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.