Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lemon Blueberry Cake

We made this cake to go along with a state study. 
We are currently studying New Jersey and New Jersey's state fruit is the blueberry.



2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 blueberries, fresh or frozen, tossed with 1 tablespoon flour
(I used frozen)


1 1/2 cups powered sugar
10 teaspoons lemon juice

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter(or you can use pan) a bundt cake pan.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a second large bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Add sugar and cream the sugar and butter until fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Add lemon juice and vanilla extract. Mix well.
Add the flour and buttermilk. Alternate between the two ingredients. Beat for about 2 minutes. 
Fold in blueberries. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and then remove cake from pan by running a knife around the edges.

To make the glaze, mix the powered sugar and lemon juice together until smooth. You can add yellow food dye if you want the glaze to have a yellow color. We try to avoid food color.
Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake. It will roll down the sides.

Sorry I didn't get a picture of the cake. We were busy making two cakes. One was for us and the other was for a fellow home school mama who just had a baby.

Linking up with....Try a New Recipe Tuesday, In and Out of the Kitchen, Spatulas On Parade , Kids in the Kitchen,  , Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, The Modest Mom, Create with Joy, The Better Mom, Kids and a Mom in the kitchen

Monday, February 25, 2013

Memoir Mondays~ What makes a real dad

I am linking up again with my friend, Chris, over at Campfires and Cleats.

A few days ago, we went hiking up in a state park as a family. 
Daddy had the day off and the kids enjoyed the time spent with him. 

This past weekend, daddy took the kids outside and played.
They practiced with their bow and arrows, shot their BB guns, and they got to practice throwing Lego Man's hatchet he got for his birthday.
The afternoon past in a flash but the memories will last a life time.
Watching my kids with their daddy brought up old memories for me.

I am child of divorce. My parents divorced by the time I was three and I stopped seeing my biological father by the age of 9. Thankfully God had other plans for my life. My mom remarried when I was six. My step-dad had never been married before and had never had kids, so it was all new to him. He jumped right in and never looked back. My years are filled with so many happy moments.

I remember.....

saying night time prayers, 
being sung a bicycle built for two at bedtime, 
crying in the car because he had been pulled(I thought he was going to jail) over while singing O won't you come home Bill Bailey, 
apple picking in the fall, 
eating ice cream after Mass in the summer time, 
butterfly kisses and Eskimo kisses, 
apple cider, 
Sunday morning stops at the Italian bakery...the smell of bread,
bandaging up a hurt finger not long after becoming my daddy, 
being my chauffeur for ballet,gymnastics and little girl birthday parties, 
being taught how to cook an egg, 
late night picks ups from cheering for football, basketball and soccer games, 
eating dinner late in the car while sharing news about my day, 
being scolded for riding my bike on the grass...he liked a well maintained yard, 
big dinners with his Italian family, 
watching a slide show of his far away travels from his life before kids, 
a road trip all the way to Colorado  vacations to Virginia, Florida, South Carolina, and the shore,
the day his father died,
being dropped off at college for the first time, 
back and forth trips going back and forth between school and home, 
grocery shopping to make sure I had food to eat, 
getting a pizza together before he headed back home, 
moving me into my first real apartment,
 being their for me when I planned my wedding, 
walking me down the aisle, 
and holding my children for the first time.

I could go on and on. 
The one thing I have learned in this life is any man can make a baby, but it takes a special man to become a father. I am so blessed that God chose this man for me. He has loved me unconditionally. I haven't always treated him kindly. I think most teenagers go through a period when their parents are horrible. Looking back at my behavior when I was younger, I regret so much. After I got married, I told him how much I appreciated all the stuff he did for me throughout the years. He didn't have to send me to Catholic school, buy me a car or all the fancy dresses for dances, or pay for me to got to a small private college. He did because he loved me. For that I will always be grateful.
I am so lucky to have him as my father. My children are blessed to have him in their lives.

Linking up with....Campfire and Cleats, Monday Mingle

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Good Samaritan

Once the story was finished, we talked about how we can be good Samaritans  We went around the room and each child offered 2 to 3 ideas.
They then colored a picture of one of the ideas they had mentioned.
I found a Love your Neighbor as Yourself coloring page here.
I liked this page because of the bible verse at the top of the page.
Once the children were done with their pages, they came up to the front of the room and told the class about their pictures. They shared a variety of ideas.

Next, we played a game called clusters.
The children were in a group and the leader called out directions.
Right, Left, Front, Back
The leader also called out numbers to have the kids paired off.
We used the numbers 2, 3, 4, and 6.
We the numbers were called out the children had to get into a group pertaining that number. Once in their group, they performed an action.
2- they knelt down and raised their arms towards each other to form a church steeple
3- one child was injured and the other two helped the injured one like crutches
4- they got into groups and took care of an sick/injured person
6- they formed a bridge(tunnel)...four kids faced each other and made a bridge with their arms and the two remaining kids went through the bridge.

Before we started the game, we talked about what each action represented.
2~The church was to represent the Kingdom of Jesus
3~ Crutches represented we all need help sometimes
4~ Helping the sick reminds us to be like the good Samaritan.
6~ The bridge showed us that we should follow Jesus and His ways.

While researching for this lessons, I came across Saint Augustine's interpretation of the parable.
Saint Augustine believed the good Samaritan was Jesus and the injured man was Adam. Adam was the symbol of all fallen mankind. Jesus came down from Heaven to earth to cure man's wounds.
Here is a list of symbols I discovered too.

Jerusalem is Paradise
Jericho is the world 
Man is Adam or the whole human race
Priest and Levite are the Law and the Prophets
Samaritan is Jesus
Inn is the Church
Innkeeper is Paul
Two coins are the Old and New Testament or the two Great Commandments


Here is a link to a song about the Good Samaritan. It is sung to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell.


Another idea I had was have the kids act out the story. They could do it with puppets or themselves. They would have fun acting the story out.

God Bless,

Pin It

Friday, February 22, 2013

Our United States Scrapbook~ Delaware

Delaware~ The First State

This year, the kids and I decided to study the States. After researching different lap books, unit studies and lesson plans, I finally decided on creating a scrapbook of the states. I really liked the idea when I saw it over at Shower of Roses. The kids could keep them and maybe add to them as they get older.

First, we headed off to our local craft store for some scrapbooks.
We were able to find some red scrapbooks that were $9.99.  With our 40% off coupon, we only paid $5.99! I figured this was not a bad deal since we will most likely need 2 to 3 books to finish all 50 states.
While doing research, I came across this fantastic site that gives all of the states symbols.
You can check it out, it is called State Symbols USA 

Here is the list of books we read to learn more about Delaware.

For the history of the Delaware colony we read

After reading about the first state, we started making our scrapbooks.
We used a variety of resources. Here are a few we used.
Coloring page of Delaware's flag that gives directions on how to color it.
State Bird coloring page
State of Delaware coloring page
Here is a nice picture of the state bird and flower.
A coloring page for the Delaware quarter can be found here. The United States Mint has coloring pages, games, toons, and history that the kids can check out.
We used an outline map of the United States to locate Delaware and colored it in.
Lady Bug coloring page
Horseshoe crab coloring page
I was hoping to add the Delaware state quarter to the book but we didn't have that state in our coin jar.
I printed out a picture of the House of Refuge lighthouse in Delaware Bay, Delaware and I created a fact sheet to go on the pages.
The kids added a scrapbook sticker of a pumpkin since Pumpkin Chunkin takes place their. Lego Man watches it every year on TV. Maybe one day, he will grow up and create one of those crazy contraptions.Pin It

Jan Brett Unit Study

We love Jan Brett's books in our house. They are charming stories with wonderful illustrations.

Some of our favorite books are....

Scholastic has a lessons plan on The Mitten that will help students learn sequencing and learn how to predict. We love how the illustrations on the side of the pages show what is happening elsewhere in the story.

A mitten coloring page can be found here.

A coloring page of mittens and animals can be found on this Jan Brett site.

To creat a snow scene, children can take blue od black construction paper and use white paint/crayon to make a winter scene similar to the story.

For this story, you can take white air dry clay(Crayola makes an easy clay to work with) and have the kids build an igloo.

Make a mural of the arctic. You can find directions and pictures here.

This book is a great way to introduce your children to the Inuit people. You can discuss how they live, customs they have, food they eat and where they live.

A lesson plan for The Hat can be found at Scholastic.

A coloring page for this book can be found at Jan Brett.

This is a wonderful story that teaches children that the grass isn't always greener on the other side.

Teaching our children to be happy with what they have is so important in today's world.

All Kids Network has a fun craft to go along with this story. Most of the supplies you probably already have in your house.

Check it out here.

An alphabet coloring page of Town Mouse, Country Mouse can ber found here.

Both of these stories are full of adventure.

Making gingerbread cookies would be a great addition to the telling of these two stories.

A few years ago I drew a gingerbread picture on poster board and had my kids color and decorate. You can use a variety of media to decorate them...seqins, beads, rick rack, ribbon, buttons, pipe cleaners, pom poms, ect. If they want to turn them into puppets just glue a popsicle stick to the back of the gingerbread man.

A blank gingerbread form can be found on this site for those that do not have any drawing abilities.

Jan Brett is a wonderful author that writes stories that enchant little ones and older ones.

Here is a page that shows a collection of her books.

We have read many of her books over and over.

After reading several of Jan Brett's books, I asked Lego Man and Princess P to create a picture in the same style Jan Brett uses. We talked about how you can see what the main character is doing, the supporting characters and what will happen when you flip the page.

His favorite book is The First Dog by Jan Brett.

There are numerous resources out there to use.

An excellent site that has loads and loads of fun stuff to do can be found here.

This Jan Brett site has coloring pages, activities, videos, games, recipes and so much more.

Our Jesse Tree 2012

After seeing a post by Jessica over at Shower of Roses, I decided to replace our paper Jesse tree ornaments with hand-made felt ones.

I used the bible verses that Jessica posted on Shower of Roses to help inspire my own felt ornaments.

I had a lot of fun making these ornaments with Princess P. I cut them out and she glued the pieces to the circles.

Here are just a few of the ones we created.

If you haven't stopped by and visited the blog Shower of Roses, I would encourage you to do it. She has so many wonderful ideas and her children are adorable. I always enjoy seeing other young children growing in their faith! There family is a true inspiration.

Keeping Christ in Christmas

"I’m participating in the Keeping Christ in Christmas Blog Carnival, hosted by Raising (& Teaching) Little SaintsTruly Rich Mom and Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families. We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Jesus as the Reason for the Christmas season. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.”
I was born into a Catholic family. We attended Mass every Sunday and on Holy days. But as a child, Christmas was more about Santa and the presents. We went to Mass, but we never celebrated the real reason for Christmas in our home.  After being away from my faith for many years, I vowed my children would have a stronger connection to their Catholic faith. I wanted them to understand our beliefs and traditions. In our house, we still do Santa but have stressed the real meaning of Christmas.
I think we have found a wonderful balance that works for us.
During Advent, we prepare ourselves for the birth of Jesus and his second coming. We go to confession to clean our hearts as my little ones say. Right now, Lego Man and I are the only ones that go. Princess P will be able to join us after she makes her First Penance this February. Princess P has been wearing her sacrifice beads to help her focus on getting her heart ready. This year the children made a tiny manger out of popsicle sticks and are adding a piece of straw to it. By the end of this Advent season, they will have a wonderful place for Baby Jesus to lay.
We have an Advent Wreath.
Sadly, I had one even before I really knew what we were supposed to do with it. There was one in church every Advent, but I did not grow up with one in my house. I knew nothing about the prayers, songs or bible passages that went along with it. I just thought it was a pretty decoration to add to your table. I have been trying to teach my children the meaning behind the Advent wreath and how it helps us prepare for the coming of our Lord. We do daily readings and sing Advent songs. This year the singing has been a little challenging since Lego Man doesn't enjoy singing. I am trying to find new ways to encourage him.
 We have a Jesse Tree that we decorate each year. We started this tradition three years ago. This year, we made our own felt ornaments.
We got rid of our worn out paper ornaments and enjoyed making them together as a family. We read the Bible stories to go along with the ornaments each day. The kids enjoy listening to the stories and putting the ornaments on the tree. It has become one of their favorite Christmas traditions.
One tradition we started this year is reading different Christmas stories each night at bed. I went through all of our books and the library to find books about the first Christmas or stories that reinforce the real meaning of Christmas. By reading books about Jesus and the real meaning of Christmas I hope they are having visions of Jesus, Mary and Joseph dancing in their heads.
We participated in the Holy Heroes Advent Adventure this Advent season.
The kids enjoy watching the videos. They pray along with the kids and I love that they are seeing other children that are focused on their faith.
In our house, we have 4 different Nativity scenes displayed.
Two are located upstairs and two downstairs. Princess P still enjoys playing with the Fisher Price Nativity set we got years ago. None of our sets are big or fancy but they remind us to put Jesus first in our hearts.
Within the past 2 years, I have focused more on finding religious ornaments and decorations. I am slowly replacing the Santa and commercialized holiday items with ones to reflect our faith. I want my kids to walk into a room and know that Jesus is the most important reason for this holiday not some guy in a red suit.
We decorate the outside bushes with white lights to remind us Jesus is the light. We turn the lights on the Third Sunday of Advent. I will admit that I get the lights on the bushes on a warm day, but don't turn them on until the Guadete Sunday.
I make the point of sending our religious Christmas cards. I love cards with the Nativity scene on them. I find the images peaceful and hopeful. I even try to find religious stickers to seal the envelopes and religious stamps. I hope when someone receives one of these cards in the mail they are reminded of Jesus Christ.
Every year, we take two ornament tags of the tree at church. Lego Man and Princess P pick two children to buy presents for. We talk about how some families are less fortunate than ourselves. This was especially important this year for us after going through our own difficult time this past year. By buying a gift for these two little children,  they will get to experience the joy of Christmas. This is a wonderful way for my children to follow the example of Saint Nicholas and Saint Lucia. There is no better gift than the gift of giving.
We do decorate fairly early for Christmas. We start decorating the house the week after Thanksgiving. It allows us to get everything ready for the Christmas season. We are preparing the way for our special guest. We can then relax and enjoy the Advent season. Having the decorations up reminds me to slow down and enjoy the gift Jesus gave to us. Seeing the decorations fills me with hope and joy.
Our homeschooling  studies takes a more relaxed approach too. We focus on feast days, bible readings, bible coloring pages and just spending quality time as a family. We work on crafts and gifts for our family members. We did work on learning O Come, O Come, Emmanuel in Latin this year. We definitely have the first two verses down. Hopefully, we will get it all down soon. Princess P has done the best with it.
Our biggest goal during the Advent and Christmas season is to spend more time together as a family and focus on Jesus. In the hustle and bustle of today's society I think we easily forget about what should truly matter in this world.
Here are the links to the other blog carnival participants. I hope you'll take the time to visit them and leave a comment on their posts! :) The list will be updated throughout the day, so please do come back and check on them. God bless us all!
Homeschool Mosaics: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Joy: Keeping Christ in Christmas: Advent Interruptions
The Breadbox Letters: Interrupted by Glory
TwentyTuesdayAfternoons: Keeping Christ in Christmas/ The Season of Giving / A Wee Bit of Beach Holiday Angst
The Learning Basket: Staying With the Nativity Story
Tercets: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Rosary Mom: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Ate Maui: Hoping and Bringing Hope
Written By the Finger of God: 12 Traditions for Keeping Christ in Christmas
Dominique's Desk: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Felix at Fifty: What Jesus Wants for Christmas
Mommy Bares All: Birthday Cake for the Birthday Boy on Christmas Day
Between Now and Later: Keeping Christ in Christmas, I am trying...
Lique's Antics: Family Antics: Christmas Reflection
Life of Fortunate Chances: Our First Ever Christmas: Keeping Christ in Christmas
The Mommy Journey: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Roller Coaster Ride: How to Remind Your Kids of Jesus Christ This Christmas
Cymplified: Christ -Centered Christmas: Cymplified!
Mountain Grace: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Touring Kitty: Grown-up Christmas List
Mommy Chinkysoup for the Soul: A Very Special Christmas
City Girl, Country Home: Finding Jesus in a Flurry
Coffee Moments with Sam: Christmas Unwrapped: 5 Presents Our Kids Truly Deserve
Raising Lifelong Learners: Keeping Christ in Christmas
The Diary of a Sower: Keeping Christ in Christmas: Celebrating the Golden Days
Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Raising (and Teaching) Little Saints: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Truly Rich Mom: The Greatest Gift of All This Christmas
Joy-Filled Family: CHRIST in Christmas
Blueberry 010: Keeping Christ in Christmas: Jesus is the Reason for the Season
Deeper Truth Blog: Keeping Christ in Christmas Carnival
Holy Ducklings: 10 Ways to Make Advent Special for Your Little Ducklings
Green Eggs and Moms: Keeping Christ in Christmas: Green Eggs & Moms Style!

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life~
Every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter
round button chicken




No words can describe the beauty of God's work!


We have been greeted by Mr. Cardinal every morning the past few weeks.

He's such a little character. This is our second winter he has graced us with his presence. He sings loudly and cheerfully. It seems like he sings even louder when we are out listening to him. Thankfully he has avoided the fate of our three cats.





The pig recently escaped her pen and while it was being repaired she was put in our backyard with are dog.

They fell in love with each other. They would romp and play like two dogs. The pig out weighs the dog by 150 pounds but she was extremely gentle with him. There was one time she bit him a little too hard, he yelped and she immediately hung her head. She seemed to know that she had hurt him.

I felt so bad when she had to go back to her pen, but my yard couldn't take it anymore. She rooted up the yard and ate my strawberry plants. I was looking forward to those luscious red berries this summer.

Best friends!


This was our first week back to school after our Christmas break. I was ready for the kids to drag their feet. I was really prepared for our school day to take twice as long, but I was pleasantly surprised! We actually finished before lunch! I guess we needed a little break to rejuvenate our selves.



The Homeschool Mother's Journal/ Weekly Wrap-Up

In my life this week.....We are enjoying the last week of Christmas decorations. After Sunday, the Baptism of our Lord, we will begin the process of taking the decorations down. We will start with the outdoor lights since we are going to have temperatures in the high 60"s. I am super excited. Before Christmas, I started watching what I ate and after the New Year I took all gluten out of my diet. I was diagnosed 2 years ago with Celiac disease but have been really bad at sticking with. I did really well at first but then I started gaining weight and gave it up. So this week, I hit the 8 pound mark of my weight loss. I am sticking with fresh fruits, fresh veggies and lean meats. I cut out all the convenient gluten-free foods you find in the store. I find them to be high in calorie. My goal is to lose 25 more pounds. To help track my progress I am using My Fitness Pal. It's a free weight loss site.

In our home school week.....We started back to school this week. Our first two days were great and went off without a hitch. We started studying owls, Pocahontas and Jamestown, and the state of Pennsylvania. On Wednesday, we headed to the library to get the books we needed for school. We then went to violin lessons for Princess P.  I am so proud how well she is doing. Her teacher is a wonderful older lady(she's old enough to be my grandmother) that loves the children. After violin lessons, we headed to a friend's house to have fun with some science experiments. I forgot my camera to record the experiments. After their science class, the kids had a blast just playing and hanging out. It's always a good day when kids can play with their friends and mama can have a chat with a friend too. Thursday and Friday were normal school days. We worked on our Pennsylvania lap book, painted and carved clay. What a wonderful way to end the week.

What the kids are reading....Lego Man is reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series on his own.

and Princess P is reading the Annie and Snowball series written by Cynthia Rylant.

What I am Reading.......Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

What I am working on.....Princess P received a sewing machine for Christmas from her grandpa. She was super excited. So this week, we started working on the skirts she wanted to make. We went to the fabric store last week so we had everything we needed. I am trying to finish up a knit scarf for Princess P and a good friend. I hope I finish them next week. I am hoping to attempt a more difficult knitting project next. So far I have done a scarf for Princess P  and her doll last year. I do have to do a scarf for my niece's dolls too. She ask when she was over for Christmas.

What I am praying for......I am praying for a more peaceful year. Last year was filled with so much uncertainty. I just want a calm year that goes smoothly. No major illnesses, no job loss, no fear, and no drama.

Linked to Homeschool  Mothers Journal, Weekly Wrap-UpLive and Learn7 Quick Takes, and Friendship Friday

Entering into Ordinary Time

This past Sunday, Father talked about how the Baptism of the Lord marked the end of the Christmas season for us.

After all this time preparing and waiting for the birth of Jesus, the season has finally ended.

We are heading into the Ordinary Time. There are no songs about waiting for ordinary time, no grand celebrations, and no decorations to brighten up our homes. It's just ordinary time.

Ordinary Time..... Is there such a thing? Father pointed out that there really isn't. Ordinary time is when we truly live our lives. Our days are filled with joy, pain, hope, fear, happiness and sadness. We pass our days with work and play. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and births. We witness illness and death.

As I pause and look at my life during this ordinary time, I am filled with everyday memories.

Scrapped knees, colds, and ear infections,

giggles of happiness, tears of pain,

babies first steps, their first word,

seeing a heartbeat on a tiny screen,

the first smile,

a crying baby,

mispronounced words,


the joy of reading a book all by themselves,

a loose tooth,

a messy house filled with  toys,

birthday celebrations that have flown by too fast,

a First Communion,

the birth of kittens,

a boy catching a pig, a pig getting loose,

making paper turkeys, cutting out paper snowflakes,

splashing in a pool,

an old dog passing and a new puppy bringing smiles.

When we stop to focus on all the little gifts we experience in this life, we can begin to truly see how blessed we are.

Ours days don't need to be filled with parties, gifts,and grand adventures.

It's the small, every day events that make our lives special. They are what makes our lives different from others. They shape us.

I am thankful for all the amazing gifts God has blessed me with.

Enjoy living in the Ordinary Time!

counting 1000 gifts in 2013.....

~snow frosted trees

~hearing please and thank you

~ woodpeckers chasing each other around a tree


~homemade mac and cheese

~hugs and kisses
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