Thursday, December 20, 2012

Salvation Army: Bells for Abortion?


Ring-a-ling-a-ling goes the bell as stalwart souls stand in the cold, next to the familiar red kettle beseeching passersby to give alms every Advent. Looking into their faces you can see kindness and dedication to a cause in which they fervently believe. Their expression is joyful and they banter with anyone who is willing to donate to their cause – the Salvation Army (SA). Yet there is, as Paul Harvey would say, ‘the rest of the story’. Are we really free to sacrificially give and then go merrily on our way with a placated heart and soul? Not so fast!

As with any aspect of our Christian lives, it behooves us to become well catechized before we act. When we donate to a large organization it isn’t the same type of faithful giving as giving the man on the street corner your last $20 because he is hungry. That act is done out of faith – on an individual basis. Sure, you don’t know this man and he could take your gift and buy himself a bottle of cheap bourbon – but the onus is on him because you have given out of true charity and a clear conscience. When it comes to organizations, however, we have the ability – and duty – to delve a bit deeper into the mission and moral standing of the recipient. There are pertinent questions to be answered before a wholesale submission of a gift is given.

Click the link to read Salvation Army: Bells for Abortion? in its entirety.


See more pro-life graphics by Designs by Birgit by clicking here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Advent – Don’t Rush! It’s not Christmas Yet!


It’s not Christmas!


A friend recently bemoaned her inability to ‘get into the Christmas spirit’. Her discomfiture was painfully evident and brought to mind the necessity of a properly observed Advent. We humans have been an impatient bunch from the very beginning – always looking for a shortcut. In fact, throughout the ages the virtue of patience has had a rough ride. Holy Scripture is filled with admonishments for patience thus demonstrating that we are not alone in our lack of it. I don’t think that lack of patience is ever more evident to me than when Christmas is hustled into the forefront all too soon. This year appears to have been the worst in memory. Even before all of the Halloween merchandise had been marked down for clearance, the Christmas d├ęcor and songs began. What a dizzying debacle it was! Ghosts, witches, Pilgrims and turkeys joined Santa and Christmas ornaments on store shelves – all at the same time.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Advent - a Time of Waiting Craft

Happy Advent!

A pet peeve of mine during the season of Advent (and before), is that the world we live in doesn't like to wait. Patience is not a virtue that gets a lot of notice. How then, are we to teach our little ones about the benefit of waiting? How can we demonstrate that sometimes the sweetness of the attained goal is intensified by preparation and patience?

This really home with me on a trip to a local department store. Here it was, barely October, and yet Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas were keeping company on the shelves! My resolve to make Advent relevant in the eyes of my family was solidified that day. So here we are, the first of December, and I'm hoping to share this simple little project to spread the word - it's not Christmas!


Let's resolve to sweeten this beautiful yet low key and penitent season. After all, good things come to those who wait!

This is one of those projects that has something for everyone. The adults have control of the overall look achieved - so those who tend to be OCD (ahem, me) can micro manage as much as we like. Even the youngest child can finger paint and older ones can help at their own level, so no one is excluded. So let's get started.


MATERIALS

Wooden clothes pins
Finger paints
Paint brushes
Small paper plates
Sharpies: black and silver
Glitter
Journey to Bethlehem picture
Nativity picture
Mod Podge - I used glossy
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Pipe cleaners in matching or accent colors



READY to CRAFT

Count out the required number of clothes pins and clip them to one of the paper plates, adjusting spacing as evenly as possible.

Using the silver Sharpie, color the gaps between the clothes pins - filling them in completely after marking the spaces. Next, use the black Sharpie to number the spaces.


Let the kids paint the clothes pins in your predetermined colors. We chose red, green, and yellow because they appeal to the younger set to which I am catering. With older kids I would have gone with white and yellow with silver and gold accents or perhaps the liturgical color of purple.

While allowing the clothes pins to dry you can begin to work on the art.

The artwork can be something that you have available or you can do what I did and Google 'Nativity' and 'Journey to Bethlehem' for suitable pictures. I went with a black and white print for the journey to drive home that Advent is a low key season.

Print out your art and trace a circle the size of the *inside* of your paper plate. Carefully cut out and glue to the bottom of the paper plates.


After the glue has dried, paint a top coat of Mod Podge over the entire picture(s) - all the way out to the edge of the paper plate.



I waited for the first coat to dry (just a few minutes) and then applied a second, heavier coat for added sheen.

While the second coat was still wet, I sprinkled glitter over the entire paper plate - picture, edge and all. Set aside and allow to dry.

Now comes the individualized part. Come up with a list of people or intentions for prayer. This is something that should be done as a family so that everyone can offer ideas. You will need as many petitions as you have clothes pins. Write them on one side of the clothes pins using the black Sharpie.

On the other side of the clothes pin, write an activity. It can be drinking cocoa, coloring a picture and mailing it to someone lonely, reserving pennies to give at Mass or any other meaningful or fun activity your family members can come up with.

When you have finished writing on both sides of the clothes pins you can add a top coat of Mod Podge and allow the kids to sprinkle glitter for an added sparkle. Now it's time for assembly.

NOW IT'S COMING TOGETHER

Gather all of your components and begin assembly.

Take a pipe cleaner and fold in half, then twist the ends to form a loop. This will become your hanger. Using hot glue attach to the top of one of the paper plates on the *inside*. Now place the paper plates together - pictures out - and run a bead of hot glue all around their circumference, joining them together. While the hot glue is still sticky, place a pipe cleaner into the glue to fill in the gap making sure that your hanging loop remains in the proper position.

ALL SET AND READY TO BEGIN THE COUNT DOWN

Each day you will pin a clothes pin onto the appropriate number. The person or petition written on it will become your prayer focus for that day. The activity on the other side is what you will do for that day's Advent observance. In this way you will not only count down until the long awaited feast of Christmas comes, but you will be actively participating in a meaningful observance of Advent.

Happy Advent - hope it's holy!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Life Smiles Sunday - No. 8

Welcome to Life Smiles Sunday. Every week I will share one of my Designs by Birgit pro-life posters with you. They are to be shared freely as long as you give credit where credit is due by leaving my 'signature' intact. I hope you have a blessed Lord's Day!




Last week's Life Smiles Sunday - No. 7

Remember that all of my Life Smiles posters can be found on my Designs by Birgit Facebook page and on the 
Designs by Birgit website.

Monday, October 15, 2012

This Election is So Important - Don't Dismiss Your Faithful Citizenship

As a whole, elections are always contentious - especially in some circles. Emotions run high and things are said - things that perhaps don't fit into polite society. When faced with the political cycles that are inevitable, it's best to keep this in mind. We are also presented with a great opportunity to ponder words before they are spoken, to pray for guidance for what is right instead of fueling the need to be right, and to look deeply into the needs of the most vulnerable instead of our own selfish needs.

2012 is certainly no different. We are at a crossroads - as a nation, as a people, and as children of God. We face what is arguably the most important election of our lifetime - even for those of quite some advanced age. Old loyalties must be laid aside and clear thinking must be fostered. We must do our best to think with the mind of God - with goodness, with grace, and with the weight of heavy responsibility. I noted in a previous post that there is serious deception going on. Our present president and vice-president are not playing in a fair manner. This fact has been brought to light over and over again - even to the point of a reprimand from the USCCB.

As Catholic Christians it behooves us to look at the priorities taught by Holy Mother Church. While there are many important-sounding issues, we are clearly instructed that some issues far outweigh others. As Catholics (or other Christians) we are obligated to process information with a godly mindset. The top priorities deal with intrinsic evils - evils so vile that the actions that carry them cannot be excused under any conditions. At the upper levels of this list lies the Right to Life. Without life, no other right matters - no other issue compares. While there might be legitimate, moral discourse and disagreement concerning other issues such as care of the poor or just war or the death penalty, there can be only one position when it comes to abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, cloning or the godly model of marriage - one man and one woman.

As is persistent in these times, however, there are citizens who are spending much time pontificating about the faults they find with one party (Republican) while totally ignoring the horrific flaws in the other (Democrat). The Democrat party sanctions all of the intrinsic evils listed above while they pander to those who they keep beholden to them from a welfare state. On the other had, the Republican platform is free of any semblance of intrinsic evil - a bishop recently stated just this fact. You might disagree with a Republican candidate about war or poverty, but again, the answers to these issues are morally debatable among the people of God.

I am dismayed to note that there are Catholics out there besmirching others and casting dispersion and confusion. Might I suggest that they peruse the Catechism of the Catholic Church in order to establish a foundation of the most basic teachings that they are denying and betraying - thus leading fellow citizens down a path of sin? A Catholic or other Christian, simply cannot vote for the Obama administration. To do so would go against fundamental teachings of Jesus Christ Himself. As bishop Paprocki recently wrote,

 “...a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.”  
I've also written a post with extensive references to the CCC. You can find it on the Catholic Sistas blog here. If you're still not convinced, simply begin reading the CCC. The answers are all there! And unlike other sources of information, the content cannot be disputed because the writings contained therein stem from Scripture, Church Fathers, and other Sacred Texts. God bless, and may righteousness win out!


Are you frustrated that some of your brethren seem to have a misunderstanding of what it means to be a Faithful Citizen? Got Questions? Need sources?

Promulgated by Blessed John Paul II, the CCC draws on scripture as well as works of the Church Fathers and other official Church documents to illustrate the Four Pillars of the Catholic Faith. In it you will find the richness of our faith and a faithful guide to Catholic Christian living. It is a great go-to source of education on how to approach our lives and such issues as guiding our vote.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Life Smiles Sunday - No. 7

Welcome to Life Smiles Sunday. Every week I will share one of my Designs by Birgit pro-life posters with you. They are to be shared freely as long as you give credit where credit is due by leaving my 'signature' intact. I hope you have a blessed Lord's Day!



Last week's Life Smiles Sunday - No.6 

Remember that all of my Life Smiles posters can be found on my Designs by Birgit Facebook page and on the 

Friday, October 12, 2012

More Than Passionate Efforts: We Need Divine Intervention

I had anticipated last night's vice-presidential debate with glee. After all, the pressure is certainly less than with the presidential debates and I knew that Joe would just be Joe and that Ryan was strong on the issues at hand. I made all of the customary jokes, 'bring on the pop corn, it's gonna be quite the show'. And then I settled into my favorite, over-sized chair to watch and yell at the TV (with hubby) and pontificate on Facebook with all of my very funny, clever friends. I was not disappointed. It was the circus we all knew it would be. Biden with his buffoonery and enameled, condescending smile was just as inept as I'd anticipated. His many lies elicited a firm response even from the USCCB. The comments on my wall often made me LOL. The massive number of interruptions by both the vice-president and the moderator were more frequent than even I had though possible. There just doesn't seem to be much class any more - manners are a forgotten art.

Then there was Paul Ryan. His smiles were genuine, his math added up, and he maintained a gentlemanly demeanor. The ability to remain unflustered at what was a 2 on 1 debate at times, showcased his style and abilities under pressure. I could see him in the Oval Office some day and surely he would make a great Head of State. While I am high on most of what Ryan said, there was one area that I did not, however, feel complete satisfaction. When he began his reply to the abortion question, he started off as I knew he would - both faith and science confirm his strong pro-life stance from conception on. But then he veered. His statement that a Romney administration would be pro-life with exceptions (rape, incest, life of the mother) dampened by spirits. While I hoped that this was gamesmanship  because he was, after all speaking of the administration (not himself), there's a huge part of me that is so tired of the political slight of hand we are forced to endure. I wonder what Santorum would have said - of course, he wouldn't have made the cut for VP in a Romney administration anyway. I just long for someone who will keep to the straight and narrow...a man willing to be a martyr for his strongly held beliefs.

Having said that, however, I'm still pleased overall. Last night's debate spotlighted huge differences, both in these two men and in the two platforms. Ryan is a prince among men when it comes to today's public servants and I pray that his personal, wholly Catholic beliefs will have a profound influence on a Romney White House. I sincerely doubt that he holds to the exceptions of which he spoke. I say, let them be elected and then groom him for the presidency down the road. Let him influence and pray and sway. My heartfelt prayers go with him as he traverses the winding roads that lead a Dancing With the Stars type of society back to the real world. A world where one day the 'folks' won't worship a leader who shirks his international duties to glad-hand with late night talk show hosts. 

This society is at a cross roads and we are in much more trouble than just the election of the next leader of our dear nation. We are in need of a societal conversion and revolution. This can only be accomplished with the aid of our King of Kings, the Almighty. Without prayer, fasting, and evangelization, our most passionate efforts will be in vain. What are your thoughts? How can we join together and be a part of the conversion of our country?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The PINK Month - a Year in Review

October is, among other things, noted for Respect Life Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you've been following me or my daughter, Erika, you will know that we are intimately familiar with both topics. As a reflection of the past year of blogging, I will share links to some of our more popular posts about Life and Cancer. If you take anything useful from these testimonies of ours, we encourage you to share with others. Thank you!




Pink Betrayal  (Pro-LIFE Alternatives to Komen)

I'm a cancer survivor. It's a point of pride for me - and a badge of honor. All of the scars I bear, both physical and mental, were earned in hand to hand combat with an evil monster of a disease. This monster took my grandmother at 42, my mother at 58 and tried to take both my 28 year old daughter and her unborn child in 2009! Yet I, and many others like me, am not willing to find treatments or a cure at the cost of others' lives.


Bald, Pregnant, and Living 

 "You have breast cancer," the surgeon deadpanned. I glanced at my husband & then my mom, and waited for the punch-line. It never came -- the doctor was deadly serious. He had just performed a biopsy (that amounted to a lumpectomy) with me wide awake and all-too-aware of the hole dug into my left arm-pit/breast area to remove the 2.5 cm tumor. The lack of anesthetic was due to my other condition: I was 20 weeks pregnant with my 6th, but only 2nd live, child (the other 4 pregnancies ended at various stages as miscarriages). I was only 28 years old -- 20 years younger than my mother at her diagnosis.



Lady Ribbon's Entry into our Lives 

How a Catholic Pro-life, Breast Cancer, Rosary image came into being. We are Taking Back the PINK from Komen and other organizations who donate money to Planned Parenthood and support embryonic stem cell research. We ask that you, too, 'Think Before You PINK'!




Abortion Kills Children: the Language of the Pro-life Movement 

What are some of the ways pro-life advocates go about their mission of winning hearts, minds and souls for Life? There is a plethora of tactics from soft sell to graphic. What's your take?






When Pro-Life Except Really Happens 

What happens when a 14 year old rape victim becomes pregnant? Is abortion the answer or is there some sort of saving grace for all involved? This was my intimate, horrific introduction into the world of life.





Sunday, October 7, 2012

Life Smiles Sunday - No. 6

Welcome to Life Smiles Sunday. Every week I will share one of my Designs by Birgit pro-life posters with you. They are to be shared freely as long as you give credit where credit is due by leaving my 'signature' intact. I hope you have a blessed Lord's Day!




Last week's Life Smiles Sunday - No. 5

Remember that all of my Life Smiles posters can be found on my Designs by Birgit Facebook page and on the 
Designs by Birgit website.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

PINK Betrayal - Think Before You PINK!

I’m a cancer survivor. It’s a point of pride for me – and a badge of honor. All of the scars I bear, both physical and mental, were earned in hand to hand combat with an evil monster of a disease. This monster took my grandmother at 42, my mother at 58 and tried to take both my 28 year old daughter and her unborn child in 2009! I’ve been to the bowels of hell and back. I have fought the good fight and, for the time being, I have won! My enemy surrounds me, though, and he is never far from me. He lurks in the corners of my subconscious and seeks to destroy me – if not by eating away at my body, then by eating away at my life of calm control over who I am. He honors no boundaries and his hunger for victims is unquenchable. This formidable foe never sleeps.

A small consolation of having cancer, however, is a certain sense of ‘belonging’ to a highly specialized Club. It is truly not a Club one would voluntarily join. It is a Club whose ‘hazing’ is difficult to survive – a life or death struggle. But once you are ‘in’ you are a Star! I truly love my brothers and sisters in cancer with a love that is strong, vibrant and true. We cling together. When one suffers, we all suffer. When one dies, a little piece of us dies with them. And when we battle, we battle hand-in-hand, careless and free, with not a single worry of how we look to the ‘outsiders’…we are a family and our numbers make us strong!

For me, however, there is also a very personal pain associated with membership. This pain is one of seclusion and exclusion. It haunts me and propels me at the same time. I want to share my thoughts but often find myself shunned, even by my fellow Club Members. As much as I seek camaraderie and unity, I simply cannot compromise my principles to join the ‘Inner Circle’ of this crowd. I’ve been blackballed…excluded by none other than the Susan G Komen foundation, and others like her*. She proclaims to care about us – the victims, the survivors, the dead. But she is a Wily Lass and has deceptive ways. She talks the talk of healing and of the ‘cure’ but she lies. Her ways are not my ways. Her god is not my God. She worships at the table of public pride and seeks the monetary reward of donations and status.

She also has ungodly bedfellows. Even as she proclaims to fight for a cure she sashays around, hand-in-hand, with Planned Parenthood. PlannedParenthood receives a large share of her ill-gotten gains. Komen is a traitor! How can she support Planned Parenthood and still claim purity of intention? Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortion – a procedure which is known to vastly increase breast cancer – is given donor money even though they do not provide a single mammogram – ANYWHERE in the nation. Planned Parenthood, who cannot and does not help any who are in the clutches of the demon, Cancer!
Pro-lifer people simply can't support Komen until they are morally sound!

Ironically I’ve had the honor of having my name written on a jersey of someone who ‘raced for the cure’. This created an awkward situation for me. The well-meaning friend was chagrined to learn of the Komen/PP connection. I hated to cause her hurt – after all, she was being considerate and ‘honoring’ my daughter and me. But you can’t be squeamish with your principles and so I had to take a stand.

It is heartening that there are more stories exposing this uncomfortable truth out there this year, however, sharing details of this illicit relationship. More people are becoming aware of how blatantly we Cancer Fighters are being used as a commodity. There are now Bishops in the United States who have come through by asking the parishes in their diocese not to promote or donate to Komen. There are stories all around the pro-life community and a medical journal article has recently been published showing the abortion/breast cancer link. This is great news!

One of these days, I will be able to join the Elite Club. I’ll be able to walk or run or race for the cure. That high that one gets from being a participant publicly – a survivor – will be mine! In the mean time, I will continue to cringe reflexively whenever I see the pink bedecked masses. I will feel that feeling of being on the outside looking in. My Membership will be denied and although I will feel the private joy of having come this long seven years with no recurrence, I will not be a part of that particular Pink Parade. I will not sell out, I will not pretend, and I will not foolishly be lead down the Pink Primrose Path when there are evil alliances colluding to take the ‘pink’ money and use it for evil. Until then I will encourage everyone I meet to ‘rethink the PINK’. The wish of myself and others like me is to ‘Take Back the Pink’ for breast cancer research that is morally sound. Won’t you join us in spreading the news?

+ + +

* In addition to donating to Planned Parenthood, the American Cancer Society also supports research using Embryonic Stem Cells. These are cell lines derived from aborted babies. The ACS is therefore also on the illicit organizations list.


Pro-life ways to donate to the Breast Cancer Cause:


Directly to a Cancer Victim: At age 28, Erika was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. She was also 20 weeks pregnant. On October 28, 2011 she is scheduled for her 5th surgery!

The Polycarp Research Institute (TPRI): TPRI performs high-quality medical research & serves as a resource center. Research areas: Abortion – Breast Cancer, Oral Contraceptive – Breast Cancer, Postfertilization effect of Emergency Contraception, Postfertilization effect of Oral Contraceptive.

Breast Cancer Prevention Institute Home Page: Our website is dedicated to providing the most up-to-date and accurate information to medical professionals and the general public on how to prevent breast cancer. Our on-line publications, as well as our list of other resources, are all designed to provide you with knowledge of practical, risk-reduction strategies.

National Breast Cancer Foundation® Official Site – Information, Awareness & Donations: Breast cancer information, facts, statistics, symptoms and treatments, early detection, mammography screenings, and breast cancer research from the official non-profit source offering charity donations and corporate sponsorship opportunities for breast cancer.

PINK Betrayal first appeared on Catholic Sistas

Monday, October 1, 2012

Faithful Citizen: Vote with a Well Formed Conscience


Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen seems to have been a prophet before his time. His quotes appear to resonate even more today than they did during his lifetime. They certainly belie an almost otherworldly understanding of what the citizens of today will be facing when they vote. We would do well to note that Sheen, like the Church herself, had much to share that simply does not go ‘out of style’. As we approach one of the most ominous election cycles I have experienced during my 55 years, it is also good to examine what Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), has to say about our duties of forming a Catholic conscience when it comes to civic responsibility.
The Church teaches us that we, as the people of God, have duties as faithful citizens. Among these is the obligation to vote. This duty is not to be taken lightly, especially since the line in the sand has been so clearly drawn in relation to the five non-negotiable issues presented by our Holy Mother Church, and there have been alarming developments in all five areas during the past several years - especially during the current administration.
Vote according to right or wrong, not majority!
  1. Abortion is being pushed to new and ever deadlier limits – at home and abroad – all the way to infanticide. It was also just announced that 13 schools in New York City will distribute the abortifiaciant Morning After Pill to students without parental knowledge or consent!
  2. Euthanasia: With the dawn of Obamacare, the fears of ‘death panels’ and denial of care loom over the elderly and those with terminal illnesses.
  3. Embryonic Stem Cells: Although there have been no positive outcomes from many years of embryonic stem cell research, this Frankensteinian experimentation is being pushed further and further. Conversely, morally acceptable adult stem cell therapies are curing many illnesses and are a resounding success.
  4. Human Cloning is another form of ‘weird science’ that seems to be a grave temptation for today’s scientific community. As one popular meme states, ‘just because you can, doesn’t mean you should’, yet there are reports of human cloning being eminent if not already occurring.
  5. Gay ‘Marriage’: The homosexual friendly environment of today has also forced its way into our reality. Not only are ‘tolerance’ initiatives making a mockery of the true definition of the word, the explicit lifestyle surrounding sodomy has imposed itself into schoolsGirl Scouts, and even 'Catholic organizations, as well as prime time television shows and movies.
Are we to lose heart in all of this? Heaven forbid. Even surrounded by such perverted justice, let us remember that ‘with God, all things are possible’ and our choices are really quite clear cut when viewed with a well formed conscience. Here’s where the non-negotiable issues make our voting options very clear. These five issues represent areas for which there can be NO COMPROMISE. Unlike other topics such as just war, poverty, the death penalty, and immigration – there is simply no alternative but to completely oppose them!  Under the danger of grave sin - they are to be at the top of our list of issues!
All other issues have two (or more) sides, if you will. Good Catholics can disagree about how to [...]

Faithful Citizen: Vote With a Well-Formed Conscience first appeared on Catholic Sistas

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Life Smiles Sunday - No. 5

Welcome to Life Smiles Sunday. Every week I will share one of my Designs by Birgit pro-life posters with you. They are to be shared freely as long as you give credit where credit is due by leaving my 'signature' intact. I hope you have a blessed Lord's Day!




Last week's Life Smiles Sunday - No. 4

Remember that all of my Life Smiles posters can be found on my Designs by Birgit Facebook page and on the 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Life Smiles Sunday - No. 4

Welcome to Life Smiles Sunday. Every week I will share one of my Designs by Birgit pro-life posters with you. They are to be shared freely as long as you give credit where credit is due by leaving my 'signature' intact. I hope you have a blessed Lord's Day!

Life Smile Number 4:


Last week's Life Smiles Sunday - No. 3

Remember that all of my Life Smiles posters can be found on my Designs by Birgit Facebook page and on the Designs by Birgit website.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Moses and the Burning Bush

We've been studying Moses - from basket on the river through the burning bush - so I created a quick craft for this kids today. I simply drew a bush onto green construction paper and then let them cut out and glue some red and orange construction paper 'flames'. They had a fantastic time, recollected enough to repeat the stories, and wound up with a photo opp!

Adding 'flames' cut out by the kids creates the burning bush.


A simple drawing is all you need.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Homeschool: Number Sentences

 At four and a half, Simon seems more than ready to take on some number sentences. He really enjoys the few addition problems he has learned by heart and so I came up with an idea to feed his hunger for math. Why not create a hands-on number game and give him a visual/tactile way to figure his sums?

A totally unrelated idea I once saw on Pinterest gave me an idea, so I gathered the necessary materials. Today was the first time he used the game and I'm pleased to report that it's a complete hit! He keeps begging to do 'just one more'!


Materials:


  • Decorative glass pieces in clear and color
  • Mod Podge
  • Paint brush
  • Photo paper
  • Color printer


Procedure:


  • Print and cut out numbers roughly the size of your glass pieces. I found these pool balls in Microsoft Word clip art and simply sized them appropriately.
  • Using your paint brush, apply a small amount of Mod Podge to the surface of the underside of your glass pieces and adhere numbers.
  • Apply a coat of Mod Podge over the backside of the numbers and repeat, waiting 20 minutes between coats.


How to Play:

Decide on the structure of your number sentence by choosing two numbers like this: 3 + 5 =

Now ask the child to count out the relevant number of colored glass pieces below both numbers.

The child can now count the glass pieces for the sum and add the correct number at the end!




Sunday, September 16, 2012

Life Smiles Sunday - No. 3

Welcome to Life Smiles Sunday. Every week I will share one of my Designs by Birgit pro-life posters with you. They are to be shared freely as long as you give credit where credit is due by leaving my 'signature' intact. I hope you have a blessed Lord's Day!

Life Smile Number 3:


Last week's Life Smiles Sunday - No. 2

Remember that all of my Life Smiles posters can be found on my Designs by Birgit Facebook page and on the Designs by Birgit website.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Moses Basket Breakfast

I'm homeschooling littles and one of their favorite subjects is Bible Study. Our medium is a book/cassette combo that we play on a retro My First Sony cassette player left over from my bigs. Wee Sing offers a variety of cassette and book combos but this one is probably my favorite because each story is very brief, yet concise. They consist of 1) one page summarizing the story - including the corresponding Bible verse 2) a lovely picture 3) a short little song about the story and 4) a little prayer. So today we heard:

Baby Moses
Wee Sing Musical Bible and Sony
Exodus 2

Look what the princess found in the river! She found a baby boy floating in a basket. She named him Moses. Some men wanted to kill the baby. God sent the princess to find the baby Moses and take care of him.

Song
Silently sleep, baby, safely sleep, for God will take care of you...

Bible Verse
The Lord keeps watch over you. ~Psalm 121:8

My Prayer
Dear God, I love you.
I'm glad you love me,
too. I'm glad you take
good care of me.
Thank you!
Amen

After reading this, we prepared breakfast. A friend had just posted a new idea on Facebook and so we incorporated it into our lesson.

Moses Baskets
1 egg for each serving
1 slice bacon for each servine
Shredded cheddar

Spray a cupcake/muffin tin with Pam. Wrap bacon around the peremeter and cut off the excess to use in another tin. Scramble the number of eggs needed for the required servings and pour into tins. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar and add pepper to taste. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Using a butter knife, loosen and plate. Serve with fresh pear slices.



We decided that the bacon was the 'basket', the egg was Moses, and the shredded cheddar represented the reeds at the river's edge. What did you do for breakfast and school today? I'd love to hear and share!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Life Smiles Sunday - No. 2


Welcome to my new feature - Life Smiles Sunday. Every week I will share one of my Designs by Birgit pro-life posters with you. They are to be shared freely as long as you give credit where credit is due by leaving my 'signature' intact. I hope you have a blessed Lord's Day!

Life Smile Number 2:




Remember that all of my Life Smiles posters can be found on my Designs by Birgit Facebook page and on the Designs by Birgit website.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Homeschool Update: Latest Projects

This old desk used to belong to Mama
Project #1 - Desk Renovation

Materials:

  • Old desk
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Painting sponge or brush
  • Painter's tape
  • Damp rag or tack cloth
  • Colorful baskets



New desk for Simon with nonstick surface - plus supply boxes.






Procedure:
  • Renovate old drawing desk into a new preschool desk.
  • Thoroughly clean and lightly sand the dry erase surface of desk
  • Using a damp rag or tack cloth, wipe away all residue
Chalkboard for learning how to draw shapes.






  • Using painter's tape, cover the wood frame
  • Apply chalkboard paint 3x, allowing to dry 24 hours in-between
  • Use small plastic baskets to accommodate school supplies





The upside? The chalkboard paint provides a slip proof surface for writing. Kids can enjoy hours of drawing or practicing their writing skills. The little plastic baskets hold all of their school supplies - 88 cents at Wal-Mart!

Project #2 - Bottle Cap Stamps (Pinterest inspired)


Materials:
  • Soda bottle caps
  • Foam stickers
  • Wooden dowel rod
  • Hot glue gun
  • Washable poster paint
  • Paint brush
  • Paper plate
  • Paper




  • Cut the dowel rod into 3" lengths and set aside.
  • Attach soda bottle caps to one end of each dowel rod piece with hot glue.
  • Place one foam sticker on the top of each soda bottle cap.



Now your littles are ready to play! Squeeze a bit of washable poster paint onto a paper plate. Allow the child to either dip and stamp or to use a paint brush to apply paint to the sticker/stamp. They will be entertained for a good while enjoying their new skill! Have fun!



Sunday, September 2, 2012

Life Smiles Sunday - No. 1

Today I'm introducing a new feature - Life Smiles Sunday. Every week I will share one of my Designs by Birgit pro-life posters with you. They are to be shared freely as long as you give credit where credit is due by leaving my 'signature' intact. I hope you have a blessed Lord's Day!

Life Smile Number 1:

Remember that all of my Life Smiles posters can be found on my Designs by Birgit Facebook page and on the Designs by Birgit website.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Faces of Cancer - Breast Cancer While Pregnant

In July of 2009 our 28 year old daughter was 20 weeks pregnant with her second successful pregnancy after four miscarriages. She had also just been diagnosed with breast cancer. In the ensuing days of shock and disbelief, she found that local doctors could not present her with an acceptable course of action. By the grace of God she was able to find doctors at MD Anderson who assured her that maintaining her pregnancy and treating her cancer were possible. Her healthy daughter, Rachel, was born on the following Thanksgiving Day.

Fast forward almost three years and Erika found herself nominated to become one of the 'Faces of Cancer' for a local cancer group. Last night a reception was held in honor of the dozen or so survivors and their official 'Faces of Cancer' portraits were unveiled. These photographs will be seen at the local hospital and cancer center.

As an almost 7 year survivor myself, I look at my daughter in awe. She has overcome so much in her 31 years and she has done so with grace. Unfortunately her journey is not over and her 'new normal' has not yet presented itself. Although her cancer is in remission, she suffers from neurological damage resulting from her many cancer related surgeries. I pray that some day she will be pain free and that those who are unkind to her due to her ailments will find it in their hearts to respect her efforts to live as normal a life as is possible.

God bless you, honey, and I pray that your 'new, pain free normal' will come soon.

Below you will find her official 'Faces of Cancer' portrait and the accompanying biographical paragraph.

Faces of Cancer: Erika Vandiver

Life Motto: Life is a bumpy road, but God is the ultimate shock absorber! 

Erika Vandiver was diagnosed at age 28 with Breast Cancer, while 20 weeks pregnant with her second successful pregnancy after multiple miscarriages. She is the 5th generation diagnosed with breast cancer, only she and her mother have survived. She is happily married and the mother of two be
autiful children, a boy and a girl. She took chemotherapy while pregnant and delivered a healthy baby girl, who has been dubbed "the miracle baby". Erika is active at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church and Right to Life of Owensboro. As a self-professed science nerd, Erika makes her career as a Forensic Biologist.


Find Erika on her blog: Erika's Miracle Journey

Or on her Facebook Page: Erika's Miracle Journey Continues

Erika is eager to share her story and hopes to be instrumental in educating many women who are faced with similar situations. Her goal is to save as many babies as possible by telling her story...it's possible to treat cancer while both mother and baby survive!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Instilling Vocations and a Servant’s Heart

This post first appeared on Catholic Sistas
 
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Garbage in, garbage out. Birds of a feather flock together. What is the commonality of these messages? Our surroundings matter. How we live affects who we are. The responsibility is even more pertinent when young souls are involved. They are little sponges, affected by anything and everything around them; how we live paints a clear picture of how they will live. From the time that a newborn mimics expressions and sounds, on through adulthood, humans are under the influence of their environment.
.
As parents (or grandparents) the responsibility we carry is monumental. We want to encourage our children to live a life that will set them on a path of righteousness. Eternal salvation is the goal of all humanity and as the first teachers of our young charges, we have a profound effect on their eternal destiny. It has been said that the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ mentality is ineffective in teaching a child and I’d have to agree. So just how do you steer children down a righteous path? For me the answer is as simple as trying my best to be accountable in my own life.
.
For example, respect for the elderly isn’t just something that you can teach with words. In order to have children fully accept the dignity of all life, they must see and they must do. So visits to a nursing home to see an elderly relative are a prime opportunity for a teaching moment. Children are born without the prejudices that we adults have. They respond to the elderly in an innocent and loving way. The fact that their faces may be wrinkled or that they don’t remember who you are totally escapes a child. All they see is the twinkling eyes and the eager smile of another human being. A recent visit to my husband’s 97 year old grandmother provided just such an opportunity. Our visits are necessarily brief because she doesn’t really recognize us these days and she tires quickly. So after hugging and kissing her, our 2 and 4 year olds simply went from wheelchair to wheelchair dispensing kisses and hugs as they went. The residents glowed under their attention and the innocence of the kids would have shamed many of us with our preconceived notions.
.
Another opportunity arises when it is our turn to clean our small rural church. As a housewife, I’m not particularly overjoyed to add another ‘household’ to my cleaning duties. Yet the kids are certainly game. They brandish their dust rags, straighten missals, and raise kneelers with gusto. The empty church presents us with a wonderful teachable moment, a chance to explain things to them in an environment that does not disturb others. Why is there a red flame flickering above that golden door? The fact that Jesus is present in the Blessed Sacrament may not be totally comprehendible to them at such a tender age but they dutifully ‘bow to Jesus’
each time they pass by. What’s behind the doors in the sacristy? Here they can see the vestments for priests and servers. We can even discuss liturgical colors. The big book on the side altar – that’s where the prayers are for the priest to read during Mass. They see the lectionary on the lectern, where Papa sometimes stands to read scripture. And the confessional! That really affords a great opportunity. As I explain the purple stole and the screened kneeler, Simon sits in the priest’s seat. Rachel sits in the opposite chair and learns that Jesus listens as we confess our sins to the priest. Ever observant, they point out the crucifix on the wall. It brings a warm smile to my face when, upon exit, Simon announces that he will be a priest some day!
.
Now back to the cleaning. As I vacuum, Rachel and Simon perform their duties of dusting and straightening. Of course, things are not quite as simple as foreseen and Rachel exuberantly dips her hand into the bowl of water sitting ready for a Baptism on Sunday morning. So down on her knees she goes, wiping the offending droplets from the polished wooden floor. As she finishes I try to enlighten her 2 year old mind that this water is not for playing. I also tell them about their own baptisms. As we put away the cleaning supplies and head for the door, they have the opportunity to practice genuflection and then we’re off to other things.
.
Our children see so much from us and from the world. We don’t always realize just what they have observed until they become backseat drivers, admonishing someone to stay on their side of the road - using an uncomfortably familiar stern voice. They watch us when we are at our worst and derive a sort of mindset about typical reactions to broken dishes, spilled lemonade or piles of laundry. While we are certainly not always on our best behavior, having children around reminds us to try our best. If we take responsibility for our actions and how they affect the youngest members of our family, we will become more aware. This, combined with regular confession, will help us become better people and will in turn make us a better example for them. It’s a win-win situation really – do yourself, what you want them to do. Hopefully you’ll all attain that eternal reward.
 The above is an image I created. To see more of my original pro-life, pro-family images please visit www.DesignsbyBirgit.com or Designs by Birgit on Facebook.