Book Review

Dr. Kwasniewski Announces New Reprints

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It is no secret.  I am a BIG fan of Dr. Kwasniewski.  Click HERE for my review of his book Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness.

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So, when I recently read on New Liturgical Movement about the reprints of five books, put out by Os Justi Press, which is Kwasniewski’s republishing entity, I immediately took notice and clicked over to Amazon and threw one in my cart.

Let me advise you, run over to NLM, read the article, and do yourself a favor and buy one or more, especially if you homeschool, and especially if you happen to be studying the English Reformation, for two of the books are historical novels written by Robert Hugh Benson.

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Here they are: By What Authority? and The King’s Achievement

In an email to a friend of mine Kwasniewski wrote, “These two novels by Benson are simply the best unit studies for the periods of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. We read them aloud in our family and couldn’t put them down. My children have returned to them. They make this crucial piece of Catholic history come alive.”

I need no convincing that these novels are excellent, as I am already a fan of Benson, having devoured Come Rack! Come Rope! a few years ago.  But I’m also excited about the little book on vocation discernment that Kwasniewski is also reprinting.  It’s called Vocations by Fr. William Doyle, and really, you should go read the description of it on NLM.

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What am I reading right now?

In the end, I want to thank Dr. Kwasniewski for his hard work in putting out good material for us to read.  My husband is currently reading Pius Parsch’s The Breviary Explained, also reprinted by Os Justi Press.  It’s excellent, and I’m learning so much, as my husband likes to read passages out loud to me.

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My husband’s book.  If you pray Morning Prayer, or any other Office, you need this book.

And I’m reading Kwasniewski’s Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis, and honestly, right now, it’s making me mad.  I feel as if I’ve been cheated out of our rich Catholic heritage.  Maybe I’ll do a book review of it later on.

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Snowing Already?!

How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine.

1. Dear Readers, I just want to let you know that it snowed here the other day.  Yep.  Those of you living in warmer climates, eat your hearts out.

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It wasn’t as bad as this photo from Wikimedia Commons, but this is how I felt.

2.  So, in honor of the first snow day, our household blasted Christmas music.  I know that some of you may consider this as near heretical behavior, but I ask you, what else ought one to do when it snows in the beginning of October?  I can’t play Louis Armstrong’s When You’re Smiling, because I ain’t smiling.  But I can play It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas by Bing Crosby, because it is.

3.  We took the children down to South Dakota, where it’s supposed to be warmer, to visit my parents.  They’re in the middle of harvesting soy beans and corn.  It’s a lot of fun riding around in combines.

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Here are some of my children standing in the corn, waiting for their combine ride.
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My dad and the children.

4.  We also took the children to Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Sioux Falls.  Ever been there?  No?  It’s beautiful, especially if you attend the 9:15 am Mass when the Men’s Schola chants.  Be.You.Ti.Full.

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Cathedral of St. Joseph.  Now this is how you build a church.  Click HERE for more photos.

5.  We’re still moving and getting closer to The Day.  Next week we should close on our house and move into a new one.  Some of you may be wondering if it’s been a difficult last few months?  The answer is, yes.  For one thing, I haven’t had access to all my stuff for a good four weeks, as we’ve been packing.  Just where did I put that book on St. Dominic that my daughter needs for a speech?  Oh yes, I remember, in a box…

Call Me Catholic

October 7th & the Battle of Lepanto

Happy feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary!  This feast has a rich history, which I do not have time to relate.  (Click HERE for it at New Advent.)

However, many of you may know that this day was originally named Our Lady of Victory to commemorate the naval victory of the Christian fleet over the Turkish fleet in the gulf of Lepanto in the Adriatic Sea in 1571.

Every October 7th our family reads G. K. Chesterton’s famous poem, Lepanto.  If you’ve never read it before, give it shot!  Chesterton covers this historic battle very well, and it reads like a marching army.  We love it.  May God bless the souls of Don John of Austria and Pope Pius V!

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The Battle of Lepanto.  Artist unknown.  It sits in London now.  Can you see the different flags?
Homeschooling

A New Academic Year & A New Schedule

It’s the start of another school year for us, and I apologize for not getting this out sooner.

This year, however, we have a more complicated schedule as three of our children are being homeschooled (The Eldest, Child #4, and Child #5), two of our children are attending a Catholic Montessori grade school (The Twins), and the other two (Child #6 and the Baby) are just. plain. busy.

So, how do I manage it all?

With a good schedule and a lot of grace.  (And coffee, of course.)

Our New Schedule

Some of you may be curious as to how my day now looks, so I’ll break it down.*  Maybe you’ll glean an idea or two that might work for you.  Maybe not.  All families are different and have different needs, after all.

6:00am

Wake-up!  My husband and I still pray the Morning Office and end with about twenty or so minutes of silent prayer.  The three oldest children set their watch alarms and join us at 6:30 for a few minutes of their own silent prayer.  This time ends at 6:40 when the coffee maker beeps to signal that it’s ready for us, at which point I run for the kitchen and thankfully pour myself a big mug full.

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My lovely coffee pot with my favorite chipped mug.  My mother gave it to me.

6:40am

The older children commence Early Morning School, which consists of math facts, Latin, or handwriting.  The Eldest, however, does Saxon Math with my husband.

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The Twins working on a little Math and Latin this morning.

The only thing different about this time is that the two children attending the Montessori school must practice their piano in the morning, after their school work.  They only put in fifteen minutes each, but this is important because after being confined in school all day, who would want to sit down at a piano when getting home later on?  Not these boys.

While the older children are working on things that do not require my help, I sneak in a few minutes of computer time and then get ready for the day.

7:45am

My husband and The Twins leave.  The rest of us eat breakfast and commence Morning Time.  This looks pretty much the same as it did last winter.  While the children eat breakfast, I read the Mass readings and then we recite our poetry.

Right now The Eldest is back to working on a Shakespearian soliloquy, Hamlet’s “To Be or Not to Be.”  We had started this one earlier in the year, but had to take a break to memorize The Destruction of Sennacherib by Lord Byron for a program she’s involved with called. Catholic Schoolhouse.

Catholic Schoolhouse is a group of students who meet once a week and do some really awesome stuff.  (How’s that for an explanation?)

The little children are working on the Ten Commandments and the 46 books of the Old Testament.  A few years ago I came up with a jingle for it, to the tune of Jingle Bells.  It’s linked it below.  (It’s certainly not professional, as I simply sat down one day and recorded with talking babies and banging toddlers in the background.)  Feel free to use it, if it’s helpful.

 

You’ll notice that the first five books – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy – are missing.  That’s because the children already know them in order, as the law books.  You might also notice that I moved 1 & 2 Maccabees to follow the history books.  I wanted to impress upon the children the 4 kinds of books in the Old Testament: Law, History, Wisdom, and Prophetic.  As a former teacher of the Old Testament, I found it helpful to be able to distinguish between the different kinds of writing.  All the other books are in order, however.

9:00am

After breakfast clean-up and piano, it’s time for Mid-Morning Prayer.  I moved this time up a bit, because it seemed to flow a little better with the baby’s schedule.  Remember, during all this busyness, I’m somehow nursing and caring for a baby and a 2-year-old.

During this time, we’re singing two hymns and learning a new prayer penned by St. Therese.  We finish this time together with a review of all our Latin vocabulary.

9:30am

The Eldest works on her Latin from Classical Academic Press.  Child #4 does Math and Spelling.  Child #5 sits down with me, and we learn to read.

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Who doesn’t love kindergarten?  Lots of coloring and learning of sounds.  I use Seton for phonics and Bob Books for fun.

11:00am

Lunch time!  This year I have to have a longer stretch of time here because The Eldest participates in an online class on writing through Schole Academy twice a week, which happens to be during lunch.  But this class has been wonderful for two reasons:  1.  She loves it, and  2.  I don’t have to do a single thing for writing and rhetoric anymore.

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Here she is, “attending” class, with her headphones on, to block out all the background noise.

During lunch we still listen to audio books from Audible.  Currently we’re enjoying Tan’s The Story of Civilization Volume 1, as we’re studying the Ancient World in history.

And that’s enough for today!

 

 

*Care to see how my day looked last winter?  Click on “A Day in the Life Series” in my tag cloud on the right.

 

Kim's Kitchen

Anyone Enjoy Chinese Take-Out?

Do you enjoy Chinese take-out?  Then you might try making it at home.

Sweet & Sour Chicken

Last night I made Sweet & Sour Chicken for supper.  It’s a favorite of ours.  Well, I should say a favorite for my husband and I, as the children are not wild about it, but they eat it anyway.

For this recipe, I begin by chopping three differently colored bell peppers, a red onion, garlic, and lots of ginger.  Normally I cheat with the ginger by buying that tube of “freshly” chopped stuff in the grocery store, but this time I went through the labor of peeling and chopping it.

If you’ve never cooked with ginger, your nose is in for heavenly bliss.  It smells so good.  It’s sort of like freshly squeezed lemon.  Both have lovely, distinct fragrances.

Anyway, after chopping the vegetables, I then chop up my chicken, which I prefer to be slightly frozen because it’s easier to chop and not as slimy.  Then I throw everything into a pan and sauté it all with some olive oil.

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Here it is.  Ready for the sauce.

While that’s cooking, I mix up the sauce which consists of vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and corn starch.  When the chicken is cooked, I pour the sauce over it all and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.  Then it’s done and ready to be served with rice, which I failed to mention ought to be cooking at the same time.  (Actually, the rice takes longer to cook because I use organic, brown rice that requires about 45 minutes.)

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I realize that it might not look very appetizing, but that’s because I always mix my rice right into the pan when it’s done, instead of serving the chicken mixture on top of a bed of rice.  It’s just easier to serve my troupe of children that way.

Sweet & Sour Chicken Recipe

Ingredients:
4 Chicken Breasts, Chopped
3 Bell Peppers, Chopped
1 Onion, Chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, Minced or Pressed
2-inch Piece of Ginger, Peeled & Minced
Olive Oil
Cooked Rice

Sauce:
1/4 C White Vinegar
1/4 C Soy Sauce
1/4 C Sugar
1 Tb Cornstarch

Directions:
Sauté chicken, peppers, onion, garlic, and ginger in oil until chicken is done.  Add Sauce mixture and cook a few more minutes until it thickens.  Serve over cooked rice.

Call Me Catholic

Fr. Fessio of Ignatius Press Speaks Out

Anyone still following the latest in the Church Crisis?

I came across this article from LifeSite News, wherein Fr. Fessio of Ignatius Press speaks out about Pope Francis’ silence.  It caught my attention for a number of reasons:

  1. I’ve always admired Fr. Fessio.
  2. I love Ignatius Press.
  3. Apparently Vigano reads Michael O’Brien, as he mentioned Father Elijah.*
  4. Anyone who has read anything of O’Brien’s finds his writing eerily prophetic.
  5. And finally, Fr. Fessio takes the words right out of my mouth, “Be a man.  Stand up and answer the questions.”

Here’s an excerpt from the article.  If you’re interested, click HERE for the whole thing.

“He’s attacking Viganò and everyone who is asking for answers,” Fessio told CNN. “I just find that deplorable.”

“Be a man. Stand up and answer the questions,” he added.

The publisher-priest told LifeSiteNews that he meant no disrespect for the Pope by saying this. Fessio observed that words said in conversation look “worse” in print but defended his opinions.

“I think the idea that I’m expressing there is a valid idea, and even if I tempered it somewhat, I think it should be said. And maybe … it will help the Pope to have some straight-talking. He seems to want to have openness, doesn’t he? He talks about frankness and openness and don’t be afraid to say what’s on your mind.”

“So I said what was on my mind–and not just my mind; it’s on a lot of people’s minds.”

Thank you, Fr. Fessio.

*Haven’t read Father Elijah?  Pick yourself up a copy today and be prepared to stay up all night, because it’s that good.  You won’t be able to put it down.

Life is Worth Living

Best Date Night Movie

Those of you who are married, when’s the last time you went on a date with your spouse?

I’ll let you think about that.

If the answer is not within the last two weeks, then it’s time.  If you’re racking your brain right now and can’t seem to remember, then you’re way overdue.  Or, if you seem to recall celebrating your 10th anniversary at Dairy Queen with a baby in tow last year, then NOPE.  You’re way overdue too.  And no, that one time, when you and your spouse went to the grocery store together doesn’t count either.

Now, as you know, watching a movie isn’t the best carefree timelessness that one can spend with one’s spouse, for the obvious reason that you’re not giving your attention to your spouse.  Naturally, it would be better to go for a walk together.  Or enjoy a cup of coffee at a cafe together.  Or a glass of wine at a restaurant together.  Or anything else away from your home and your children – little blessings that they are – so long as you two are together.

And I hate that I have to say this, but you had better not have your phones near you.  Well, maybe you need them for your children’s sake, but absolutely no using them otherwise.  It is abominably rude to check your phone in front of your spouse, let alone other people.  So put it away.

That said, there are times when a Movie Night might be the ticket, especially if grandma is busy and you can’t leave your house.  So, if you’ve already spent at least fifteen minutes in eye-to-eye conversation with your spouse today, then I recommend watching the following movie:

The Quiet Man

The Quiet Man is the best date night movie ever for the following reasons:

  1. It’s clean.  (This is a Miracle.  I guess it did come out in 1952.)
  2. It features John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, who are sure to satisfy both husbands and wives.
  3. It’s set in Ireland, complete with lovely Irish accents.
  4. It’s light-hearted.  The Catholics are Catholic.  The protestants are protestants.  There are some really funny jokes, if you’re able to catch them.

Now this movie is not perfect, however.  For example, you will see a priest support a questionable scheme to convince O’Hara’s belligerent brother to let her go courting.

That said, give it a shot.  It’s still awesome.

Call Me Catholic

An Act of Generosity & Ember Days

An Anonymous Act of Generosity

Two Sundays ago the children woke up extra early and were especially crabby.  (Oh wait, that was me!)  So my husband and I decided to attend an earlier Mass at a different parish, so that we could be home at a decent time for naps.

Now, our family is a little conspicuous wherever we go for a two reasons:

  1. We’ve got 7 children under the age of 12 and therefore take up a whole pew.
  2. The girls and I veil.  Even at the Novus Ordo.  (Don’t know what veiling is?  Click HERE.)

So in we walked with our troupe and commenced praying the Mass, which went fairly well.  There was only one incident when the baby pooped out her whole outfit.  Once I discovered that, I quickly exited to the back of the church and began hunting for a bathroom.

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This picture has nothing to do with my post.  It’s some wild flowers the girls picked the other day.  Aren’t they pretty?  Aster, fleabane, goldenrod, sunflowers, and dotted blazing star.

And I wasn’t the only one looking for a bathroom.  Lo and behold, another mother was in the same predicament as I was.  We both had visibly messy babies.  Eventually we found the ONE bathroom, which was of course locked and in use, with a line running back into the entrance/narthex area.

What to do?  The other mother suggested that our Blessed Lord surely wouldn’t mind if knelt right down and changed our babies in the church narthex, in front of scores* of people.  So we did.

Anyway, as I said earlier, everything else went as usual with no major incidents.  As we left the church, however, I happened to glance into my purse/diaper bag and noticed a wad of cash, which was amounted to $80.  I asked my husband if he had put that in there?  Nope.

Then my 5-year-old chimed in, “Mom, I know who put that in there!”

“Who?”

“That really nice, old lady behind us.  She tucked it in your purse when you weren’t looking, but I was.  I gave her a big smile.  Mom, she winked at me.”

I stopped in my tracks.  I couldn’t believe it.  Someone actually gave us money for going to church!?  What an act of kindness!  What a beautiful thing to an overwhelmed mother, who was just worrying about what in the world to feed her huge and ravenously hungry family!

I turned to my husband and said, “Dearest, the Lord wants us to dine out for lunch today.  Betake us to thy favorite restaurant.”

Whereupon he responded, “Certainly, my Dear.  How about the local diner?”

O glorious day!  And may God bless that most generous woman!

Reflection

I was seriously overjoyed at that woman’s act of charity.  It absolutely made my day, which got me thinking.  When’s the last time I did something kind for someone else?

Maybe I could pay for someone else’s coffee the next time I hit up the drive-thru?

Ember Days

Lastly, this Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday are Ember Days.  If you’ve never observed them before, consider it.  (Click HERE for a brief explanation.)

 

 

*The church was overflowing into the narthex area, which is a good problem to have, considering the state of affairs these days.
Book Review

Chris Van Dusen: A Children’s Book Review

Anybody reading children’s books these days?  No?  Then this post isn’t for you.  See you next time.  Yes?  Then read on.

I came across Chris Van Dusen’s work a few years ago with the Mercy Watson pig books.  He was the illustrator for this series, not the the author, who was Kate DiCamillo.  But I don’t like the Mercy Watson books, however.  They’re BORING.  But my kids like them, so I let them read a few.  I tend to agree with C. S. Lewis though, who once said, “If an adult finds a children’s book boring, then it sucks.”  Ok, those weren’t his exact words, but something like that. *

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Note the cute 2-year-old in her favorite blue sparkle skirt.  All girls should have a skirt like that.  I’m told they are a lot of fun to wear every. single. day.

Anyway, I do really like Van Dusen’s two books that he both wrote and illustrated, If I Built a Car and If I Built a House.  They rhyme after all and are fun to read.  These books have great illustrations and articulate every kid’s dream of cars sporting swimming pools and houses featuring no-gravity flying rooms.

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My 2-year-old with If I Built a House.  This is our second copy, as the first was used to shreds, literally.

So, since I liked those two books, I thought I’d check out a few more Van Dusen books.  He has a Mr. Magee series, which is ok and Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit, which is fine.  They’re worth checking out at a library.  But his Hattie & Hudson is bosh.  First of all, it doesn’t rhyme.  Secondly, Hattie is disobedient, sneaking out of her house at night.  And thirdly, I don’t like big sea monsters portrayed as kind and misunderstood creatures.  Nope.  Quit mixing up your symbols, Van Dusen.  Sea monsters and dragons should be evil.  Always.  Don’t agree with me?  Read Michael O’Brien’s Landscape With Dragons and drop me a line.  (Maybe I’ll do a post on that some day.  By the way, if you have children, you should really read that O’Brien book.)

Van Dusen’s  The Circus Ship is entertaining, however, and mostly appropriate.  Once again, the pictures are beautiful, and it rhymes.  There is a really fun page where one must find all 15 animals that are hiding from the terrible circus boss.  It’s great.  The only problem I have with this book is that all the animals are of course friendly.  Even a big, fat snake.  Humph!  Snakes belong in the sea monster and dragon category – just plain evil.  The only reason why I could still recommend this book is that he’s not saying anything at all about the snakes actually being good.  He’s only showing that they can be tamed, which is true.

One final note about The Circus Ship.  I know some of you are sensitive about anything circus related.  I know I am.  This is because shriners are typically associated with circuses and most of us don’t want anything to do with shriners, as they’re in turn connected to the Masons.  Yikes.  If you’re a Catholic, that should really bother you.  That said, I see no such connection between this particular book’s circus and the shriners.

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Now she’s onto The Circus Ship.  It is worth a read.

 

* C. S. Lewis’s real quotation is as follows.  And I couldn’t agree more.

“No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.”  C. S. Lewis