Friday, August 28, 2009

Blood Money movie trailer

The movie Blood Money is due to be completed later this month. The director is making an effort to garner enough public interest to be able to present it in theaters. Please distribute the link to the trailer on YouTube to spread the word.

(Don't forget to turn off my music on the left hand column of this blog if you choose watch this video on my site)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My version of the pretend checkbook...


I posted yesterday about a fun project I found on the Just Something I Made blog. I printed out the pretend check template (enough for 3 checkbooks) and used navy cardstock for the back. Instead of trimming the backing to stop at the bottom of the checks, I folded it to cover the top of the checks and insert into the top edge to close. (In my photo you can see 2 closed checkbooks behind the open one)

Another change I made was to add a ledger on the inside flap of my extended cover. I was showing my husband the newly completed books and telling him how fun it will be for the kids to practice writing them. He looked very wise and said, "I suppose. But everyone can write in a checkbook...Balancing them is the problem! They should have a ledger with those checks." He's right, as usual!

I cut pages out of one of our adult ledgers (the kind you get free with your checkbooks or upon request at your bank) and taped them in. I used tape instead of glue so that I could remove it easily if we needed to add more pages.

I'm considering having them earn their initial balance through extra chores and then "spend" what they earn on privileges such as watching a DVD or time on the computer just to add a little meat to the game.

UPDATE: Cookie requested that instead of earning "things" or games that she can earn time alone with me! So happy to oblige:)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How to Make a Pretend Checkbook



I found a great tutorial and free template today for making a pretend checkbook. The Just Something I Made blog by Cathe Holden is full of beautiful treasures and this is one project that I had to try right away. I loved playing bank and store as a little girl and used to design my own play checks to use. Cathe's template design is darling and so authentic looking that I know all the children in my family are going to love this goodie.

See the tutorial and template here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fast Food Virtue...


As we prepare to begin another school year, we also begin to field numerous questions about our choice to homeschool our kids. Although homeschooling has become much more common in the past decade, many people are still confounded by our choice. We find ourselves in many conversations about the motivations behind our choice and the nitty gritty details of daily life in our homeschool. The conversations very often end up with the inquisitor saying some version of the following:

"Wow...You guys are amazing. You must have a great deal of patience. I am NOT a patient person and could never do it."

The first thing that pops into my mind every single time is: I'M not a patient person either! I'm definitely a "I want patience and I want it NOW" kind of person. It is a very hard truth that I have learned over the last few years. From my earliest childhood I wanted to teach children and until quite recently (when my children grew in number and passed toddlerhood) fancied myself a very patient person.

The reality is that patience truly is a virtue. That means that it is difficult. Not something that we are born with but something that must be cultivated and born of hard work and repeated failures. It is not a fast food virtue. Everyone is patient when the road is smooth and our companions are pleasant. But a person of character is patient even when the road is rough. To say "I am not a patient person" implies that our characters are set in stone; unchangeable. But the fact remains that we do have the ability to control our actions and responses to those we meet everyday. Consider the following:

The working woman who believes she is "not patient" enough to teach her children is patient enough to refrain from screaming at, attacking, or otherwise acting inappropriately toward a chronically irritating boss, co-worker or client. She chooses to control her actions in order to maintain a decent and peaceful working environment (and to avoid being fired or arrested). If she's a Christian, she does it to be a credible witness and primarily, to love others for Jesus' sake. Is it true that nature has robbed her of the same measure of control with her children?

I have recently begun to examine my own use of such phrases. I have been guilty of saying "I'm not a patient person". I said it to my husband within the last week at least twice. What I really mean when I say such a thing is that I have not been in the habit of cultivating the virtue of patience. It is the reason that I will patiently instruct one of my volleyball players when they make a mistake but will issue a biting rebuke to one of my own children for a similar mistake at a different time.

It is a choice I make. It is a rung on the ladder of sanctity. I confess that I have been stuck on that particular rung for quite some time and am only now beginning to take full responsibility for my words and actions. I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me...And patience is no exception.

The first step on my journey to cultivate the virtue of patience is to change my language. "I'm not a patient person" has become: "I struggle with the virtue of patience but I am willing to work at it. I am able to control my behavior through exercise of the will and by the grace of God through prayer and the Sacraments."

The next step is to take positive action. I have committed myself to a more frequent reception of the Sacramental graces of Confession. At the advice of my confessor, I have set aside prayer time to imagine myself as a saint; how would I act? What words would I choose? I have used this image against which to weigh my actions. I can "pretend" to be patient even when I am a blazing inferno inside. It is my prayer that my heart and hands will eventually agree.

The final step is to acknowledge my failure with humility and be ready to begin again every day...every hour...every minute.

Perfection is not a prerequisite of motherhood or homeschooling. If you are just undertaking either journey, you will find that they have the uncomfortable (but highly profitable) affect of highlighting your weaknesses. It is your path to holiness...your refining fire. I am reminded perpetually that I am not strong enough for this demanding vocation. But I have the commission, the desire to make it work, and I have a God of mercy who is infinitely patient with me!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pleasantly Surprised by 'Expelled'...



I was not prepared to enjoy this movie. My husband brought it home from the library and it sat and sat and sat in the drawer because I had no interest in using my precious spare time to watch it. So he renewed it again and again and again until one day I was tired enough to say: "Go ahead and play it; I'll just use the time to knit something."

"Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" is well done and engaging. Ben Stein does a phenomenal job with this production. I thought it would be boring at best and even worse, suspected it might be a bit goofy. I was wrong.

Watch the trailer here and then order it from your library.

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