Saturday, June 30, 2007

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thursday Dinner

All seven best here for dinner.
Happy Mum!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Morning By Morning

This is an author I wish I found earlier in my homeschooling experience. Paula Penn-Nabrit and her husband C. Madison Nabrit homeschooled their 3 African-American sons, when homeschooling was still new. All were accepted at Ivy League schools as was their goal. Her writing is clear, and enjoyable while being a challenge.
Her plan for her sons' education is the most completely thought out and intelligent plan I have ever seen. They were at odds with most African Americans at the time because achieving access to higher quality public education was hard-earned. At odds with their family who had sacrificed so they would have education at an Ivy League school and because C. Madison's great uncle helped argue Brown vs. Board of Education with Thurgood Marshall. At odds with the home school community because they worked with tutors for several classes every year. At odds with their sons who never did admit to liking homeschooling and made their dislike well known to any who would listen.
Unfortunately the book has been pigeon-holed as a book for African-American's making it hard to find. Having homeschooled for over a decade now, though not at the High School level, I believe she speaks to all mothers. Every decision she and her husband made was base on their commitment to these 3 young men, given to them by God. They were brutally honest with themselves about their, and their sons', strengths and weaknesses. For example, while she appreciates the strength of un-schooling, its emphasis on interest-led learning, she knew it was not possible for her sons.
The title is linked to her current website and the book jacket lists the site, still operating, where they first spoke of their experience.
This will challenge all educators to look for holistic ways to grow each child to their fullest potential. It will also challenge all white Americans to look more closely at the things they say and do that are racist. I certainly have never thought of myself that way and yet now I see ways I have been separate, insensitive. While not racist I have not been as inviting, open and sensitive as I need to be.

A Catholic Mom in Hawaii: John Paul II - Cause for Beatification and Canonization

A Catholic Mom in Hawaii: John Paul II - Cause for Beatification and Canonization

Here is how to donate to the cause and receive a prayer card reminder to pray for the cause with a relic of John Paul II.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

We inturrupt this Blog to bring you a Milestone!

My son Jeff is off to college as we speak. (No Mom isn't going to drop him off and cry in front of everyone.Dad is.)

Here he is with a car load of clothes, food, music, and all the posters he wants to hang that he never even considered trying to hang at our house. Mom made sure he had a First Aid Kit, Tylenol, paper towels etc.

Of course the summer program is 5 days a week so he'll be home Thursday night till Sunday. And he's keeping his weekend job at the local bakery. At least until it puts a crimp in his social life.

This was graduation day for the Purple Knights. Steve-O is on the right and is going to UMass for Engineering. Mitch is in the background. Very proud of him. After 2 devastating years of his father's illness and death he put his life back on track, holds down a job and is only 1 class away from graduating.

Congratulations Jeffers! You are a funny, handsome, smart, creative, laid back, hard working, fabulous person. I am proud to call you my son.
Love always and in all ways, Mum

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Out the door.

Every day my Frenchmen need to send me on one errand or another. So off I go to Harry’s. The store is actually called Highland Hardware. Highland is the name of this neighborhood built ‘high’ above the ‘flats’ (apartments and mills downtown.) Its mostly very old but smaller Victorians. We are not far from the Mansions though.
Officer Harry Sr. ran it with his wife when I was a kid. Dad had an account. Every Dad had one. In the middle of a project a man could easily send a kid to pick up what was needed and just pay the tab once a week or month. If your Dad was doing well he might even send you there when your bike needed work.

Now Harry Jr. runs the store and a man I went to grammar school with works on bikes. I’m not a kid, by any stretch, but in I go everyday. 4 times one day!
They like to hear the update.
I always see someone I know.
It’s the kind of store that makes this city feel small town.
I love this place.
Holyoke: Best City by a Dam Site.

My kiddo’s are still doing well at their vacation homes. I heard about frogs and fish and eels and tents and cribbage matches and baseball and Crepes Suzette and homemade Mac N Cheese and…..My teens are getting anxious to go to their summer programs.
Jeff and I are ready for bed.
Very. Ready.


Floors in a house as old as ours have interesting dips and rolls. The foot wide planks were not exactly lovely antiques. Originally over 1 inch thick they had worn to less than a quarter inch in some places. Wear, water, cats, everything had taken its toll. After building the pantry and doorway areas up to the same level as the rest of the kitchen, (well almost) They needed to know how much plywood they had. (They also needed to use the plywood scraps.) So they precut, did a dry fit, and gave me a minute alone to take these pictures. Then they pulled it out to start the next task. Friday we will start sanding drywall, do the second coat then go to his shop to deal with cabinets getting sanded, primed and painted. Or do some work here on the wood cabinets, the door being refinished, cleaning, who knows!

Thursday morning --we mud the dry wall today.

Here we are ready to start putting mud and tape up. We have the room almost flat and covered enough that I could vacuum the basement below and actually wash clothes.

Steve is going to keep painting cabinets while we do this part.

This is the L that will be set up for breakfast, lunch, and baking and will face the dining room door.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What a great Day 2!!!

Note to all: Put 2 Frenchmen in a room with tools and just watch the dust fly! Dear Husband is working with our friend Steve. Not many contractors will let you work side by side with them to save money and no, Steve won't with just anybody. But these two are amazing. Today they framed and set the ceiling including hanging the recessed lighting. Plus fixed the holes in the floor. Plus most of the electrical.

Here is the view from that back exit door.

Only change is Steve is not a fan of trying to save the tin ceiling. I would have re-purposed it as the back splash but apparently they don't come down well.

My kiddos are doing well. I talked to them all. David and Sarah found lots of shells and fish parts on the beach. Leslie napped for Gramma.
Marie and Zoe might get to sleep outside in a tent tomorrow!

Now to rest for tomorrow!!!!

After Day One

Well today we start to build. Yesterday we tore everything out and it was great!!! The ladder is where the sink was--- yes there is a hole in the floor. Behind that there was a pantry wall but now its all open.
it feels like a big room but of course once we add the cabinets it will shrink back down.
Last night we did the second Home Depot run. First batch of wood, insulation and we bought the lights.

Also: Hello to Leslie and Sarah and David out at the Cape with Grandma and Grandpa! I'm so glad you are having fun and I'm very proud of my Leslie Lou--- I love you!!!
Keep helping, don't bring all the sand in the house!!! and bring home a pretty shell for me.
Hello to Marie and Zoe at their Auntie and Uncle's in New Jersey. Hope you are being good. Ask Auntie where to stand when you are on the phone so I can hear you good tonight!!!

Love to all! Mum ( and Dad too!) of the best 7!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Before- Our Kitchen remodel.

This is the view from door number 1, the exit to the back yard and my table, which, no, you can't sit at. It held my coffee pot, crock pot, and utensil carousel. It hid the trash and recycling. It was blocked by the Microwave shelf. The fridge and portable dishwasher are on the left between the door to the Dining room and the door to the study. In front of you is the door to the pantry and the sink and only cabinets.

This is the view from the study. The cluttered counter is the one by the sink. You can see the window to the back yard the stove which is dying and the table in the corner. On the right is the dish washer.
the table BTW is a rock maple beauty my husband rescue from a basement. Its low enough for short little me to knead bread, (a passion) on the Formica insert.

This is just outside that door. You can see the pantry.

to the left of the pantry is the half bath added where the formal dining room was in this Victorian. If you look through those cabinets you can see the cook finding her spices! Or from the pantry, she can see you sit on the John! Its lovely! Not bad storage although it isn't square.

What you may notice is the kitchen has 5 doors: study, pantry, cellar, exit and dining room. There are 2 windows, one in the pantry. No exhaust fan, A ceiling fan and an antique in the pantry. The vinyl in the kitchen is shot. The Wainscoting was the 70's solution to old plaster. Unfortunately when this was put in they didn't do a good job on the stain and finish and made poor choices on nail size and quantity so the wood is split in many places.

The plan:
No more pantry- spin the sink 90 degrees against that wall eliminating the door to the pantry and allowing air and light to flow through the space.

Close study door off. creates 14 feet of wall space for cabinets and eliminates the circular traffic flow of kids under foot.

Put in Red Metal cabinets rescued from demolition and painted by a friend.

Put in textured gray laminate counters everywhere-- except for a great chunk of granite from the same salvage place: The Restore.

White industrial flooring with layers of poly coatings.

Flat white ceiling, recessed lighting, exhaust fan.-- for a clean look.

Save the tin ceiling from the pantry to make the back splashes.

Let my artist daughter go nuts on the door to the basement!

Repaint my glass front wood cabinet in black lacquer for my Crystal!

Have a breakfast area, baking area, phone and music stand, and a shelf for each persons 'stuff'

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Its official!!!! My dear FIL took three of my kids this morning off to the Cape, including the 3 year old!! (He doesn't know it but he's up for Sainthood in my book) So we spent an hour and a half already moving stuff out of the kitchen! I don't have boxes for some things but the food had shelves to go on, the Microwave and coffee maker just need an extension cord, decorations are off the wall.
Progress!! A real, cleanable, countertopped, storage galore kitchen soon!

I may even cook again.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007


This is one of the links from this month's Catholic Carnival (link always at the bottom of my blog) and is really wonderful. Karen Marie has included St. Justin's actual Apology (as in explaination-not I'm sorry) on the Eucharist. As far in the past as this was his words are clear, comprehensive and not beyond the scope of the ordinary, non-theologian Catholic.

This month's Carnival is full of such rich writing.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pray for us tonight- Update!

Last Monday's meeting went very well. It was productive and energetic. We are working on our minutes then we each have a task to complete before our next meeting July 9th.

This will really happen!

Tonight June 11, 2007 is the first planning meeting of Western Mass Catholic Homeschoolers for our Catholic Family Resources Conference. Many amazing God-incidences have happened in the last 2 weeks that tell us this is really His will. Its 7pm at my home

Look at my link on the right or

We really hope to see you there. Mary B

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Widgets can be Catholic?

Esther said...
Good quote Mary. BTW, what is a Catholic widget?
June 9, 2007 3:08 PM

A widget is any of those HTML codes like the one that lists the Catholic Moms Online blogroll. One of my purposes in this blog was to learn enough about the computer to se up a public website for our local home school support group. Western Mass Catholic Homeschoolers. I publish their newsletter The Catholic Cantor. I searched for 'Catholic' ones.

There are quite too few! I did find the readings for the day which brings you to a very nice site. I found a Saint of the Day that did not work for me. I actually was able to contact the young man who created it. He couldn't solve my problem but I find out he was a homeschool Graduate.
Then I found the Catholic Tidbits one that brings up random quotes and Latin phrases. I often have no clue how any of them could be related to the Church but its been very funny as it was the first day...... click here.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Look Quick

My weird little Catholic widget actually brought up a nice quote from Mother Theresa:
Go to the poor with a smile. If you don't go wth Love why go at all?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Busy busy busy!!! Update!!!

Ok the last day of school should not be quite this crazy but I'm in my 'can't slow down' mode.

#1 School Done (can you hear the cheering?)
#2 Paperwork for school system ready to go (one more signature please, Love)
#3 Proposal to update the city's paperwork in the mail after a fabulous conversation with the new contact.
#4 Actually passed on the Prayer chain--- that's a major feat, Blessed I'm sure is the woman before me who offers such prayerful advice when this middle aged woman feels like a newbie.
#5 Sweet DH calmed my teen daughter, when my efforts only infuriated and frustrated her. Poor thing can be too much like me. Can't save her from being my kid.
#6 Read 2 Apologetics Books to review, which I will, Very soon.

#7 and #1 Please visit:
Danielle Bean author of Mom to Mom Day to Day

From her site:
St. Gianna Maternity Home in Warsaw, ND is a charitable cause whose mission is sure to speak to your heart. St. Gianna Home is a 9,000 square foot home that welcomes women in crisis pregnancies (regardless of faith), provides them with a safe, secure environment in which to live, and gives them access to the medical, educational, and professional services they need to choose life for their babies. I can't think of a more positively pro-life ministry than that. Check out their website and I am sure you will be as impressed as I am.”

For every $5 you donate through her sites link you receive a chance at 1 of 44 fabulous donated prizes. And you help a remarkable home for Moms in crisis.

Update: 24 hours later they have raised $3300. Wow!!!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Please pray for their souls

Date: 2007-06-03
Priest and 3 Deacons Slain in Mosul
MOSUL, Iraq, JUNE 3, 2007 ( A Chaldean priest and three deacons were shot and killed after Sunday Mass in front of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Mosul. identified the priest as Father Ragheed Ganni, 34, the pastor of Holy Spirit, located in the Nur district of the northern Iraqi city. Sources told AsiaNews that the bodies lay abandoned on the street today because no one dared to go and recover them, given the tension of the situation. The news agency reported that attempts on Father Ragheed's life have been made before, and that the Church of the Holy Spirit had been attacked and bombed in previous years, and again a few months ago.


In Minesota there is a large Catholic Homeschool Conference. Minesota Mom covered it quite well and I would love to have heard their speakers. It gives me hope ours could really be something



Sunday, June 3, 2007

Praise the Holy Trinity!

Undivided Unity!
Holy God
Mighty God
God Immortal Be Adored!

How great a God that knows we need a Father, Creator yes, but also a reachable, personal, loving, and challenging authority. A reason to be trying, a reason to trust that its OK not to be complete yet.
He knows we need a brother. This week was full of evidence that a big brother is a good thing. (Not that I mind being the oldest) I need my brother Jesus to guide, chide, encourage, teach, and mostly to lean on at the end of the day.
Then He sends His Holy Spirit, His very Essence and Love to Fill us, Guide us and, if we are truly cooperating with God's Grace, to literally animate us.

As an aside: today is my daughters Baptismal Day

and this afternoon my oldest Graduates from High School. He has been an exceptional person lately and exhausted from the effort, waiting, college application mix ups, and leftover drama from school. He's had 6 years of Public school, 1 of Catholic and 5 at Home. Last year he spent the summer at college. He's discovered that you can learn anywhere. I love him and pray for the best for him in college-which he starts at the end of the month. He'll be studying Theater Arts hoping to design lighting for stage productions. He may also minor in Mass Communications. .