must be the one.

Here is the astonishing true story of the harrowing experiences of a young German seminarian drafted into Hitler's dreaded SS at the onset of World War II. Without betraying his Christian ideals, against all odds, and in the face of Evil, Gereon Goldmann was able to complete his priestly training, be ordained, and secretly minister to German Catholic soldiers and innocent civilian victims caught up in the horrors of war. How it all came to pass will astound you.

Father Goldmann tells of his own incredible experiences of the trials of war, his many escapes from almost certain death, and the diabolical persecution that he and his fellow Catholic soldiers encountered on account of their faith. What emerges is an extraordinary witness to the workings of Divine Providence and the undying power of love, prayer, faith, and sacrifice. Illustrated.

This book is also available on CD for purchase.

Entering the daily drawing is easy. Just send an email to me HERE (RWitt1776 at aol dot com) before 5:00 AM Eastern Time tomorrow morning. Make sure to include your name and address in the body of the email.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Linky Link

A few links to brighten your day:

We're a Homeschool Family
This is a hysterical video set to the music of The Adams Family theme song. It might be describes as Weird Al for the homeschool set. My kids have watched it at least 10 times already and have memorized the song.

Real People, Real Miracles
Heartwarming Christmas stories from Readers Digest. Get the Kleenex.

Flexibility At Its Finest
Mary Jo's latest column is up at Catholic Exchange.
For those of you who have read my column, I am a self-admitted Type-A German (T. A. G., for short). Flexibility is not a character trait we types are born with. We have to learn it. Sometimes the hard way. For me, this was the homeschool adventure.

The Contest Continues

Fanfare please . . .
Today's winner is:
Cindi from IL
Congratulations Cindi!!!

Cindi will be receiving a copy of Jose Finds the King by Joan Stromberg and published by Ecce Homo Press (illustrious publisher of For the Love of Literature)

Today's giveaway is a copy of Book Three in the Glory of America series. Thomas Finds a Treasure: A St. John Neumann Story is also by Joan Stromberg and published by Ecce Homo Press. (Thank you Ecce Homo for donating these books!) This series teaches American history through the lives of the saints and through a fun, engaging story. It illustrates exactly the kind of books I promote in For the Love of Literature: faith-filled, interesting, and educational, all at the same time. The Glory of America series has an added benefit -- they're inexpensive at only $7.95 each.

From the publisher:

Thomas Hrodej's father, a tough Bohemian immigrant, helped build the Erie Canal. When Thomas is picked on by the town bullies, will he be as tough as his father? When they use the ultimate weapon...rumors and gossip, Thomas turns to the new, young Bohemian priest, Fr. Neumann, for help. What he finds is a treasure! It's 1836 Williamsville, New York, and the Erie Canal is opening the West. Catholics are persecuted, misunderstood, and, at times, even despised. Follow the Adventures of Thomas and Father John Neumann as they encounter bandits, thugs with guns, creatures in the forest, and the special gifts of their own faith, friends, and family. Unit study on the Erie Canal included.
Other titles in the Glory of America series include:
Kat Finds a Friend: A St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Story and The Orphans Find a Home: A St. Francis Xavier Cabrini Story. (It was after reading The Orphans Find a Home that my then-6-year-old daughter declared she wanted to be a missionary to China. Today, at 15-years old, she is still determined to go to China and is currently learning Mandarin.)

Entering the daily drawing is easy. Just send an email to me HERE (RWitt1776 at aol dot com) before 5:00 AM Eastern Time tomorrow morning. Make sure to include your name and address in the body of the email.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Gluten-Free Christmas Baking

Last year at this time, I wrote about how we were able to rediscover Christmas baking in our gluten-free kitchen. The fun continues this Christmas season.

Today we made Almond Kisses, a meringue cookie with almonds. The recipe is from my KitchenAid owner's manual (we made the 144 servings version):
3 egg whites
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
2 c. sliced almonds

Place egg whites in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and wire whip to mixer. Gradually turn to Speed 10 and whip about 2 minutes, or until soft peaks form.
Reduce to Speed 4 and gradually add sugar, beating about 1 minute. Stop and scrape bowl. Add almond extract. Turn to Speed 10 and whip 1 1/2 minutes, or until very stiff. Fold in almonds with rubber spatula.
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased and floured or parchment paper-covered baking sheets. Bake at 325 for 15 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
Yield: 36 cookies

Variation: For Gift Giving
12 egg whites
6 c. sugar
1 Tblsp. almond extract
6 c. sliced almonds

Prepare as directed above, using a 6 quart mixer bowl.
Yield: 144 cookies

I substituted vanilla, just because that's what I had on hand. I also made half without almonds for nut-phobic children. I think that next time I'll try it with mini-chocolate chips.

Next on the menu is:

Cream Cheese Mints
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 Tablespoon butter, softened
3 cups confectioners sugar
2 drops peppermint oil (or 3/4 tsp peppermint extract)
food coloring, if desired

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, and confectioner's sugar. Mix in peppermint oil. Color as desired with food coloring, or leave white. Roll mixture into small balls, and place on waxed paper. Flatten with a fork dipped in confectioners' sugar. Let dry for about 2 hours on waxed paper, then freeze or refrigerate.

We made these last year and they were great!

We're also going to try Peanut Butter Cups from Danielle Bean's website.

And we must make the fudge wreaths again. Those were a huge hit with everyone!

Missionaries and Martyrs

Drum roll please. Today's winner, of Willie Finds Victory by Joan Stromberg, is:

Kim from NH

Congratulations Kim!!!

Are you ready for today's contest? I hope you're all still hanging in there with me. Now is not the time to give up. I want everyone to win. Okay, I know that's not possible, but you can't win if you don't try. Besides, today's book is way cool!

Jose Finds the King: A Blessed Miguel Pro Story by Ann Ball [Ecce Homo Press] is the beautiful story of Bl. Miguel (1891-1827, Mexico) told through the eyes of a child. And Ann Ball is just the person to tell it. She spent an enormous amount of time researching Bl. Miguel and only uses his actual words in this story. I suggest enjoying Jose Finds a King as a read aloud, especially since it does touch on Bl. Miguel's martyrdom.

From the publisher:

Jose's life is just perfect: a loving mother, doting big brother, great friends and great fun. Best yet, he is about to receive the ultimate gift: Jesus in his First Communion. Yet, Jose's world comes crashing down when he witnesses his teacher's martyrdom by Mexican soldiers. Will Jose's life ever be the same again? How can a priest, martyred years before help him to learn to love again? Fun to read! Exciting adventures! Faith-filled journeys! Unit study on Revolutionary Mexico included.

All you have to do to enter the free drawing for this book is send an email HERE (RWitt1776 at aol dot com) before 5:00 AM Eastern time Wednesday morning. Make sure to include your name and address so that I can mail the book to you should you win.

If you would like some adult reading on the topic of Bl. Miguel or Mexican martyrdom, here are a few grown-up titles for you to check out:

Iniquis Afflictisque by Pope Pius XI (encyclical) – On the Persecution of the Church in Mexico. Written in 1926.

Blessed Miguel Pro: 20th Century Martyr also by Ann Ball [TAN] – A short, yet well-rounded biography. Includes photographs.

Mexican Martyrdom by Fr. Wilfrid Parsons, SJ – The true stories of the persecuted in Mexico. Few Americans realize the extent of the anti-Catholic policies of President Plutarcho Elias Calles. Many executions were carried out in the 1920’s, solely based on the practice of religion.

All these titles are featured in For the Love of Literature.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Today's Contest

It's Monday and we're back to the contest. We have a winner and we have a new book. The winner of The Iron Spy by Joan Stromberg and published by Ecce Homo Press (publisher of For the Love of Literature) is . . .

34 Linda from MI

Congratulations Linda!!! Your book is on the way.

Today's giveaway is a copy of Joan Stromberg's Willie Finds Victory: A Blessed Seelos Story. This is from her Glory of America series, which I absolutely love! This series teaches American history through the lives of the saints. How cool is that! Children love these books as the story's protagonist is always a child.

Willy McBlaine is on a mission. He is determined to find his sister's husband and take his place as a soldier in the Union Army before it's too late. Will he find Bill Smith before the big battle? When Willy is sent to find Bill in the hospital, he finds cheerful Father Seelos instead. Can Father Seelos help him with his mission? Fun to read! Exciting adventures! Faith-filled journeys! Civil War Unit Study included. Includes the story of the life of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos. Beautiful illustrations by Eileen McCook.

Willie Finds a Friend is featured in For the Love of Literature and would be nice for a grade school or lower middle school student.

To enter all you have to do is send an email HERE (RWitt1776 at aol dot com) before 5:00 AM Eastern time Tuesday morning. There's still lots more books to give away, so check back each day.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I Have Awesome Friends

My friend Mary Jo emailed me this morning:

I finally had a chance last night to sit down and look at the book. It is fabulous!!!!!!!!! Great job. You have really done home schoolers a great service. Even Karen looked at it - before I did. She said, "Mom, this is an awesome book." It is really well-done. I'm so proud of you!!!!

Thank you Mary Jo!

Winners Galore

Let's just get right to it. The winners of The Man Who Never Died by Rev. Gerald T. Brennan are:

Paula of MA
Amber of MI
Susan of GA

Congratulations ladies!!! For those of you who would like to own a copy of The Man Who Never Died, Sophia Institute Press is still having that 25% off sale. But hurry, it ends Dec. 17th.

Now, for today's contest. Some good news first. It's Saturday. That means that I get the day off tomorrow. Which means that you get an extra day to get around to entering the contest. So, email me (RWitt1776 at aol dot com) with your name and address before 5:00 AM Eastern Time on Monday morning in order to be entered.

Today's book is a history mystery. It's something like the American Girl history mystery series, only better. The Iron Spy: The Danville Chronicles by Joan Stromberg is part of a new series from Ecce Homo Press called American Saints in Progress Stories. I hope that there are lots more coming in this series!

From the back cover:

It's 1875 and in the dark mines of the hills of Pennsylvania where coal is king, the Molly Maguires rule with terrorism. Could they have finally come to the sleepy iron-ore town of Danville?

After an explosion at the biggest iron mill in town, 12 year old Mary Mulhearn tries to clear her father of suspected Molly Maguire terrorism. Daughter of an Irish immigrant, Mary must use all her faith, her wits, and even her quick feet to stay one step ahead of the company spy. But who could he really be?

This great adventure story is for ages 10 and up.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Nancy Brown Deals

Nancy Brown has a couple of Christmas deals for you at her blog. She's giving away a free audio CD if you order her book The Mystery of Harry Potter. She's also offering her Father Brown Reader for only 9.95. That's an awesome price for such a beautifully written and illustrated book! The price will be going up to $12.95 after the New Year, so order now. It'll make a great Christmas gift! When you order directly from Nancy your book will be autographed. I don't know about you, but I LOVE autographed books.

My Friends Like My Book

My friend Michelle wrote to me this morning:
I really enjoyed your book “For the Love of Literature”. What a wonderful testimonial of how literature can change your life. I have already started marking some of the books we have not read yet to add to our library lists.
Thank you Michelle!

We Have Winners

I slept in a little this morning, getting up at 7 instead of 5. But, I managed to pick the winners from yesterday's contest and I'm all ready to give you the news of today's contest.
First, the winners of The Blood-Red Crescent:
37 Jennifer from MA
90 Nancy from SD
47 Carmela from PA
Today's book is The Man Who Never Died: The Life and Adventures of St. Peter, the First Pope by Rev. Gerald T. Brennan. The story of the first pope is not a dull one. This is a great book to introduce children to Peter. It's a slender chapter book great for grade school but would also be nice for a lower middle school child.
Here's how to enter. Send an email to me HERE (RWitt1776 at aol dot com). Make sure to include your name and address in the body of the email so I can send the book to you, should your number be pulled from the hat.
Someone asked if you have to buy For the Love of Literature to enter the contest. No, this is a fun contest, not a promotion. I'm so happy to have For the Love of Literature complete, I want to celebrate with all of you.
Now, get those emails to me and go tell all your friends and family. The more the merrier at this party!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Teens and LOL

My friend Linda B. asked to buy two copies of For the Love of Literature. I thought she was going to give one away to a friend. But, no, it's for her teenaged daughter. The plan is to hand over the extra book to Teen Daughter and let her find her own books to read -- for fun and for school. Cool idea!

If you'd like to order For the Love of Literature, you can do so right here on the blog. Just click the Add to Cart button in teh sidebar.

Talented Friends

My friend Dani is amazingly talented. She does computer graphic images. (I'm so not-knowledgeable in this area, I'm not even sure that's what you call it.) Anyway, if you go to her blog, you'll find some very lovely Christmas graphics. Yesterday, I found this graphic of my book. I'm just in awe of people with artistic talent.

Drum Roll Please

And the winners of Bible Stories for Children [Sophia Institute Press] are:

76 Susie in KS
12 Beth in MI
150 Kathy in TX

Congratulations winners!!!! If you didn't win and you want to purchase this book, remember that Sophia is having a 25% off sale until Dec. 17. All the detail are at their website.

I have 3 copies of today's book, The Blood-Red Crescent: A Novel by Henry Garnett. This piece of historical fiction was originally published in 1960 and is all about the Battle of Lepanto. It would be good for a middle school or high school student. The author begins the book by giving the reader the facts so you can pick out the fiction from the real history. The Blood-Red Crescent is part of Sophia Institute Press' new imprint for Catholic Fiction: Imagio.

This book is featured in For the Love of Literature.

f you'd like to learn more about the Battle of Lepanto, because after all we parents should be reading alongside our children, I recommend Lepanto by G. K. Chesterton, edited by Dale Ahlquist [Ignatius Press]. This book is also featured in For the Love of Literature. Chesterton’s poetry shines in this masterpiece of rhyme, rhythm, and alliteration. The Ignatius commentary edition is worth obtaining for the explanatory notes.

Now, here are the rules to enter the contest and win a copy of The Blood-Red Crescent. Send an email HERE (RWitt1776 at aol dot com) before 5:00 AM Eastern Time. Make sure to include your name and address in the body of the email.

A couple of clarifications. You do need to enter the contest each day. One entry per person per day. However, if you have a friend who doesn't have email, feel free to send an entry for her.

Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Commas and Homeschoolers

Teen Son and I had a lively conversation in the car about punctuation. Yes, punctuation. Yes, just for fun.
We especially debated the stylistic importance of commas. The conversation got even more exciting when we moved to the necessity of commas for clarity in writing. And then there was the debate over whether or not to use a comma before the "and" in a list of 3 or more items.

Homeschoolers are such geeks. I love it!

The Celebration Continues

We have a winner! Actually, we have five winners. I drew the numbers out of a hat and the winners are (drum roll please):

91 Mary of FL
26 Jennifer of PA
72 Tina of CO
18 Mary of PA
03 Renee

It was so fun this morning emailing the winners to let them know they will be getting a free copy of Angel in the Waters by Regina Doman. This is way too fun!

Yesterday, I told you that this was a week-long party. Well, the celebration has been extended. Hillside Education, Ecce Homo Press, Our Sunday Visitor, Mark Shea, and others have all decided to join the party, bringing along their books (BYOB?) I now have enough free books to do daily giveaways for a month! Though, if you don't mind, there will be no giveaways on Sunday or holidays.

Today's book is Bible Stories for Little Children also from Sophia Institute Press. This is a very sweet chapter book, perfect for reading aloud to littles or to hand an upper grade school child. I love the old-fashioned black & white drawings. I have three copies to give away.

Here's how this gig works: Send an email HERE. Include your name and address. That's all you have to do. Tomorrow morning I'll randomly pick three winners. The contest closes at 5 AM Eastern Time.

If you don't win, that's okay, come back tomorrow and the next day and the next . . .

Great Deal at Sophia

From Sophia Institute Press:

25% Off Any Book We Sell

Guaranteed stateside delivery by December 24th, or your order is free.

Fine Catholic Books for Children and Adults from

Sophia Institute Press
(Sale ends 12/17/2007)


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Reviews Are Starting to Come In

Nancy Brown got her copy of For the Love of Literature yesterday and reviews it HERE. Thank you Nancy!

Cay Gibson got her copy this morning and is featuring For the Love of Literature for this week's Book Walk. Thank you Cay! (If you purchase a copy and then go and win -- I'd be happy to refund your $$. Unless you'd rather give it away to a loved one or your llibrary.)

You can order your copy of For the Love of Literature (in time for Christmas) by clicking on the Add to Cart button (just below the cover art) in the sidebar or by going to my website. The Catholic Homeschool Companion is also available for purchase at both places (just scroll down). The shopping cart is set up through Paypal and can take credit cards.

You're Invited to a Party

I'm planning a book launch party this weekend at my parish. I'd love for all of you to join me in celebrating the release of For the Love of Literature. Yes, I know that you can't get to Michigan, but we can have a virtual party.

Several publishers have donated books to use as door prizes at both parties. Each day, for the next week, I'll feature a different book to give away to the blog-party attendees.

Here's how it will work. Send an email HERE with your name and mailing address. You have until 5:00 AM Eastern Time tomorrow. I'll then number the emails and pick a number out of a hat. (Similar to Cay Gibson's Book Walk.)

Today's giveaway is a biggie. I have five copies of Regina Doman's lovely children's book Angel in the Waters, published by Sophia Press. So, there will five winners today!

Angel in the Waters is one of the books mentioned in For the Love of Literature. It is a picture book for preschool to early grade school children. It tells the story of a baby in his mother's womb and his conversations with his guardian angel. Angel in the Waters is, in my opinion, a must have in every home. In fact, when it was first released, I bought it in bulk to give away as Christmas presents. It is a beautiful pro-life story.

I'd like to thank Sophia Institute Press for their generosity in donating the books. Sophia is the publisher of my homeschool book, The Catholic Homeschool Companion and I must say that they are delightful to work with. Plus, they publish so many great books. One thing that makes Sophia special is that they giveaway tons of books to prisoners and to priests. I love it!

I'll announce the winners tomorrow and have a new book to giveaway, so make sure to check back!
Addendum: The contest has been extended for at least a month. So, make sure to check the blog daily (except Sunday and holidays) to see what prize(s) is being given away that day.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cay's Book Walk

Cay tells me that she'll be featuring a really cool and awesome book at her blog for this week's Book Walk. She won't be making the announcement until tomorrow. Gosh, I wonder what book it could be.

CE: Who Me Micromanage

Mary Jo's latest homeschooling column is up over there at Catholic Exchange. Make sure to check it out and leave Mary Jo a nice comment.
All homeschoolers have been accused of micro-managing our children. That's a relatively new term for parents who raise kids with actual real standards and morals. This means, to those who label us, that we hold our children under a microscope to audit their every word and action to make sure they turn out exactly like we want them to with no chance of failure.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Free Shipping at Seton

From Seton Home Study:

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Educational Gifts That Entertain! DVD's, games, trading cards, books, and more.
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Shooter of the Year

This week was our shooting club's annual Wild Game Dinner. This is a big event where awards are given and leaders are recognized, in addition to all the fun of the wild game potluck, wildlife identification games, and an awesome slide show of the previous year's events.

The biggest part of the night is the announcement of the Shooting Excellence Award. This award does not necessarily go to the best shooter, but to the person who best represents the 4-H spirit.

The winner this year was my own sweet Teen Daughter One. She was praised not only for her shooting skill, but her work as club treasurer, her willingness to help the youngsters in the club, her volunteer work with the homeless and so much more. I admit to shedding a few tears as her coach presented the award. We're all so proud of her!

If this all sounds familiar, it should. Teen Son tied for this award last year.

Oh, Sparky says to make sure to let you all know he won the wildlife identification contest for the second year in a row. Way to go Sparkster!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Boring Compass

Pete Vere, JCL went to see The Golden Compass and gives his review HERE. Pete is a canon lawyer and co-author, with Sandra Miesel, of Pied Piper of Atheism: Philip Pullman and Children's Fantasy published by Ignatius Books, and available HERE.

Education Secretary Endorses LOL

This endorsement means a great deal to me. Thank you Fr. Stubna.
“Maureen Wittmann has mapped out a lifetime reading plan that will be useful to children, teens, and adults alike. Literature is an important part of any integral Catholic education – and our Catholic education is never finished on this side of heaven. This book provides a significant help in seeing how literature can be used to teach and emphasize the foundational values that lie at the heart of a truly Catholic education.”

Reverend Kris D. Stubna, S.T.D., Secretary for Education, Diocese of Pittsburgh
For the Love of Literature is now available for purchase at my website.

CE: Adrienne Furness Interview, Part Three

The final and third part of my interview with famed librarian Adrienne Furness is up at Catholic Exchange.
But then something happened. People began to discover the very real benefits of homeschooling. I began to hear parents in the 1990's saying things such as, "Even if the very best Catholic school was next door, I'd still homeschool."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Website Updates

My web guy has all the updates uploaded to the website. Just in time for the release of For the Love of Literature (tomorrow!).

He put up some free downloads that go with the book: An alphabetical list of all the books mentioned in For the Love of Literature, a literature unit study checklist, and a checklist for when assigning literature to teach core subjects.

For the Love of Literature is now available for purchase there too.

It's all just too exciting!

CE: Adrienne Furness Interview, Part Two

Part two of my interview with Adrienne is up at Catholic Exchange.
It's an interesting thing to watch your oldest child grow into a man. He's no longer a little child. He's capable of making sound life decisions on his own. Sure, he looks to me for guidance, but I trust him implicitly in making right choices. I'm not quite sure how that happened. Was I blessed with children who are naturally good or did I somehow make enough right parenting decisions to help them blossom into great kids?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

CE: Adrienne Furness Interview, Part One

Catholic Exchange is running the interview I did with Adrienne Furness a while back. It'll run in three parts, beginning today.
We are made in God's image. Let's think about that for a moment. What does God do? He creates. He created us and the earth. Therefore, it is only natural that we have a desire to create. It feels good to create, to learn, to explore, to discover. I try, as a parent and homeschooler, to take advantage of these natural tendencies in my children.
Adrienne is a children's librarian in New York and wrote a book for librarians on how to reach out to homeschoolers. Helping Homeschoolers in the Library is due to be released next month and will be published by the American Library Association.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

CE: Clearer Not Louder

Mary Jo's latest on Catholic Exchange: Clearer, Not Louder
When I am tested in this fashion, I begin to elevate. My blood pressure goes up, along with my volume. This can come on rather suddenly. The children used to act surprised when this happened. Now I am embarrassed to admit that they have gotten used to it. Eye-rolling ensues, at its finest.

Monday, December 03, 2007

LOL's First Official Endorsement

“Maureen Wittmann has done us all a great service with this book. Raising children to love the adventure of visiting new worlds and seeing new people with new ideas is one of the greatest thrills a parent can have. Books are everybody’s free ticket to that adventure and Wittmann is a fine guide for the journey!”

-- Mark Shea, Senior Content Editor,

LOL Update

The Patron Saints of Publishers have come through! The printer of For the Love of Literature says the print job is on schedule for December 7th. Joan is driving up here Thursday evening and we'll go to Grand Rapids together to pick up 48 44-lb. boxes. Or is it 44 48-lb. boxes? Either way, we're picking up LOTS of books. We'll get all the pre-orders packaged up and mailed out to you that same day. My web guy is having some technical trouble, but I'll let you know as soon as I have it for sale on my website. Of course, you can always order directly from Ecce Homo Press (make sure to check out the historical fiction while you're there - they make great Christmas presents for the kids!).

Now, we must ask St. Christopher to help Joan get here safely and keep the roads clear of ice and snow!

Addendum: Joan still has the pre-publication special up at her website. This means that you can pick up For the Love of Literature for $9.55 instead of 12.95! Also, you can still pick up The Catholic Homeschool Companion for 20% off at my website (click on Books). I'm not sure how long these two deals will be up. It all depends on how quick our web people can put up the new changes. Could be today, but more likely it'll be Wed. or Thurs.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Prayers for Flying Stars

Nancy Brown will be making some changes at her blog in the near future. She's working on a simple plan to take Flying Stars in a new, awesome direction. Please offer up a few prayers for her as she works to build up the Body of Christ through her writing online.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

CE: Territorial No More

Mary Jo's latest on Catholic Exchange: Territorial No More.
The point is this: siblings are good for each other. There is no greater gift two parents can give to their children than another sibling, even though it sometimes takes the siblings years to learn how to get along. This is okay. It's all part of the process. I believe homeschooling can speed this process along, and I have an illustration to prove it.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Contest for Free Books

It's so nice to be able to post. For some reason, Blogger has been fussy with me today and wouldn't let me sign in. Now that I'm here, I have to think of something to say.

Oh, yeah, Cay Gibson is holding a contest. Here's the giveaway:

Grand Prize: Another autographed copy of Christmas Mosaic
1st Place: A Gift for the Christ Child: A Christmas Folktale by Linda Schlafer---this book (another beautiful offering from Loyola Press) is listed in the booklist but not featured. However, as an adaptation of the classic picture book it is the perfect read-along with Why the Chimes Rang (one of the featured books in Christmas Mosaic)
2nd Place: A gift set for a mother: Loyola Press has graciously donated some of their Christmas books to the Book Walk. One entry winner will win a set of Carol Lynn Pearson's books: The Christmas Play: A Fable for the Holidays and A Christmas Thief
3rd Place: Two preschool-selections: Another Loyola selection Baby Jesus and Santa's Favorite Story (a featured Mosaic book)

To enter the contest, just send an email HERE. Include your name and snail mail address. And do it before Monday morning. Cay will then randomly pick the winners from the entries.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I Thought Pete Vere Was a Canon Lawyer?

Pete Vere cracks me up! He signs THIS letter, "Catholic nitwit and co-author of the forthcoming Pied Piper of Atheism: Philip Pullman and Children's Fantasy"

Here, here, for the Catholic nitwit!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

CE: The Exhausting Chase

Check out Mary Jo's funny-as-ever column, The Exhausting Chase.
And you know what, he was right, but I wonder how he knew these two things: that our daughter was 12 and that I chased her up the stairs. It could have been a lucky guess, but I suspect he had taken many calls from distraught mothers of 12-year-old girls over the course of his career.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Catholic Mom: Thrifty Christmas

My December column at is up a wee bit early, if you'd like to check it out: The Thrifty Homeschooler Goes Christmas Shopping.

As Christians we shy away from the over-commercialism of Christmas, while at the same time desiring to fill our homes with Christmas joy. Just as the Magi brought gifts to the Christ Child, we wish to follow their example in bringing gifts to our loved ones. I have found that it is possible to have a spirit-filled holiday, complete with gift giving, on a budget.

Prayer Request

Please offer up a prayer for Rob's sister Sue. She's having surgery this morning for her cancer. Her prognosis is very good, but prayers are still much appreciated. Just hearing the C-word is enough to scare me.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Christmas Mosaic by Cay Gibson

Christmas Mosaic: An Illustrated Book Study for Advent and Christmas Books came in the mail last week, but I was too busy preparing to go home for Thanksgiving, as well as deer hunting with the kid (no deer yet, so we'll be going out again this week) to take a peek at it.

I finally opened Christmas Mosaic up today and I love it. But, then, I don't think I've ever met a book about books that I didn't at least like very much.

Christmas Mosaic is very much like its predecessor, Catholic Mosaic. It features favorite picture books and gives you the tools you need to turn them into learning adventures.

Now, I am not one for overdoing the activities and academic lessons, as I think that sometimes children just need to enjoy a book. However, I like very much having those ideas, vocabulary words, questions to ponder, activities, etc. on hand. They give me the tools I need when a child gets excited about a book and wants to explore more. I don't give out discussion questions as a lesson per se, but I read them to myself in advance, and then I look absolutely brilliant when the kids and I talk about the book.

Christmas Mosaic features 30 picture books that can be read during Advent to help you and the children prepare for Christmas. Thirty books is way more than you could ever read in one season, so pick and choose a few this year and a few others next year, etc. This book will be a treasure to use for many years to come.
Thank you Cay for Christmas Mosaic!

Now I'm off to the library website to put some Christmas books on hold.

Envoy Magazine: Free Offer

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend!

One thing I'm grateful for is that Envoy Magazine is back in print! To get a free issue AND a free book, click HERE.

The free book is Search and Rescue by Patrick Madrid, one I've read and recommend.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hunting and Perseverance

Well, Teen Daughter One and I didn't see a single deer yesterday, much less get a shot at one. Fortunately, my neighbor has volunteered to be on call should TD1 bag one today. He'll show her how to properly dress the deer, as well as butcher the venison.

So, we're off again this morning.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Deer Hunting Women

I love my kid. I really, really love my kid. So much so, I sat out in the cold with her for hours last night deer hunting. Yep, you heard me right. Deer hunting. And I'm off in a few minutes this morning to do it again. Sitting out in the cold for hours on end, without moving, so my Teen Daughter can shoot a deer.

Well, I got to go get my long johns on and get bundled up. I'll tell you all about it later. After my fingers thaw.

Oh gosh, what will I do if she actually bags one!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Prayers for the Huff Family

My dear readers, it is with great sadness that I write this morning. Yesterday morning, Christopher Huff, not quite 6-years old, died in his sleep. Christopher had a life long battle with a variety of medical issues, though this was not expected. As one friend put it, "Christopher will have no more suffering in this life. He has added his voice to the heavenly choir. " Yet, those left behind still grieve, of course. Please pray for Scott and Pattie Huff and their children.

Some of you may recall that Pattie was a regular columnist for Heart & Mind until taking a sabatical to care for Christopher. She also wrote for The Catholic Homeschool Companion. In fact, her essay on teaching fine art is one of the most popular pieces in that book.

I emailed Pattie yesterday asking if I could present her prayer request to you and she responded this morning, "Yes!" So, here is Pattie's letter from yesterday:

Dear Friends -

It is with a bittersweet tone that I write to you today. Christopher passed away in his sleep this morning. We believe it was related to his airway issues. We have the autopsy results in a couple of hours.

Please pray for our family as we need lots of grace from God to weather this storm. Amanda reminded me this morning that God never makes a mistake. We know that Christopher is in the company of the angels and saints and has seen God face-to-face this morning. He is in a better place without pain or breathing difficulties or feeling hungry.

We are all surprised by his death. He had been doing so well. In fact, yesterday I took him to drum-making workshop and he had a wonderful time. He slept with his drum last night.

As you can imagine the kids are pretty broken up, so please pray that they may find
peace and acceptance. We haven't made any arrangements yet. I will try to pass along another email when we know. At the earliest, I think, the funeral will be Monday late afternoon or early evening.

Thanks in advance for your prayers!

Pattie & Scott

Let us all wrap this family in prayer, especially today and the upcoming weeks.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Printers, Shipping Dates, and Patron Saints

The printer is telling us the ship date for For the Love for Literature will be between December 7th and 14th. In time for Christmas, but personally I don't want to wait that long. I'm starting to get anxious. So, I've decided to pray, and pray hard, that the printer gets in a groove and gets this baby off the printing press way sooner. Fortunately for me there are plenty of patron saints for printers:

A virtual army to call on! Feel free to join me.

Also, the PRE-publication deal is even better than I thought! The full selling price of LOL will be 12.95, so the pre-pub price of 9.55 is 26% off. (Don't ask me how Joan came up with 26%. Actually, it's 26.25%)

If you pre-order the book, it'll be shipped the very day it comes off the presses. The shipping labels are all queued up to print. Joan and I are going to drive to pick them up personally the second we get the call. Hey, it's only 300 or so miles for Joan! No, we're not patient enough to wait for the UPS Man.

Yes, I know. Patience is a virtue. I'm working on it.

More Christmas Shopping!

Illuminated Ink is running their biggest sale EVER, now through Monday, November 19th. Their entire product line is on sale, and better still ... all their Advent and Christmas products are deeply discounted. Oh yes, and they are offering Free Shipping on orders over $65 too.

This is will be their last sale of the year, as Frances, the owner, is expecting a beautiful baby on December 26th. (Congratulations Frances!!!) Place your Christmas order now, so Frances isn't running to the post office while in labor!

I love Illuminated Ink's products and already own quite a few. More will definitely be coming this Christmas!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

LOL PRE-Publication Discount Extended!

I got a very excited phone call from Joan today. She got the proofs for For the Love Of Literature and they look fantastic! It was a difficult book to layout with all those reading lists, top-10 lists, resource information, and so much more.

And there's more good news! Joan is extending the prepublication special on For the Love of Literature to November 27th. That's another week of 20% off the book, plus 10% off the entire order. (I love Joan's historical fiction!) Time to go Christmas shopping!

The official release date is December 7, 2007.

To get your extra 10% off, just place your order HERE and then enter the discount code: LOVELIT. Easy as pie.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pied Piper of Atheism

Pete Vere and Sandra Miesel have a new book coming out about Philip Pullman, published by Ignatius Press. Check it out HERE.

Punk Mom and Magenta Hair

Advice for the day: Stick to Nice 'n Easy. Don't buy the brand you never heard of, just because it's on sale. (Hey, it was way cheap!) Besides, Teen Daughter One said it was all natural with avocado oil and healthier for me.

The box said auburn. It should've said magenta-ish red.

The kids love it.

I feel like I'm back in the 80's. I have the urge to get a mohawk and go slam dancing.

I went to Sharpshooters last night and all the moms exclaimed, "I love the new hair color!" (You can't miss it.) One mom said, "I'd never have the nerve to do that!"


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

PSN5: Mom to Mom

To read past library recommendations, or to join the email list, visit: Pope Saint Nicholas V.

Check to see if this title is already in your library's catalog. If it is, put a hold on it and check it out. If not, fill out a patron request form right away. This can usually be done online at your library's website.

Title: Mom to Mom, Day to Day: Advice and Support for Catholic Living
Author: Danielle Bean
Publisher: Pauline Books and Media
Date Published: March 2007
ISBN: 0819848557
Price: $15.95
Comments: Easy-to-read anecdotes that speak to a mother's heart.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Prayer Requests and Updates

Thank you all for praying for Buster. The MRI came back negative. Which is positive news! Now that we've ruled out the bad awful stuff, we can start looking for a less sinister reason for his troubles.

Please pray for my sister-in-law Sue who has been diagnosed with uterine cancer. The prognosis looks good and it appears to be in the very early stages. She has an appointment with the oncologist today and she would love a few extra prayers her way.

Please also continue to pray for Joan's son, John. He's having a few complications. He'll be okay, but it is a very lot for a young boy to have to deal with.

And, finally, please pray for our Catholic homeschool community: That we do all things to build up His Kingdom!

Thank you, my dear prayer warriors!

CE: Mom, Wake Up!

Speaking of praying the rosary with our kids, head over to Catholic Exchange to read Mary Jo's column for this morning. (You'll see what I mean when you read the article.)
Yep. I have another confession to make. It's not that I meant to, but I really did go to sleep during history and often science, too. This did not occur when I was in high school or in college, but rather while I have been homeschooling.

Little Girls and Rosaries

I spent this weekend nursing a bad cold and laryngitis. So, last night, when Princess Rose (7) came to me asking to pray a rosary with her, I had to whisper, "I'm sorry honey, but my voice is shot and I can't lead the rosary." "That's okay," she replied enthusiastically, "I'll pray out loud and you pray silently!" She then grabbed a couple of rosaries and my Catholic Pocket Prayer Book, cuddled up next to me and proceeded to pray. The whole Glorious Mysteries by herself and with joy in her heart!

It was one of those moments that make this whole mom thing worth it!

I just have to remember that moment the next time I scold her for calling her brother a stinky head.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Teens Praying to End Abortion

Our teen group prays regularly at the abortion clinic. I'd like to share with you my son's blog entry from yesterday.

I went to pray at the abortion clinic today and I have to wonder, when you have more protestors than customers at your establishment do you wonder at all about the morality of what your business does? Especially when the majority of said protestors are not only teenagers and not crazy middle-aged fanatics (that's how most pro-abortionists seem to see those good people), but are willing to pray in the freezing cold without gloves or coats (teens don't wear coats anymore; it's uncool).

If I had a bunch of teens with rosaries and picket signs outside my door, I tell ya, I'd change in a heartbeat.

I really like that young man.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Going Gray

Princess Rose accompanied me to the store to get some hair color. As I was perusing shelf after shelf looking for just the right shade, Princess asked, "Are you going to get gray?"

I thought the lady standing next to us was going to split a gut.

Apparently, Princess thinks I color my hair to get this lovely salt 'n pepper look.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Cay Gibson and LOL

Speaking of Cay, she'll be featuring For the Love of Literature in an upcoming Book Walk. Make sure to check her blog often as this Book Walk is a really neat event. And it looks like she has yet another book on its way to publication!

Cay also has a lot of nice things to say here that made me grab a Kleenex. Thanks Cay!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

It's Raining Books!

I've been so caught up in my own book publishing that I totally missed that Cay Gibson's new book is out, Christmas Mosaic. I'm sorry Cay!

I own Catholic Mosaic and love it, so I just know that Christmas Mosaic will be great too. I've got one ordered and can't wait for it to get here! You can order yours HERE. Just in time for Advent!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

LOL On the Blogosphere

Alicia Van Hecke has the first review of For the Love of Literature up at her blog. How was she able to pull that off when the book is still at the printer? Well, she got a galley some months back.

Also saying nice things are Esther and Danielle.

Thank you ladies!

Q & A: For the Love of Literature

The word has gotten out that For the Love of Literature is on its way to bookshelves and as a result I've received a few emails with questions about the book. In case some of you have the same questions, I'd like to share them with you here:

Congratulations from Canada on your new book! I began placing an order a few moments ago. However, the shipping is $30 to Canada! Will there be a Canadian distributor or another way?

Yes, shipping costs to Canada are extravagant ever since the USPS changed the rates a few months back. Now, we can only ship by air due to terrorist activities. It's a terrible shame and out of our hands.

For a Canadian distributor, Ecce Homo Press suggests requesting Blue Mantle Educational Supplies carry the book.

Your book looks very interesting. Can you share whether or not it would be a good resource for secular homeschoolers?

The book has a strong Catholic ethos, but I think that it would still be helpful for people of varying faiths including someone looking strictly for secular sources.

The Catholic books listed in For the Love of Literature are denoted with a cross symbol. So, you can easily pick them out. I wouldn't discard them outright if I were non-Catholic, as many of them will still have great value to you, but it would help you discern which ones are right for you and for your family.

Congratulations on your book! I am wondering, though, if the lists in your book are going to have book titles not found in the many other reading lists that are already available?

For the Love of Literature has 950 books listed and from a Catholic world view. I imagine that you could find a good number of those books on other lists if you combined 6 or 7 of them. With For the Love of Literature, I save you that trouble.

The lists are separated by school subject: Art, Music, Math, Science, and History. Books are coded by age level and a description of each individual book's plot is given. It's not so much a literature list as a guide to books which can be used to teach core subjects.

There are also short chapters on implementing real books in your homeschool, using your library, Charlotte Mason, classical education, and more.

Sorry to ask a cheapskate question, but we are thrifty you know... Do you know if Barnes & Noble is going to carry it? I'm just checking because B & N has free shipping over $25, and 10% discount always for members.

Being The Thrifty Homeschooler, I never mind a cheapskate question! Ecce Homo Press does sell their books on I've only seen used copies on B&N.

The good news is that this prepublication deal may be as good or better than you could get at the online shops. Yes, you'll have to pay shipping & handling, but it's priced really cheap. It's a nearly 300 page book with a regular price of 11.95. The prepublication price is only 9.55. As my 11-year old would say, "Sweet deal!"

Not only that, you'd be supporting some great Catholic families in the process so that they can grow in what they can offer.

Another thought is to fill out a purchase request form at your library website and have your friends to do the same thing. If your library buys it, you can make sure it's something you want to spend your own money on. (It really is more a resource than a sit-down-and-read book, so you'll want to own For the Love of Literature as it's so handy to be able to write in it, highlight it, and carry with you to book sales and the library.)

Plus, I think For the Love of Literature is a great resource for librarians -- with 950 book recommendations, it gives librarians a real insight to what books homeschoolers like to check out of the library.

I would like to buy For the Love of Literature because I don't like Honey for a Child's Heart's endorsement of Harry Potter (or so I've heard). This one doesn't does it?

No, For the Love of Literature does not endorse HP. Harry Potter is not mentioned anywhere in the book. You may want to check Honey for a Child's Heart for yourself. My copy makes no absolutely mention of HP, but it is possible that the author included it in a later edition.

And thank you everyone for your congrats and good wishes!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Father Brown Reader

My mailman finally delivered my copy of Nancy Brown's newest book, The Father Brown Reader! I checked the mail as I was leaving to take Buster to his test last night. He read to me as we drove and then I continued reading as his MRI was administered. I can't wait to get back to reading it today.

I know it's supposed to be for 8- to 12-year olds, but I personally found the story engaging and a joy to read. I've already read the original Father Brown Mysteries, but I still found myself on the edge of my chair waiting to see what would happen. And the illustrator did an outstanding job!

It's a perfect read aloud. I'm going to email Nancy and tell her that she absolutely must talk her publisher into making this a book on tape!

If you have no idea what I'm talking about -- The Father Brown Reader is Nancy Brown's retelling of four short stories from The Father Brown Mysteries by G. K. Chesterton. I could see that she worked hard to retain Chesterton's original language, while making it understandable for children.

Nancy's book should be in every school library, every homeschool, every home. What a cool way to introduce kids to Chesterton!

Cabbage Brain

Buster's MRI went well and we were happy to learn that he does in fact have a brain, though it looks like a cabbage:
Mom! They let me see a picture of my brain!
What did it look like?
A cabbage!

We'll find out if the doctor concurs with Buster's diagnosis in 3 to 4 days.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Thank You Karen

Karen Edmisten gets LOL!

Catholic Homeschoolers Online

A couple of things online for you to check out this morning.

First up is an interview I did with none other than our own Margaret Mary. If you're just dying to learn a little more about me and For the Love of Literature, link on over and tell all your friends.
That's a harder question to answer than one may think. I can't think of when this first occurred to me.

I've always loved talking about books with my friends. I think speaking and writing on the topic was just a natural extension of those conversations.
Next up is Mary jo's regular Monday column at Catholic Exchange. This week's topic is: When You Hit a Stubborn Streak.
Reluctancy. What homeschooler has not experienced it? And, if you've got more than one child, I know you have one that is so reluctant you might be tempted also to label him "stubborn."

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Our Lady's Rosary Rings

This looks really neat -- colorful rosary rings. Looks like you have to buy them in bulk. Might be great for a CCD class or party prizes or a fundraiser.

Prayers for Buster

Please offer up a prayer for Buster (soon-to-be12). He's scheduled for an MRI tomorrow evening. It's more of a "Let's rule this bad thing out" than "We think it's this bad thing," so no huge need for concern at this time. Well, except that he's a wiggle worm and I have no idea how he's going to lay still for 45 minutes!

Friday, November 02, 2007

PopeStNick5: The Apostles

To read past library recommendations, or to join the email list, visit: Pope Saint Nicholas V.

Check to see if this title is already in your library's catalog. If it is, put a hold on it and check it out. If not, fill out a patron request form right away. This can usually be done online at your library's website.

Title: The Apostles
Author: Pope Benedict XVI
Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor
Date Published: 2007
ISBN: 9781592764051
Price: 14.95 (Hardcover)
Comments: Through the Apostles, we come to Jesus himself -- Pope Benedict XVI
Amazon Reviews

Read Aloud Curriculum

I stumbled upon this website today:

Read Aloud Curriculum Enrichment: Catholic Living Books.

Sounds like it's right up my alley! Anyone have experience with this company? It looks like it would've fit right into the appendices of For the Love of Literature.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Awesome News!

I just got an email from my publisher -- For the Love of Literature is on the way to the printer. They should have a proof in about a week and the actual real book about 2 weeks after that!

Joan is going to put it up at Ecce Homo's website today and offer a pre-order special and 10% off your entire order. This special is only good for Internet orders.

Here's what you do to get your discount. Once Joan has the website updated, place your order and then enter the discount code: LOVELIT. This offer will be good until November 20th.

I probably should wait until the website is updated, but I couldn't wait to share the good news! Besides, I have a busy day with Scouts, Mass, and All Saints Day activities -- who knows when I'll be able to get on the computer again.

Update: The website is updated now. The prepublication price for For the Love of Literature is only $9.55, plus the 10% off entire order!!!

Remember the code and deadline above. In fact, feel free to pass the code on to all your friends! This is too good a deal not to share with the world! Ecce Homo carries some great Catholic historical fiction for kids as well as Little Flower and Blue Knight materials, plus a few other goodies.

Growing Up

Teen Daughter 2 is growing up and entering a new phase in her life. Yesterday, for the first time, she did not go trick-or-treating. She stayed home and played board games with her girlfriends.

Tonight is the big All Saints Day Party and she won't be dressing up for that either. Instead, she'll be assisting the grownups in running the party.

Oh gosh, where did the time go.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Congress Made Me Late!

Congress made me late yesterday.

I went to pick up Teen Son from the community college yesterday morning. After waiting about 5 minutes, I noticed that the car clock said 9:05 AM. TS doesn't get out of school until 10 AM. I could've sworn that it was 10:00, but the clock said 9. So, I double checked with the digital clock across the street from the Capital. It said 9:06 AM. I chalked it up to brain fog and headed off to the coffee shop to grab a bagel and steamer to keep me busy for the next hour.

When I finally picked up Teen Son, I exclaimed, "You wouldn't believe what I did! I came to pick you up at 9 instead of 10! So, I went to Beaners for an hour." TS looked at me, with that pitiful look reserved for middle aged mothers, and gently said, "Mom, it's 11."

Then I had to race home to get Teen Daughter 2, who had Latin Club at 11:15 AM, all the while apologizing to TS about a thousand times.

So, how did Congress make me late? Well, here's what happened. Turns out that the car clock, and clocks all over the city, were pre-programmed to fall back an hour last weekend. The problem is that Congress decided to move Daylight Savings Time back a week -- next weekend. Apparently my congressman forgot to tell my car's clock.

Hopefully, I'll remember to manually change the house clocks this weekend and won't be late picking up Teen Son again. Or, would I be early? I'm so confused.

Monday, October 29, 2007

CE: Where in the World Did We Get This?

Mary Jo's Confessions of a Homeschooler column is up at Catholic Exchange. Go check it out!
So anyway, as I write this column, one of our sons is carting arm loads to the garage, and he's not happy about it. He's neither a shopper nor a saver, so none of the junk is his. But he's got the muscles, so he's got the job!

And, hey, make sure to tell all your friends about Catholic Exchange's new and improved Homeschool Channel!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

MWittKids Library Thing

I spent a little time this weekend posting books that take place in Asia at the kids' Library Thing. Now I'm off to add a few Vikings titles and if things go well, I'll get some African titles in there too.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Schneider: Lack of oversight for home-schooled alarms educator

I'm so stunned at the lack of journalistic professionalism in this article from the Lansing State Journal, that I'm not quite sure what to say. The sad thing is that I normally like John Schneider's daily column.
She had a bad feeling about this one, beginning with her doubts that the parents of the girl were capable of providing academic training to their daughter. Head offered me convincing evidence to support those doubts, but asked, for the sake of the family's privacy, that I not reveal the specifics.

He can't give us specifics -- we're just supposed to accept his word there is convincing evidence?

He goes on to quote another public educator, but there is no representation from the homeschooling community.

Fair and balanced reporting? What do you think?

More on Pullman

Pete Vere, canon lawyer, author, friend to those in need, and all around nice guy, has a new article up at the Washington Times: Atheism for Kids.
Mr. Pullman's critics say the story inverts the Christian imagery used by C.S. Lewis in "The Chronicles of Narnia," portrays the Catholic Church as evil and depicts the Judeo-Christian God as an evil liar.

An interesting side note: The ever secular Snopes picked up the Pullman story HERE.

CE: Traveling Husbands and Homeschool Lessons

Ana Braga-Henebry has a terrific article up at Catholic Exchange.
In the realm of academics, my husband's travels can easily turn into geography units. During this last trip, our entire family learned enough geography to cover a whole academic quarter.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Quiz Busters Update

The Quiz Busters taping was so fun!
Rob took the 4 younger kids to Sharpshooters, while I went to the taping with the 3 older kids along with their pal Paul.
They tape 3 shows in a row and our team was scheduled for the final slot of the day, 8:15 PM. We got there at 8 as instructed and found things to be a bit behind. We sat in an "overflow" room along with our competition and watched the taping of the previous show live on a big screen television. It was fun with kids, parents, and coaches from both teams calling out answers. I think it helped calm nerves, even it only for a wee bit.
Then we moved to the studio. The audience was given instructions. No moving about, no whispering, signaling, no eating or drinking, etc. We were even given the opportunity to practice clapping.
Team pictures were taken, the players given instruction, and chairs & name tags adjusted. Then in came the MC and the game was set to start just after 9 PM.
It was quite an exciting game. The two teams were pretty equally matched with their scores neck-in-neck throughout most of the game. A few answers were missed due to nerves, but the kids gave a great showing.
About halfway through the game, the individual team members introduced themselves. I had to smile when the first contestant from our team stumbled a bit as he struggled to remember what grade he's in. It made me think of my own homeschooled children, "I don't know what grade I'm in, my mom just gives me a bunch of books to read!"
The game got really exciting at the tail end, during the lightning round. Questions were being thrown out in rapid fire, about 15 in 60 seconds. Our team was answering them left and right, mostly by our awesome captain, Jeffrey. Then with only 5 seconds left and our team only 1 question behind, a pop culture question was thrown out. I don't even remember the question, but the answer was Beyonce. (I overhead one of the kids say later, "Who is Beyonce?")
I had shared with a friend earlier that day, "If these kids have any trouble, it'll be the pop culture questions." Teen Son joked later, "Now, if all the questions would have been about Latin, Middle Ages history, classical music, and Lord of the Rings, we would have won by a landslide." But, alas, they lost, and by a mere 10 points. I've got to tell you though, it was a great game and the Southside Homeschool Raptors have a lot to be proud of!
I can't until next year -- we'll be back!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Homeschooled Teens on Quizbusters

Teen Son and Teen Daughter One will be competing today on Quizbusters, a local game show for high school students. Please offer up a little prayer for them and their teammates -- The Southside Homeschoolers.

They're excited. I'm a nervous wreck.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Cool Website Go check it out.

This is a great site for information about ethical stem cell research. Get the facts and share with anyone who doesn't understand the opposition to fetal stem cell research.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Flighty Middle Aged Women

I went to the doctor today for a checkup. I really wanted to talk to him about short-term memory loss.

But I forgot.

Mexican Breakfast

I'm always on the lookout for great egg recipes as my friend Linda B. keeps me well stocked with fresh farm eggs -- yumcious! Yesterday, for our regular Sunday family brunch, I decided to liven things up a bit with a new egg recipe.

Rob has kept to his vegetarian diet since Lent and I'm still finding it a little challenging to create delicious, flavor-filled, meals. As we drove home from Mass, I remembered a delicious black bean egg tostada dish I had in California a few years ago. When I got home I set to recreate it. The family loved it!

Here's the recipe in case you'd like to give it a try:

Egg and Black Bean Tostadas
olive oil
2 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (I used 1/2 yellow and 1/2 red, but you could use green instead)
1 16-oz can black beans
1 8-oz. can of tomato sauce (the itty bitty can)
salt and pepper to taste
8 eggs
8 corn tostadas (I get these in the Mexican section of the grocery store. They're fried corn tortillas. You could fry your own corn tortillas in vegetable oil if you like.)
2 cups shredded colby/jack (or your favorite) cheese
Optional toppings: sour cream, fresh salsa, guacamole

Coat the bottom of a large pot with the olive oil. Once hot, over a medium heat, add your cumin and red pepper, sauteing for only 30 seconds. Add your garlic, onions, and bell pepper. Saute until the onions are translucent. (Your house will smell sooo good!)

Add the can of beans, liquid and all, plus the tomato sauce. Bring to a boil. Quickly reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until it's a nice thick consistency.

While the beans are thickening, start cooking your eggs. I made fried eggs for Rob and me, and scrambled for the kids. Either way will work great.

Put a tostada on a plate, top with a fried egg or scoop of scrambled eggs. Top that with a ladle of the bean mixture and shredded cheese. Serve sour cream, fresh salsa, and/or guacamole on the side.

I wanted to add chopped cilantro at the end, but this was an unplanned meal and I didn't have any fresh on hand.

If you want to spice it up, just add more red pepper or a chopped jalapeno pepper.

This is easily doubled. I only made 8 servings since a few of the older kids weren't home at the time.

Oh, one more note -- if you have a friend who brings you fresh eggs from their farm, remember to offer up a little prayer for that person every time you crack an egg. Linda brings me 2 or 3 dozen eggs every week, so I get to pray for her a lot!