Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bleach Stamping Technique Tutorial Video

Bleach stamping is fun AND easy. I hope you'll enjoy and share this video with others. I retain all rights to my videos and creations and enjoy sharing them with others!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Watercolor Emboss Stamping Technique Tutorial Video

Another fun technique I demonstrated in this video. Feel free to share this video with others. I retain all rights to my video and creations. Enjoy! The snowflake and reindeer in this card make it perfect for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Parental Responsibility

As we are going through Advent and preparing for the birth of Christ, I began reflecting on parental responsibility. The Catholic Church often repeats that parents are the primary educators of their children. We are! It is a great responsibility given to each parent -- homeschooled or otherwise. Even if you send your kids to school, you are still the primary educator of your child(ren).

Recently, there was a small incident that made me really reflect upon my duties and responsibilities as a parent. What came from my prayerful consideration of the entire situation was: it is my God given right as a parent to speak with anyone regarding my child. At any moment or time...... especially if the person to whom I speak is directly involved in an incident where my child was present. Regardless of what others think or feel. As a parent, it is not only my right, but it is a duty! We cannot allow fear of what others might think, say or do, keep us from fulfilling our parental duties. God has given us these gifts (our children) and He expects much.

On Christmas day, Jesus was born. His birth, more than any other in history, came with great responsibility. Mary and Joseph had to protect our innocent Lord from all harm, they escaped Herod's murderous plot.... they protected Jesus as he grew in wisdom. When I think about my responsibility as a parent and then reflect on the Holy family, I am humbled! Can you even begin to imagine the weight of responsibility that Mary and Joseph felt?

God has given us marvelous gifts and He gives us all the graces we need to succeed in parenting! May you have a blessed Advent! As I await the birth of Christ this year, I thank God for my children and for His many gifts. I pray that I will not fall short and that with His help, I will be the best parent I can be! God, grant me the grace to persist in faith and to educate my children in your ways. With your grace, Mary and Joseph were able to help Jesus grow in Your wisdom, grant that I may be like Mary and Joseph and that my children may grow in faith and in Your wisdom. Amen!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How to Make a Card Folder

Now that you've made hand-stamped cards, you need a folder to put them in! This folder is easy to make and turns your had-stamped cards into an instant gift. I made this video a year ago and enjoy sharing it with others (I retain all rights to my videos). Feel free to share this with friends and I hope you enjoy making a card folder for yourself!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Video clip of Sean practicing Hark! The Herald Angels Sing in preparation for playing it at Christmas Eve Mass.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving surrounded by friends and family. Let us remember the founding of this great nation as we pause to give thanks to God for all of our blessings this Thanksgiving Day. Among all of our blessings, I am thankful that our founders had the faith and courage to pledge to one another their lives, fortunes and sacred honor so that we could enjoy the freedom we have today.

At the link above you can read the text of George Washington’s Oct 3, 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation and then read below it Abraham Lincoln’s Oct 3, 1863 Proclamation establishing the Last Thursday of Nov as “Thanksgiving Day”

For a great history of Thanksgiving Proclamations, see this link—

It includes the history behind 5 of the first Thanksgiving Proclamations of our new nation-- the first one issued by Congress in 1777 and several others issued by Congress in the 1780s. Many people credit Lincoln with establishing this day, when, in fact, our founding fathers had been proclaiming days of Thanksgiving from the very beginning. They set aside a day of the year for all Americans to Give thanks to God. Lincoln set the current date… but our founding fathers had already been proclaiming Thanksgiving and establishing National Days of Prayer and Thanksgiving from the very beginnings of our Nation. Enjoy reading a bit of the history about Thanksgiving!

I thought it was really kind of neat that in his 1789 Proclamation George Washington set the day of thanks as Thursday, the 26th of November! Do something different at your Thanksgiving table… for the blessing, read the words of George Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation as part (or all of) your blessing … I plan on making reading his proclamation a tradition at our house in some way, shape or form.

Monday, November 23, 2009


October flew by and we had a wonderful Halloween party. I never got around to posting pictures here. Those of you on Facebook can see them there. We had a busy time setting up J's muscle biopsy. After we found out he developed swallowing problems, we felt we really should proceed. We are looking at Mitochondrial disorders. Joseph had his muscle biopsy surgery last week along with Met testing and other "stuff". It will take up to 12 weeks to get the results back. You can see pictures in the next post.

We've managed to keep up with school. It is always tricky when trying to balance hospital stays and procedures with school work. Matthew has really been doing well with his first year in High School. We are still using Seton. Sean is in 8th grade and working on Algebra II. Things are moving right along!

Matthew is still doing a great job with the pro-life student group he started. This month, they met at OLOG in Greensboro to listen to a pro-life talk. I was excited to be able to attend, too. The teens are great.

In October, Sean played his piece at the State Superiors Honors Recital. He did well for playing in a recital hall at UNCG filled with people. Video below:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sean's Declaration of Independence Paper

The Declaration of Independence

Years before the Declaration of Independence there was a conflict between America and Britain. The colonists were angry with King George for treating them so badly. They believed that King George had no right to tax them without representation. So they protested in many ways. They also sent King George several petitions asking him to treat them better. King George did not listen and sent troops to make sure they obeyed the laws. The troops raised the tension and it led to clashes. The colonists talked about freedom from what they called a tyrannical government.

The Declaration of Independence has four sections. The first part explains that people should declare their reasons for separating from their government. The second part declares our rights. It says the government should protect the rights and if it fails to do so the people can and should overthrow it. It also says that a fair government protects the rights of the people. The third section lists King George’s charges to show that he was a tyrant. The last section declares America free from British rule. All fifty-six members of Congress signed the Declaration of Independence.

By Sean Curran

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Soap Wins

Hey—just an interesting note tonight. Sean did his science fair project on hand sanitizers. Soap won. Since we have no way of telling which organisms we grew on our agar plates, we just did a timed test to see which one killed the bacteria the fastest (We could have stained them gram pos/neg…. but we did not do that and Lord knows it would be too difficult to count them!)

Soap killed the bacteria in 3 minutes, the apple hand sanitizer from bath and body works killed the bacteria in 5, hospital grade epi-clenz killed it in 7 minutes and the alcohol gel (Germ-X) was still working on it at 9 minutes out.

Of course we know that the hospital grade stuff kills more strains of bacteria…. Like MRSA and also kills yeast and VRE….. We just tested the germs found on our hands in our own house.

We used Method Lavender soap from Target, in case anyone was wondering.

Sean’s hypothesis was that the hospital grade stuff would be the best, but soap won instead! Good lesson learned, huh!?


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Look what is Growing

Preparing for the final steps of Sean's experiment. You can see the dots, those are bacteria colonies. Fun stuff. To make agar plates, simply buy agar flakes at Whole Foods or another store. Mix according to the package directions and add to the petri dishes. For Matthew's sterile plates, we boiled the petri dishes and made sure all utensils were sterile, etc. This way we knew if water grew from the water samples, there really was bacteria in the water!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Growing Cultures on Agar Plates

Here's what is growing on the agar plates:

Getting Ready for the Science Fair

last week we prepared everything. Sterile agar plates to test water quality for Matthew. You can see him adding water samples to the plates (petri dishes) and Sean made agar plates to grow bacteria so that he can later test which hand sanitizer kills the most germs.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Corn Maze

Alpha Acres Corn Maze

We had a great time at the Maze today! It is a great Maze located in Yadkinville, NC. This year the maze is a map of the United States. Lots of fun!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Science Fair!

Two weeks until the science fair!

On Friday, October 16, 2009 we will be hosting a Homeschool Science Fair at Star of Bethlehem Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. We invite all homeschoolers in our area to come out and participate! Set up will begin at 6:00 pm and the judging will begin at 7:00pm.

All participants must register to participate. Participation is FREE. We need everyone to register so that we set up enough tables for everyone prior to the event. We will also have participation ribbons and ribbons for placing in the Science Fair. We want all participants to receive a ribbon, so please help ensure that we have enough ribbons by registering! To register, please send an email to: Subject: Science Fair. Please include number of children participating and ages.

Children of all ages are welcome to enter a science fair project. Projects will be judged based on the use of the Scientific Method. Projects that do not follow the use of the Scientific Method may be entered, but keep in mind that judging will be based on the student's ability to use the scientific method. Simple projects that adhere to the Scientific Method are encouraged. The purpose of the Science Fair is for kids to have fun while learning about the Scientific Method and how to implement it.

There will be several categories (not yet determined) and/or age groups, so younger children will not be competing against older children.

The Scientific Method:

1. Define the question or problem.
2. Collect data through research.
3. Formulate a hypothesis.
4. Experiment using a control and a variable group.
5. Express a conclusion that supports or rejects the hypothesis.
6. Share your data through written compositions and verbal reports.

The hyperlink in the text above also gives more in-depth information about the Scientific Method and includes project ideas.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Football Scrapbooking

I just made two pages from recent Panthers games. I really like the "White-Blue Blur" page I made with shots of Matthew's interception. I also have another layout with shots from this week's varsity game. You can see them here: Pattie's Cards I also loaded a few pictures of recent cards I made. You'll need to scroll down to see the football pages. I love my kids, love taking pictures of them and scrapbooking their lives for them. It is a blessing to be able to do that!

Chris went to Enchanted Cottage the other day and bought a new stamp set for me. He is such a great guy! The cards on the bottom are made using the new set-- they look better in person because they are glittery and it just doesn't show in the pictures!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The American Revolution for Kids

The American Revolution for Kids: A History with 21 Activities

We came across this book at the library and it is wonderful. We already own one in the same series "The Wright Brothers for Kids" with activities. These are both excellent resources and make learning fun!

Crazy Catholics

People are often puzzled by how we live our faith. Yes, we are crazy Catholics in love with God. We follow Church teaching and that may seem crazy to many, but there are many of us crazy Catholics out there! I think the biggest thing that make folks think we are crazy is that we don't se birth control and that we continue to have miscarriages. On the birth control issue, I won't go into debate on BC ... but I simply say that we trust God in ALL things. We can't just say we trust you in ALL areas except this one. We either trust God all the way or nothing else.

If we are not oepn to life, then we don't allow God to perform that miracle. The 21st pregnancy could be the one that makes it. Most of our friends know that Joseph doesn't have a match in the bone marrow donor registry. A sibling is the best chance Joseph has. While we have not tried to have more children, we do believe that God could also perform a double miracle: we' could have a baby make it to term and that baby could be a match for Joseph. We do believe that no matter what, if Joseph needs a bone marrow transplant, God will provide a match for him. Sibling or stranger. He was run against 6.5 million people in the registry and had no match, but it only takes one and God IS able.

Matthew is not feeling well today and is resting a bit. He is trying to work on his book report because he can't have a day without doing SOME school work! Sean and Joseph are doing fine. They are working on writing about the shot heard round the world. Of course they are also doing math, spelling, vocabulary.............

We are all excited about a Halloween party we are planning. It is helping me to focus on something other than what is going on at the moment. We hope to have the party on Friday, October 31. We'll turn our yard into a Halloween playground..... If I get to the othe rcomputer, I will try to post some pictures of Matthew's first varsity game. Hegot an interception. We were all so excited and proud of him! We LOVE fotball and it is even more exciting when we get to watch him play. God has blessed us with so much!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I was talking to a friend the other day about our oldest boys and their pro-life work. We were discussing how one cannot enter pro-life work unless they have mercy. Mercy does not allow anger. We have to have compassion and mercy as we pray for the unborn and their mothers. We are both so proud of our boys for being so actively pro-life..... so much to learn on the journey.

11 years ago we had the first of our now 17 pregnancy losses (I am in the middle of 17 as I write this). For a long time, I could not pray at the clinics or do anything pro-life. I was angry. Then we lost the twins. I was so very distraught! A priest friend suggested I go to a Rachel's Vineyard retreat to help with healing, even though I have never had an abortion. It really was very healing and I was able to become more active in the pro-life community again. Seeing those women who had much more pain that I will ever have... it made me realize that I must have mercy. I could no longer be angry. We have lost 18 little ones..... but I do not have to carry the burden of knowing I ended their lives.

If we call ourselves Catholic, then we need to be merciful! Mercy is such a key element of our faith. For me, I have found it difficult to forgive those who have lacked mercy toward me and my family as we deal with chronic illness in our boys. Thankfully, there really have not been that many until a few years ago. I have shared that story before-- church lady. I pray for church lady often -- in fact, as I was walking today hoping to move things along, I was offering up my suffering for her along with all the other prayer intentions I had.

Certain people avoid us at church. Not that I blame them ~smile~ I realize that many won't know how to respond. I am not brutally honest when asked, but when people ask how the boys are doing, I will let them know if they have a bone marrow biopsy coming up or a swallow study like Joseph has coming up. I usually say they are doing well, but have X or Y coming up.

When we first began this "journey" I did not ask for prayer requests. We did not tell members of our church..... or our pastor. Many years later when they thought the boys might go to transplant, I was talking to a friend who told me that I should share with members of the church. It could be considered prideful. We've been told horrible things and even yelled at because of sharing what is going on in our lives.

If we have Mercy, we will want to pray for others and their prayer needs--- we will be thankful for the opportunity to do so. satan cannot get his foot in the door when I am suffering if I pray for others! It takes the focus off of myself and that makes satan very angry!

We need to have mercy in every single aspect of our lives. Mercy for others leads to compassion. I ask God to forgive me if I have ever been uncharitable or unmerciful to anyone I have ever met. With His grace, I hope to show compassion and mercy-- even when I am suffering!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Honors Recital

The week has flown by!

We are plodding along with school. Sean and Joseph are working on The French and Indian War. Learning about it and writing a paper on it. They were able to give great oral presentations after writing their paper on various aspects of Colonial life last week. We need to get a few books on the French and Indian War. Surprisingly enough, I do not have much on the topic lining our home bookshelves. We've got a trip planned to the library tomorrow.

Sean is getting ready for the Honors Recital at the NC Music Teachers Association. Since he received a Superior rating at the State competition at the end of last school year, he was invited to the Honors Recital. No two students can play the same piece, so they have to get their selections in early. They can pick any piece they would like, too. Sean picked Prokofieff's "Playing Tag". He's still got a month to polish it for the recital, but here is a video of him playing:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Jamestown, the Mayflower and Colonial life. Football and other ramblings, too.

The younger boys have been working on a few writing assignments in the past several weeks. They have written reports on Jamestown and the Mayflower already. They are now preparing a three paragraph report on colonial life in America which will also be given as an oral report. Joseph often throws fits because he has to prepare an outline before he begins his writing. Aye yi yi. He has decided to write on travel in colonial America, while Sean has decided to write on food in colonial America.

We use a simple formula: pick your subject, then pick three topics within that subject. Each of the three topics will be a paragraph. Paragraphs are written: Topic sentence, middle sentences that explain the topic sentence and a conclusion that reiterates the topic sentence and may add a personal note or an extra tidbit of information. Outlines are easy! Use your topics and add keywords for A and B (or C, D, etc)


I Topic

II Topic

So far, high school seems to be going well for Matthew. Several challenges, but going well. Football season is in full swing and I hope to go out and get some pictures of him with his new team this year. It is his first year on the homeschool football league. He is a Panther! They are asking him to move up from JV to varsity because when they scrimmage the varsity team, it takes two varsity players to block Matthew. He can also sack the QB.

Sean and Joseph will start playing for High Point Little League soon. We are supposed to get a call this week. They are looking forward to fall baseball.

Our garden is still going. The other day, we picked carrots, bell peppers and a few other things and made a delicious Emeril's creamy chicken recipe with our wonderful garden fare. We've also been making apple recipes with the apples we picked at our friend's orchard on the way back from Cincy last week.

The boys had their bone marrow biopsies and we are still waiting on the results. I got their CBC results before leaving. Sometimes I just want to crawl under a rock and pretend that Shwachman-Diamond isn't real. I dream of the day they will have completely normal counts! ~smile~

Friday, August 14, 2009

Baseball - Summer 2009 Pictures

The boys played on the Red Sox this season, but also helped fill in for missing players on the Blue Jays. Here are some shots from the summer season.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Losing Freedom

A CNN article reports:

Let's explore the five freedoms that Americans would lose under Obamacare:

1. Freedom to choose what's in your plan

2. Freedom to be rewarded for healthy living, or pay your real costs

3. Freedom to choose high-deductible coverage

4. Freedom to keep your existing plan

5. Freedom to choose your doctors

Read the bill at:

you can also read the entire CNN article at the link above.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Family Fun

We had a lot of fun Saturday afternoon at Union Cross park. Chris, Matthew and Sean took turns pitching and all the boys batted. I did bat once and played in the outfield quite a bit. I just can't pitch, folks! Union Cross park is nice and very quiet! This year, we are going to try to go to different area parks once again. We enjoy exploring and getting to know the area.

Sunday was low-key and no pictures. Church and then swimming with friends. We're hoping to go swimming this evening-- a little night swimming....and bat watching. Bats come out near the the pool.

Here are pictures from Saturday afternoon. I like the one where Mathew is being silly as Sean pitches. He's always trying to be funny!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Student Nights at the Opera 2009-2010

Everything is all set for homeschoolers to buy tickets to the Student Nights at the Opera for the 2009-2010 season. It is simple! Call Piedmont Opera at 725-7101 tell the box office lady (Sarah) that you would like to be seated with the homeschool group and purchase your tickets for either of the following operas or both. They are not offering a package this year that includes the NC School of the Arts. If you buy tickets to a single opera, the cost is $15 per adult and $3 per child. If you purchase tickets to both operas, the cost is $18 per adults and $6 per child. Buying tickets to both saves you money!

Hansel and Gretel, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009 at 7:30pm
Turandot, Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 7:30pm
The operas are performed at the Stevens Center in Winston-Salem, NC. For more information:

Monday, August 3, 2009

The First Day is................

Always exhausting! We woke up early enough....the kids seemed to have some memory lapse as to what we've done the previous ten years of school. Luckily, they caught on quickly and got to work. Joseph started his new math and only had one fit over writing. He got over it quickly! This year, we are using one of the Institute for Excellence in Writing's U.S. History-Based Writing Lessons in Structure, Style, Vocabulary and Grammar. I had used this for Matthew and Sean had never completed more than one or two lessons while we were using other English books. So, we pulled it out again forthis year. At the end of the lessons, they can bind their work to make a history book of their own. Very neat!

We reveiwed a few lessons of Friendly chemistry and are back on track for a great year! We've always tried to supplement our science with Friendly Chemistry and not used it exclusively. Have not made it through the entire curriculum because it was always a supplement....this year we're going all the way. It is an excellent program and we can't wait to do it all!

While Matthew is using Seton's curriculum, they do not have a Catholic Physical Science textbook, so he is using A Beka's Science of the Physical Creation textbook through Seton. Seton does not require the labs to be done, but we are adding them using the Science of the Physical Creation Lab Manual

Sean and Joseph will be participating with Matthew when we go over his religion for this year and we are also using Scott Hahn's Understanding the Scriptures to supplement Sean and Joseph's religion.

This afternoon, Matthew is working on his homework while dad teaches an Aeronautical Science class. Sean and Joseph are taking the class along with the other students and seem to be enjoying it quite a bit.

I've got a lot of work to do to keep ahead of them in their lessons! ~smile~ I'll be doing lots of homework every night to keep on top of things! and grading.... ewwww...I don't like to grade!

The boys have drama auditions on Wednesday. Matthew and Joseph are excited about the homeschooling drama classes for the next year. They will be performing the original Cheaper by the Dozen play. Sean may try to play piano music between scenes, etc. We'll see. Auditions are Wednesday morning and practice/classes begin the first week of September.

We're also getting really excited about the Homeschool Science Fair, too! It is the first year that we have ever hosted a science fair and we're hoping it is a great success. We'll also be participting in Around the World Night and Student Night at the Opera again this school year. This is our 11th year of homeschooling and they keep me on my toes!

As we begin our new school year, I will tell you more about our curriculum. We've got quite a bit! All and all a good first day.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Back to School

Hard to believe that we are starting school again tomorrow. Summer vacation just flew right on by! Matthew is starting to read Red Badge of Courage for English. I had to get a copy for myself to refresh my memory! We are really excited about the new year. Matthew will be taking Physical Science along with his other courses. I am excited about science as it is my favorite subject. We have his textbook already and the lab manual will arrive on Wednesday. Here's to anothe ryear of fun learning.

Sean and Joseph will be completeing Friendly Chemisty this year. We'll reveiw the first several lessons and then take off again. Joseph has a pretty cool chemistry set, too... we love science experiments!

We're also hosting a Homeschool Science Fair this year-- our first time trying to put one together. The boys get to put the Scientific Methos into practice. If you are interested in participating in the science fair, shoot me an email. You can find info on the science fair at the link above.

Lots of writing for everyone this is going to be a GREAT year. Matthew has started tackle football with the homeschool football league in our area. Sean and Joseph will continue with baseball and we hope to help a friend establish a home school baseball team in our area by next fall when Sean ages out of the Y baseball league. Wish us luck! It is going to be a busy year with all we have going on.

Our friend is also doing her annual Breast Cancer fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of the Triad. It will be held on October 16-- we've been helping with aution items for many years now. If you'd like to donate items, contact me and I can get you in touch with the organizers. It is for a great cause.

We're starting early this year so that we can take off to go to Cincy. We can still take time off for Thanksgiving, two weeks at Christmas and two weeks at Easter and have 23 days left to take off before June 30..... we've got a plan.

Pray for us as we start our new school year. 1, 2, 3 we go!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pumpkins are Fun

We've been baking away with the first pumpkin. We think the second one is much cuter. Joseph has affectionately named this one "Mrs. Pumpkin". We just cut her from the garden today.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Our first pumpkin

Our first Sugar Pie pumpkin. This tastes SO yummy! It is as sweet as a sweet potato-- no sugar needed! I'm thinking, pies, muffins, soup...... to see them growing in our container garden, see this blog post: Pumpkin garden I also wrote an article about growing pumpkins in a container garden-- the link is in the blog post above.

On Wings Like a Dove Mural

These are somewhat out of order.... this mural was painted for a ministry to loved ones of prodigals and prisoners called On Wings Like a Dove. The teens spent the week drawing the picture on canvas (using the grid technique)and painting it. They also spent a bit of time visiting a few downtown art studios for inspiration.The teens that worked on this project with their two teachers (Leo and Patti) did an awesome job. The mural is gorgeous. The teens drew it on the canvas using the grid technique and then painted and shaded the entire thing—with very little help from the teachers—the teachers guided and instructed, of course.

The theme of the mural is that we are spiritually free in Christ even if we are not physically free (as in prison) – that we are all called and accepted by God, Our Father –no matter where we are. The mural will be hanging in downtown Winston-Salem at the Wings Like a Dove office. The far right is a prodigal son with a father placing his hand on his head. The teens captured such great emotion!

The finished mural first ...then pictures of the work involved:

Art teachers, Leo and Patti