Sunday, April 30, 2006

PopeStNickV: The Man Who Never Died

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 Man Who Never Died: The Life and Adventures of St. Peter
Author: Gerald T. Brennan
Publisher: Sophia Institute Press
Date Published: Sept. 2005
ISBN: 1933184094
Price: Paperback $8.95
Comments: My children loved this as a read aloud

From the publisher:
The adventures of St. Peter, the first pope — for children.

Most kids think of popes as old men who live quiet lives in the Vatican. In fact, danger stalks every pope. From John Paul II (who was shot) all the way back to the first pope, the men God places in charge of His Church have been hated and attacked for their goodness and for the good the Church does. These pages recount the adventures of Peter, the first pope, whose troubles began just days after Jesus returned to Heaven. When Peter preached, baptized three thousand people, and cured a lame man, soldiers threw him into prison. Set free by a judge, Peter preached again, won more converts, and got jailed again . . . and again.

Finally freed by angels, Peter traveled throughout Asia, setting up many new churches. Then he went to Rome, the capital of the Empire, where he converted many and, doing so, angered the pagan emperor Nero. Nero’s soldiers threw many Christians to the lions. They arrested Peter, led him before a jeering crowd, and crucified him.

Today, on the very spot where Peter was crucified, stands the most important Catholic Church in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica. Nearby is the Vatican, the Church’s worldwide headquarters, and for centuries home to the popes — men who are now known not merely by their chosen names but are also called “Peter” (to remind us that Christ Himself has placed them, too, in charge of His Church).

Yes, as you’ll read in these exciting pages, Peter, the first pope, died (as will all who ever take his place). But each will be replaced by yet another pope, who will also be known as “Peter.” In this way, Peter became the man who never died, fulfilling the promise that Jesus made to him: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church,” the Church whose origins are told here, and which will also never die.

About the Author:
Fr. Gerald T. Brennan (1898-1962) was a pastor in New York, beloved by the children in his parish, to whom he told delightful stories. At the urging of friends, he published many of his tales in numerous popular books, including Angel Food, Angel City, and The Man Who Dared a King.

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

Saturday, April 29, 2006


I never thought the day would come when I would be driving my 14-year-old daughter around town searching for black powder gun supplies, but that's how I spent my one of my days this week. Yep, my sweet little girl, along with her 16-year-old brother and 12-year-old sister, are involved in muzzle loading.

It all started several years ago when the oldest two expressed an interest in archery through 4-H. I loved the idea for many reasons. It's a sport that all the kids could participate in together - no toting them to five different soccer fields. I also like the emphasis that 4-H puts on safety and sportsmanship.

As the years went on, the younger children began to participate in archery too. Six of my seven children now shoot (The four-year old has to wait a couple of years yet). Teen son has even competed on the national level.

So, what does that have to do with muzzle loading. Well, in order to get more archery practice in, we joined a second 4-H group: Sharpshooters. As soon as the children learned that Sharpshooters offered BB and pellet gun practice, there was no stopping them.

That led to joining YHEC (Youth Hunters Education Challenge) through the NRA. If your kids have a desire for shooting sports, I highly recommend YHEC. It goes way beyond shooting bows and guns. It even goes beyond sportsmanship and safety. They learn all about nature science too. So much so, that I consider it part of their science studies for school. They have a competition every summer that includes 3-D archery, skeet, trap, muzzle loading, hunters safety trail, and animal identification. And the animal ID is not easy. They have to know the subtle differences between species, identify their skulls and tracks, know about their habitats, etc.

So from May to August, I'll be lugging kids to two to three practices a week in order to prepare for the 4-H county shoot, the 4-H state shoot, and the YHEC competition. I thought I chose shooting sports to cut down on drive time?

Friday, April 28, 2006

The Intellectual Pursuit of Chicken Jokes

Dr. Thursday blogs: More on the Chicken/Road Aphorism

Catherine and Karen came up with funny answers to: How many homeschoolers does it take to change a lightbulb? Can you top them?

Family Life Radio Interview

I had my radio interview with Steve Wood today. It was taped instead of live. I'll let you all know the air date when it's set.

I had a nightmare last night that I wrote down the wrong time for the interview and missed it. I double checked the interview time as soon as I woke up this morning!

I think I did okay. I was pretty nervous but Steve said that it was a great interview. He was a very gracious interviewer. Also, his daughter Stephanie was on the air with us which was very nice. Stephanie is not only a homeschool graduate, but a Ave Maria University grad.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Review of Companion

Beth Yank wrote a very informative review of The Catholic Homeschool Companion over at Love2Learn.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I should let you know that I occasionally contribute to Love2Learn.

G. K. Chesterton and Chicken Jokes

Check out Dr. Thursday's blog entry: The Chicken/Road epigram: a rough analysis. Thank you Dr. Thursday!

Princess Rose Goes to School

Yesterday was Bring a Friend to School Day at our parish's school. So, Princess Rose went to away school for a day. She reports that they went to recess four times, ate pizza, took a nap, and
the teacher was real nice.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

How Many Homeschoolers . . .

Everyone did such a great job answering the question that is on all our minds (Why did the homeschooler cross the road?) that I have a new question for you all.

How many homeschoolers does it take to change a lightbulb?

Here is one answer, but I know that you all can come up with something even funnier!

P.S. I still want to hear from Dr. Thursday on why the chicken crossing the road is an important form of joke.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

White Chocolate Cheesecake

Warning: This is NOT a low fat dessert! However, I think it's okay to indulge every now and then, as long as it's not too often. I only make this twice a year - for Easter and for teen son's birthday. (He requests this over birthday cake.) It's labor intensive, and needs to be made well in advance, but it's so worth it. I took a couple of slices over to my neighbors on Easter and they're still raving about how it was the best dessert that they ever tasted in their whole entire lives. In fact, they mentioned it again just yesterday. So, next time you have a special event, consider giving this recipe a try!

White Chocolate Cheesecake

5 Tblsp. real butter
2 Tblsp. sugar
1 package of Keebler Almond Sandies (You could substitute graham crackers, but why? I use a gluten-free version of Sandies from the health food store for my son with celiac disease.)

15 oz. white chocolate (I just use white chocolate chips as they are way cheaper than the blocks and easier to melt. I buy 2-12 oz. bags, use one full bag, and then take a handful from the second bag.)
3-8 oz blocks of cream cheese (1-1/2 lbs. altogether), softened
3/4 C. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 C. sour cream

Preheat oven to 350.

For the crust: Put Sandies in the food processor to make 2 cups of crumbs. (This won't take the whole box.) Set aside. Melt butter and then mix in the sugar and crumbs. Press into a 10-inch springform pan. (Invest in a springform pan. They're inexpensive if you look for sales.) Set aside.

For the filling: Melt the chocolate. You can do this in a double boiler, but I just use the microwave. The key is to do it slowly. 20 seconds and stir very well. 10 more second and stir very well. That should do it. If not, melt at 10 second increments after that. Set aside.

Beat cream cheese and then slowly add the sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time, on low speed. Add vanilla and white chocolate. Gently fold in sour cream by hand. Pour into crust and bake 30 to 35 minutes.

Turn off oven and open the door a crack. Let cool for 30 minutes. Remove and set on a cooling rack for another 30 minutes. Cooling it slowly like this will keep it from cracking. Refrigerate for 10 to 12 hours.

I like to serve with sliced strawberries. Raspberries would be good too.

This cheesecake serves a lot as it is so rich that a small slice will satisfy you.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Nazis from Minnesota Invade Lansing

This weekend the Nazis had a rally at our state capital. We live just a couple of miles from the capital, so we were witness to a few of the goings-ons. There were 75 Nazis, 600 police officers, and 800 counter-protesters from all over the state. We watched the 3 buses that held the Nazi organizers drive past our house along with the 12 highway patrol vehicles guarding them. Helicopters were abuzz the entire day and roads completely closed off. All of the downtown businesses were asked to close their doors for the day. Acts of violence on behalf of the counter-protesters lead to 16 arrests. Yep, the violence came from the counter-protesters, not the Nazis. It was quite the spectacle. I can't help but wonder whether or not the citizens of Michigan would have sent a stronger message to the Nazis by staying home. Would that tell them that they are insignificant? Or would it be ignoring a clear evil? But then is shouting expletives, creating violence, and spewing hate toward the evill-doer any less evil?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Taking the Tube Underground by Ann Marie Waters

We are still TV-less at our house and so found this article, from one of my favorite magazines, interesting.

Rachel Watkins and Her One-Woman Show

Rachel Watkins, homeschooling mom and Companion contributor, has an article at Catholic Exchange this week: And Now, Starring... Me! Check it out.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Moral Child is the Socialized Child

Over the years that I have been homeschooling, I have often been challenged about my children's socialization. I used to become defensive and point out that my children are involved with 4-H and sports and drama club and community work and so on and so on. This argument left the non-homeschooler with the impression that my homeschooled children have to be toted all over the city in the family van in order to be with lots and lots of other children who will somehow prevent them from becoming social misfits.

This could not be further from the truth. I have come to appreciate the very real social benefits of homeschooling. I have come to understand that "socialization" is something that my children are learning in the same place where they have been learning to read and write, to say their math facts, and catechism.

The truth is that the moral child is the socialized child. Our children cannot become an integral part of our society without learning basic rules of conduct. Do not steal. Do not lie. Treat others as you would have them treat you. Christian values will teach them how to play and share with others. The Ten Commandments will help them to regulate their behavior so they will be able to fit into society and to rise above it as leaders for the Third Millennium.

When asked how I deal with "diversity," I ask, "what about tolerance?" My children do socialize with a diverse group of children, but that is not the point. The point is that as Christians, my husband and I teach our children to love their neighbor, just as Christ loves all people no matter their age, color, sex, or creed. This is the example that we must put before our children.

Our Catholicism should permeate every part of our lives. Whether dealing with my bank, the neighbors, or my ederly grandmother, my Catholic education is evident. The moral upbringing I received is a vital part of me and my position in society. As home educators we have the awesome opportunity to weave the beauty of the Church's teaching into every subject. This is why I believe that home education can be superior in socializing children.

Low Fat Barbecued Pork

My family loves my crock pot barbecued ribs, but Rob and I are to the age where we really need to watch our diets a wee bit closer. So I made a couple of adjustments to my recipe to cut down on the fat, and it's still just as delicious.

First thing to do is salt and pepper country style pork ribs on all sides. I like to use kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Then put them in the crock pot on low for 6 to 8 hours.

There will be a nice pork broth in the crock pot, but also a lot of grease. Take out the ribs and put on your cutting board. Pour the liquid into a fat separator. While the fat is rising to the top, shred the pork with two forks while disposing of any bone or fat. The meat is so absolutely tender that this is a breeze to do.

Put the pork back into the crock pot along with the pork broth, leaving the fat behind. Add your favorite barbecue sauce. You could also put in some thinly sliced onion and/or celery. If you like your barbecue pork thick and robust, don't put in the broth. Use it instead to make gravy for mashed potatoes.

Cook another 2 hours on low, or 1 hour on high.

I like to serve it on French bread, slice and toasted, as open face sandwiches. Also good on hamburger or sub buns. Great to take to a potluck.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Amy Welborn's DVC Page

I'm very excited that Amy Welborn is coming to Lansing at the end of this month to speak on The Da Vinci Code. Check out her newly-updated De-Coding Da Vinci page.

Clean Up Crew

Since I have out-of-town family members who read my blog daily, I've decided to occasionally blog pictures for them. This pic, of my three oldest, is from yesterday. The kids volunteered to help spiff up the playground at one of Rob's charter schools. Yep, homeschooled kids doing their part to better public education.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Week 16 of the Homeschool Carnival

Check out this week's Homeschool Carnival at About Homeschooling

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

PopeStNick5: Parish Priest

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: Parish Priest: Father Michael McGivney and American Catholicism
Author: Douglas Brinkley and Julie Fenster
Publisher: William Morrow
Date Published: January 2006
ISBN: 0060776846
Price: 24.95 Hardcover
Comments: Fr. McGivney, a Connecticut parish priest who helped to transform American Catholicism, is under consideration for sainthood.

From Publishers Weekly
Fr. Michael McGivney (1852–1890) is under consideration for sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church. So why has almost no one heard of this Connecticut parish priest who helped to transform American Catholicism? McGivney entered seminary when he was just 16 and studied there until his father's unexpected death forced him, the eldest child, to abandon his studies and support his family. Although the diocese eventually came through with a scholarship, McGivney never forgot the devastation of his family's sudden poverty and devoted much of his priestly life to helping the Catholic poor. He founded the Knights of Columbus, an organization that simultaneously met two critical needs of Catholics in the late 19th century: it was an insurance policy for the indigent, and its devotion to America and patriotic ideals helped to assuage anti-Catholic prejudice. Brinkley and Fenster offer a popular history that is accessible in style and respectful, albeit at times hagiographic, in tone.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

He is Risen!

Sonya Romens sent this to me via email and I would like to pass it on to you all:

Christians, to the Paschal Victim,
Offer your thankful praises!
A Lamb the sheep redeems;

Christ, who only is sinless,

Reconciles sinners to the Father.

Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous:

The Prince of Life, who died, reigns immortal.

Speak, Mary, declaring

What you saw, wayfaring.

"The tomb of Christ, who is living,

The glory of Jesus' resurrection;

Bright angels attesting,

The shroud and napkin resting;

Yes, Christ my hope is arisen;

To Galilee he goes before you."

Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining.

Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!

Amen. Alleluia.

(11th century hymn Victimae Paschali Laudes)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Blogging Holy Days

See Mike Aquilina's blog, The Way of the Fathers, during these holy days.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

JP2 On Writing

Why I write:

Those who perceive in themselves this kind of divine spark which is the artistic vocation — as poet, writer… — feel at the same time the obligation not to waste this talent but to develop it, in order to put it at the service of their neighbour and of humanity as a whole.
Pope John Paul II

Hat tip to Mary G.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Easter Reading: Living the Mysteries

Now that Easter Season is just around the corner, it's time to pull one of my favorite books off the bookshelf, Living the Mysteries: A Guide for Unfinished Christians by Mike Aquilina and Scott Hahn. For surely, I am unfinished and I certainly need all the guidance I can get!

This book is like a devotional for the fifty days of Easter. A selection to read each day from Easter to Pentecost. It's deep stuff, but given to the reader in bite-size morsels to be savored.

Living the Mysteries is the perfect book to give a friend or family member who will be coming into the Catholic Church on Saturday. It should be easy enough to find at your local Catholic bookstore or online.

From the publisher:
The early Church had a process in which a teacher guided seekers through stages of inquiry and purification, culminating in a final phase called "mystagogy" — MIST-a-go-gee — "the revelation of the mysteries."

The instruction the early Christians needed is what we all need, no matter when we were baptized, no matter how much theology we’ve studied. That’s because God’s mysteries are inexhaustible and, until we get to heaven, we’re all unfinished Christians.

Spirit-Led Mystagogy from the Ancient Masters

Now eight of the early Church’s greatest teachers can be your guides as Living the Mysteries presents the wisdom and insights of:
St. Ambrose
St. Augustine
St. Basil
St. Clement of Alexandria
St. Cyril of Jerusalem
St. Gregory of Nyssa
St. John Chrysostom
St. Leo the Great

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Blogosphere Discovers PopeStNick5

I stumbled upon this blog entry today:

He gives a wonderful description of who Pope St. Nicholas V was and why I named the Yahoo Group after him. In fact, a better description than I could have written!

It would be great to see word of this little apostolate spread. Catholic books in public libraries -- it's a revolution!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Spear: A Novel of the Crucifixion

A few years ago I read The Spear by Louis de Wohl as part of a magazine assignment. It just so happened to be Holy Week that I read it. It turned out to be a wonderful coincidence. Reading The Spear helped my Holy Week to be truly holy, truly spiritual.

The de Wohl historical fiction books are reprints from the 1940’s and 50’s. This title tells the story of a hardened Roman centurion named Longinus. Tradition tells us that Longinus is the one who pierced Christ’s side at the crucifixion.

The Spear could also be given to a teenager. Teen son loooves the de Wohl novels, as much as his mom.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

PopeStNick5: No Price Too High

My husband and I had the pleasure of having dinner with Alex and Donna Jones, along with about ten other people, several years ago. I sat next to Donna and we had the loveliest conversation. I can't wait to check this book out from my library!

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: No Price Too High: The Conversion Story of Alex Jones
Author: Alex Jones
Publisher: Ignatius
Date Published: March 2006
ISBN: Price: 15.95

From the publisher:
Book Description
Alex Jones was an "on-fire" Pentecostal minister in Detroit who was a completely dedicated shepherd of his flock. He greatly loved his people and they loved him. In seeking to give his flock the most genuine experience of the early Church prayer and worship services, he carefully read Scripture, the Fathers of the Church and writings of the early saints. The more he read, the more Alex came to the startling conclusion that the present day Catholic Church - and the Holy Mass - is the same exact "worship service " from the very early Church. Alex began to share his findings with his parish, and eventually Alex, and most of his parish, joined the Catholic Church. This is his incredible story of a black Pentecostal minister's challenging and dramatic spiritual journey, and the flock that followed him. Today he preaches with his usual passion about Christ - as a Catholic deacon! This book tells the story of Alex's life from his childhood all the way to his conversion to Catholicism in 2001. It simultaneously tells the story of his wife, Donna, and her spiritual journey as well, which shows how they were not always on the same path during Alex's preparation for entering the Catholic Church. Each had to be personally, deeply convinced that this momentous, life-changing and career-changing spiritual decision was God's will for them. Illustrated with numerous photos.

About the Authors
Alex Jones grew up as a devout Pentecostal, became a devoted Pentecostal minister, and later converted to the Catholic Church. Today he is a Catholic deacon who speaks at many conferences each year around the country.
Diane Hanson is a free-lance writer from Michigan.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Interesting Blog

A new blog is in town: The Rob and Phil show.

Rob is a conservative Catholic, Libertarian, and Blues fan. Phil is a liberal Catholic, Democrat, and Black Hawks fan. Phil has yet to post, but I'm sure that once he does it'll be quite interesting.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Why Did the Homeschooler Cross the Road?

The blogthing has gone to my head and I'm working on a comedy routine with another homeschooler. For real!

So, if you were a comedy writer, how would you finish this joke:

Why did the homeschooler cross the road?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Carnival of Homeschooling

What is a Carnival of Homeschooling you ask. I was asking the same question last week. Click here to check out this week's Carnival.

Here's how it works. A different blogger hosts the Carnival each week. This week's host is Why Homeschool.

In the week leading up to the Carnival, the host searches for cool posts from other blogs to feature. For example, there is a link at the Carnival to my post about Beautiful Teens.

Go check it out. It really is fun!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Remembering John Paul the Great

Yesterday was the anniversary of JP2's death. I'll never forget the date because it falls on the day before Rob's birthday (Happy Birthday Honey!).

Anyway, I've been reflecting on John Paul's life these two days and the thing that stays in the forefront of my mind is all of the gifts that he left for the rest of us. The CCC, Theology of the Body, the fall of Communism, the Luminous Mysteries, and so much more. Thank you John Paul!

Heart and Mind magazine has a free unit study available at their website based on the life of JP2. I cowrote it with Cay Gibson and Nancy Brown. It's a pretty fun unit, with recipes, quizzes, and literature recommendations, if you want to check it out.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Awesomely Cool New Blog

Mike Aquilina has a new blog: The Way of the Fathers.

I love Mike's books on the Early Church. He has a way of making it understandable to us lay folk, and so interesting too. One of my favorites is The Mass of the Early Christians. I wrote a review of it a long time ago for Catholic Home Educator. I'll have to dig it up and blog it.

He has a cool new book coming out in May, The Grail Code.

In the meantime, make sure to check out Mike's new blog. It's sure to be one that I'll check often!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Spring Forward

Don't forget to set your clocks up an hour when you go to bed tonight. Otherwise, you'll be mighty embarrassed when you walk into church tomorrow morning as all the other parishioners are walking out!