School curriculum

HomeschoolFor us school tends to be an all year round thing….but with children at the ages of 10, 9, 7, 5, 4, 2 and 6 months….many can probably relate to the fact that having babies that close together and with all the other responsibilities that life as a wife and mother brings, it is no wonder that sometime in our lives we have to do school year round. We should not try to give ourselves a guilt trip that we are not like the mother who seems to be able to do it all but in reality we don’t really know what goes on behind the scenes.  We just continue to do our best. We have three children of school age.

With that thought in mind. I thought I would share with you some of the books we are using. We use different means for teaching the kids. We use books bought from Our Lady of Victory, some online places,  and dollar stores (they carry some really basic concept books like math and phonics). We also let our kids watch an occasional video that pertains to different things…like math, reading, letters, history, animals, etc. (We screen a lot of what the kids watch!) Plus, being home schooled our kids learn a lot of life skills as well. Trying to be tidy, keeping the house in order (lol, really hard with a big family!), chores with the few animals we have, maintenance of the yard, and cooking too! (Cooking is a great option for working on math skills.) The other plus about homeschooling in a large family is that your boys can learn skills that they need to know from their father and the girls skills from their mother, so that by doing so you are preparing them for that same role in life when they are young adults.

Blog capture of OLVS  Like I said before, we use Our Lady of Victory (OLVS). Maybe I am biased to that curriculum having done it myself, but I just find that some of their books and lesson plans work. We don’t always stick exactly to the lesson plans as I have adapted to what works for us. Also we don’t always use all of their books. At least for this year I have gotten a few different books elsewhere.

For religion we use “Living in God’s Love, Living for God’s Law, and Living for God,” based off of the Baltimore Catechism. They are good simple books. We also teach them a lot of other things about the faith outside of those textbooks things from sermons and other religious books.

For math the kids in grade 1 and 2 we use the “Lepanto Mathmematic” Press books. This year was the first year that our fourth grader started Saxon Math . Our first grader also used a simple math concept book we picked up at the dollar store.

For science we are using OLVS “Science and Living in God’s World” for grade 1,” Science and Living in God’s World” in grade 2, and are oldest “Science and Living in God’s World 4″.  Our first grader and our second grader also have books on sea life “Seaside and Way Side”  and animal life, “Animal Life Book 2“.

Spelling is OLVS “Traditional Catholic Spellers” for all three grades.

In Grammar our second grader is using “God gave Me the Gift of Language,” and the other two are using “Lepanto Graders 1+2 and 4.

Our oldest son is doing, “How Our Nation Began“.

Our second son has maps this year using: “Maps, Charts, and Graphs B+ C

As for phonics/reading our daughter who is grade 1 struggled a lot last year with the Angel Reader series. They worked great on our two boys, but not with her. We never really finished the book. She learned some basic reading…but just not good enough. So we went and purchased a different book on reading. We really want her to learn to read. She knows her sounds and what letters but just can’t seem to put the two together, so we got her “Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons,” by Siegfried Engelmann from Thriftbooks.com. Thrift books

 

Our second grader is using the Angel Reader series for grade 2. As for readers our oldest boys are using “Catholic Stories For Boys and Girls” by Neumann Press that we got from Tan Homeschool.  Tan Homeschool

Catholic National Readers for grade 2 and 4 from OLVS.

I got two extra books to for fun from Tan Home school  “An Alphabet of Saints” by Robert Hugh Benson and “Treasure Box Book 1” by MaryKnoll Sisters.

So that is a list of what we are using this year for grades 1, 2 and 4.  Hope this helps you other mothers out there in choosing your curriculum and letting you know what we think  about our books. May this give you in encouragement that you are not alone in the teaching and upbringing of your children!

Note: This is not a sponsored post nor am I being paid to advertise for Our Lady of Victory, Tan Home school and Thrift books.

Baby Teething Cookies

  As Mothers and Grandmothers we all want what is best for our children! We try as far as our energy and funds allow to give our children wholesome delicious food. Organic isn’t cheap and we can’t always give our children the most perfect array of foods, but we can try as far as we are able. Nothing says that just because you didn’t give your child organic chips or some organic cracker that you are awful! It’s not that “Oh, how could you ever give that kind of snack to them? or Do you know what you are feeding them?” Don’t let that Mom guilt bother you!! We all try our best and that is what counts.

     Now, I am sure many of you have give your baby that unmistakably that little round hand sized cookie called the Gerber biscuit when teething. Our babies love them! Nothing says you are a bad parent if you gave one to your baby.  They are good but if you have the time or feel like you have nothing else to do, Lol! (Like we never have enough to do! 🙂 why not bake up your own baby teething cookies.

Baby cookies

BABY TEETHING COOKIES

1 cup of baby cereal (I used Earth’s Best Oatmeal Cereal)

1 cup of flour  (I used roughly 1 cup of rice flour with some cornstarch)

1 mashed banana

2 TBSP Coconut oil

2 TSP of cinnamon

4 TBSP of water (I had to use way more than this. You want it the consistency of dough to roll out)

Preheat oven to 425. Parchment paper lined sheet. Add cereal, flour, banana, oil, water and cinnamon to a bowl. Stir until combine. Roll out on parchment paper. Cut into shapes. (I used a round cookie cutter). Bake for 15 min. Cool. Store in freezer.

That’s it! Simple and Easy!

 

Our Story Part 2

We were naive, newly married, adjusting, but always praying for God to help us to be resolved. There was so much more to come…so much more love to follow!

Continued from OUR STORY PART 1

Fast forward to January 2007, I took a rather nervous trip on an airplane (first time flying and first time being separated from my husband for the first time since we were married)  to go visit my parents for a week.  I would then meet my husband the following week in Vancouver at the airport so we could go to the counselet office for my visa.

What an adventure that was! Vancouver, British Columbia was fun, full of ice and snow, and surprises. The best site ever was when I my eyes saw my husband at the airport! I had such a hard time being separated from him and to this day we have never been separated for long periods of time.  With a few bumps along the way in Vancouver, after about three days, I got my visa and we got a flight back to Kansas. airplane with snow

We arrived in Kansas amidst a cold rough ice storm! Our car was in the airport parking lot and was covered with ice. I remember sitting there shivering in our coats as we waited for the layers of ice to melt off our car, so we could go to a nearby hotel.  We would go to our fairly new home in a couple of days (we had purchased a mobile home back in December 2006 and had just settled in before I had left).

March 2007 we found out the most exciting news! We were expecting again!!! I immediately went to the doctor after having lost the first one. The doctor decided to put me on progesterone pills since the miscarried baby had been really low. (For most of my babies I was on progesterone.  I will be writing another post on this subject someday, on the cons of such a decision and things I have learned along the way regarding  hormone replacement therapy. )   How exciting it was to think that we were going to have a baby! I had always wanted to be a mother and have a large family! Things went the usual way-fatigue, morning sickness, the most common of pregnancy symptoms.

But then at around 20 weeks, we were told something we didn’t at least suspect. We thought everything had been going just fine. Our baby had a blockage in his bladder. For now, it was okay but after so many weeks babies no longer urinate through the skin and that would mean,  he (we found out during that ultrasound),  would not be able to urinate properly. Crushing! We were then told their would be routinely ultrasounds to keep an eye on things.  By 34 weeks, things didn’t look so good for our little one, and it was decided that he would have to come early! At 36 weeks, after nearly a day and half  labor, our first-born son, came into this world.baby boy 1.jpg

I remember thinking for the two seconds that I held him, how small he was, how fragile he was, and that here we were : PARENTS! He was all ours, sent by God, into our care! Nurses were all around as they checked him over and sent him over to the NICU. He was immediately put in an incubator but was breathing just fine.  Two days later he was transported to the nearest children’s hospital, had surgery, and recovering time.  Here we would spend three grueling weeks, loving, protecting,  and worried sick about our newborn son as he recovered from his surgery. Once again were learning, we were adjusting…..

Several days later we learned that his kidney’s had been slightly damaged and that we would have to a careful eye over them as he would grow up. After three long weeks at the hospital (we were tired of hospitals, doctors, nurses by this time, even though they had helped our son) we were able to bring our son home.

February 2009, to our delight, a second son was born. Everything had gone by smoothly, no complications and a very healthy baby, which made for really happy parents. Our first son, was doing great health wise, and loved his new baby brother.

big-brother-clip-art-5.jpg

Time goes so fast and before you know it I was once again pregnant, with our third child. My second pregnancy had been progesterone pills, this one was progesterone pills and cream.  The months flew by and on October 19th, 2010 our first daughter was born. I still remember the day we found out we were having a girl via ultrasound a tear rolled down by cheek as I thought of our little girl.

Three months went by and she was a very happy and contented baby. Things however, did not go so well for this mama! I started to have pain in my side, pain which would come and go, and be worse with certain foods. The pain got worse and worse till finally we had to go to the E.R.  The doctor confirmed a gallbladder full of sludge. Several hours later he sent me to a bigger hospital for gallbladder surgery. (Once again, looking back, I wish I had changed my eating and health habits. I could have prevented a surgery, I could have prevented the problems I have today! But these are all life lessons that we can share with others!)

I had many rough weeks, surgery did not go well, but had to have another surgery due to complications from the first one. All the while my brave and steadfast husband was holding down the fort. He had gotten some help with the older ones and was trying so hard to take care of the newest one, while this mama got better. The baby had to be put on the bottle because of the drugs I was taking. My husband was there making sure she got fed, cleaned, warmed and loved, all the while keeping a loving eye on me.

Things did get better and before you know it was past experience, that we shall never forget. April 2012 brought about another baby boy, number four. God was definitely sending babies our way and we are so blessed that He has!

Number four was the biggest test of our love and trust in Him. About six weeks after giving birth, I got postpartum depression really bad!! At first we didn’t know what to do! Doctors were not helpful, told me I was crazy, put me on a lot of scary depression drugs, and practically helped to create the biggest nightmare in my life that I have every gone through!

It was only through the grace of God and many prayers that both my husband and I (and the kids too!) got through it all. So many women fall prey to the health system telling them that they need this drug and that drug or need psychiatric help. Now, I know there are some cases like that, but most of the time doctors don’t know what to do. It’s hormones. The woman’s body has had a lot of adjusting and changes after having a baby. She needs time to rest, relax and recover. If she isn’t harming anyone and doesn’t want to hurt anyone (herself and baby included) she just needs love, space, understanding, and compassion. Not stick her in some institution  and drug her up more, to make her even more messed up!

Post partum depression.jpg(My husband and I hope to share more experiences on this important subject on a later post as we would like to help as many families as we can on this not quite understood topic.)

June 2013, baby number five, came in a very unexpecting way. We had hoped to have a more natural birth (by this time we were exhausted by the whole medical system). But once again, we  were sent right back into it whether we liked it or not. Had gone to the birth center only to turn around and head to the hospital as there was a lot of bleeding. C-section was all I could here as nurses prepped me for a hospital stay.

Several hours later after waking up from anesthesia, and quite sore from an emergency C-section, I beheld our little boy! Once again, we were parents and we had come a long way since number one. We now were a happy and healthy family of seven (minus the c-section, of course!)   Our family was growing! Our love was spreading to five little blessings from God. We surely had been blessed! We had a nice house with an acreage (we had just moved into a larger home the week prior to having him), an income,  and each other! What more could we ask for………!

Family image

The road ahead had many more adventures!

 

To Be continued……..

 

Our Story: Part 1

This Empress wasn’t always an Empress. In fact, it happened about 11 years ago, but goes even farther back to about 12 years ago, when this Empress was only a young maiden looking for a good  knight to become her husband. So here is my tale and I how I have gotten to the position of Empress of the home that I am today. Map of Canada

Here is a little background information. I  am the oldest of a large family of six kids in the southern part of Saskatchewan, Canada. For those of you who don’t know where that is about two miles from the perimeter of North Dakota, U.S.A. We were a homeschooling countrified family living on 13 acres. We were raised pretty much with the only friends we had were ourselves, a couple of other homeschooling families from our church, and cousins that lived nearby. Our abode was in the country and  we grew up having the  responsibilities of taking care of cows, horses, ducks, bunnies, cats and dogs. Growing up this made for a very happy and content home, but definitely minimized the amount of eligible suitors when I became of marrying age.

After graduating from high school  in 2003 with Our Lady of Victory Home school course from Post Falls, Idaho I got a job with a florist job (I had previously taken a three-week course on floral design). Maybe someday I will actually get to open my own florist shop as I have always enjoyed working with flowers. After working for about six weeks in the floral shop with things not progressing with my boss in the direction of the career I wanted, I quit. I then landed a job a little closer to home taking care of an older couple doing twenty-four hour home care. I practically lived with them feeding them their meals, cleaning and gardening for them. It was a very rewarding and trying job at times, as they were 93 and 85 respectively, with one of them having Alzheimer’s.

From there  I needed a job with more flexible hours, otherwise, I never got a day off. For awhile, I just did babysitting jobs (definitely got me prepared for motherhood!). Then I got a Restaurantposition I really enjoyed! I became a waitress/hotel front desk clerk for a restaurant about 45 min from my home. I thoroughly enjoyed serving people, getting to know the locals, and working for the food industry.

It was during this time that I joined a website for single Catholics. As I told you before the amount of eligible young men was limited in my area. I took this leap of faith praying that God would send the right man my way. I started corresponding with two single guys. Shortly after this, I got really interested in one of them and solely started communicating with him. After many emails back and forth  and our first phone call on December 25th, 2005, we decided to meet. (I think it was my statement that the sooner you get to meet the person the better! LOL)

In February 2006, the knight (my future husband) met me for the first time at the airport in Minot, North Dakota. He had traveled in from Kansas.  From there on out things really started to move. He spent a whole entire week visiting me and my family. Actually, by day three we both knew that we loved each other. We had gotten to know so much about each other via email, regular mail, phone calls, that it was only meeting each other that completed the whole courtship. After the week was over, it was so hard to see him leave. I couldn’t wait to see him again!

April 2006 brought about another visit, but this one was extra special! I knew that he had come with the possibility of a proposal, but wasn’t sure when or how. He arrived on Easter Sunday and as we were heading back from the airport to my parent’s home, he asked my dad to drop us off at the church we attended. Soon after, to my astonishment and surprise, on the front steps of the church, my knight in shining armor asked this humble maiden if she would become his wife . Ring

YES! My prayers had been answered! My patience had been rewarded! My faith that God would show me the right person at the right time was rewarded with the best husband and even more than I could have asked for. So you ladies/gents out there that are still waiting, if God thinks it’s the right time, it will happen! You just need to have patience and trust in Him!

So the rest of the spring/summer/part of fall was a whirlwind with preparations for not only the wedding, but also my move which required a lot of legal procedures due to the fact that I was a Canadian getting married to an American. We had many papers and forms to fill out, plus dollars to spend in order for me to obtain a visa. Sometimes it seemed discouraging to have to fill one more paper or go through one more legal procedure just so that we once we were married we could live together in the United States.  Of course, the love we had for each other was so much stronger!

Finally, the long-awaited day came. On September 9th, 2006 we asked for God’s Blessing and became one amidst family and friends. Now I was officially the empress of the home and would make my abode with my emperor in the sunflower state of Kansas! (This is not our wedding phoWedding picture of Emperor Karl and Empress Zitato)

After many tears and goodbyes we headed to our abode in Kansas. It wasn’t the most pleasant of honeymoons but it was memorable. I had a really hard time adjusting to being so far from my family. I have to give my husband all the credit though! He is the most patient husband. Comforting and consoling, patiently waiting for his little wife to adjust to married life and away from the comfort of her family.  So those of you out there that marry the love of your life and move far away from family and friends, know that you are not alone. Yes, it is hard but when you love each other so much, nothing can get in the way. Plus, aren’t we told that “the woman shall leave her home and cling to her husband”.

About a little less than two months after we became one we found out we were pregnant! However, God had destined that this little one wouldn’t remain with us long. About 12 weeks after finding out we were expecting we lost the little one. We put the baby in a jar and buried our little one in the miscarried cemetery nearby. What a hard thing that was and even today still leaves us with a heartache! unmarked_grave_810_500_55_s_c1

However, this was just part of being a wife/husband and motherhood/fatherhood. We still had so much to learn, to experience, to trust. We were naive, newly married, adjusting, but always praying for God to help us to  be resolved. There was so much more to come….so much more love to follow!

To Be Continued……

How did you meet your spouse? What is your courtship/wedding story? Let us know and leave a comment!