Dr. Suess Joins the ProLife Cause
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
The Ironic Catholic posted this today, and I had to share! Read the rest of the poem and other Catechism addenda while you're there. (Note, this is written by Jovial Catholic. IC is taking the day off.)

You shall not kill them in the rain.
You shall not kill them on a train.
You can not, will not, on a boat.
You will not, will not, with a goat.
Not in the womb! Not in a tree!
Not in a war! You let them be!
Do not kill them as embryos.
Do not kill them with Cheerios....

Check out her site for the latest non-news from the Vatican!

Tags: Catholic, Prolife
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/31/2006 02:26:00 PM | Permalink | |
Works for Me Wednesday: Hot packs and Socks
Wednesday, October 25, 2006

It's time for Works for Me Wednesday, and today the topic is a frugal one.

Here's how to make your own hot/cold pack, and it will use up your mismatched socks!

Instead of buying "Koolie Bears" or using electric pads that can cause burns, do this instead.

Get one unmatched sock.

Fill with plain, uncooked rice. Don't pack it full, you want bean bag effect, not a porcupine.

Add lavendar, jasmine, eucalyptus oil/herbs if you want.

Tie a knot in the top of the sock or sew it shut.

Keep it in the freezer. If someone has a bump, just whip it out. It won't cause frostbite like ice can, won't leak on the couch, contains no weird blue chemicals, and molds to the injury.

Need a hot pack? Pop it in the microwave for a couple of minutes. It's soft, moldable, and you can use it over and over again. Kid socks make good sinus masks.

I've been using mine for over 2 years now. As long as you don't get it too wet, it will last. If you need moist heat, lay a wet washcloth between sock and skin.

As a bonus, you can use it as a Montessori type thermal work. Make 2 of these, exactly identical (use a pair of socks). Put one in freezer and one in microwave. Place toddler's hand on the cold one, and say "cold". Repeat for hot one. The benefit of this is that the only distinguishing characteristic between the two is the temperature (they are the same color, texture, weight, etc.). Also, often when we tell kids "cold", the object (ice, a glass, etc.) is usually also wet which can cause confusion. When we tell kids "hot", we usually don't let them touch it at all.

Another sensory work involves texture. Make 3-4 socks with different fillings in graduated sizes: oatmeal, rice, unpopped corn, large lima beans or chickpeas. Again, the socks should look the same - the only difference should be the size of the filling.
Child can play and describe different textures. He can put them in order, smallest size granule to largest size. He can do it by weight. A very good sensory tool.
(don't put the oatmeal one or the corn in the microwave!)

Tags: Works for Me Wednesday,, Crafts and Cookery
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/25/2006 09:41:00 AM | Permalink | |
Why We Don't Celebrate Halloween
Sunday, October 22, 2006

For the next two weeks, if you've been directed here by me because you just don't get our weirdness, please read the entire post.

This post is for all of those people out there who simply cannot believe we don't pay $20 for a cheap costume, then let our small children browbeat our neighbors into giving them candy, so they can gorge themselves and end up grounded for a week due to their poor behavior.

Our family does not celebrate Halloween. We usually celebrate All Saint's Day, a Catholic holiday that occurs on November 1. This year we won't, as our local church only has 7 children in attendance, 6 of whom belong to me, and I'm not planning the party. The Novus Ordo parish has more children, but is holding a Halloween party and doing nothing special for All Saint's Day.

Why we don't celebrate Halloween:

1. We are not pagans. I know it sounds flippant, but Halloween did originate as a Gaelic pagan festival, and that's why All Saint's Day is on Nov. 1. The Church, in her wisdom, recognized that the culture was used to having a big celebration around that time of year, and decided to give the new Christians something good to actually celebrate. Originally called Samhain, the name Halloween, I'm sure you've heard, has derived from All Hallow's Eve - the night before All Hallow's day, aka All Saint's Day.

2. Sure, you say, but it's no longer a pagan holiday, but a secular American tradition. Well, no, it's not. No matter how you try to deny it, witches, ghosts, vampires, and being scared all pervade the Halloween celebration. Women's magazines post elaborate recipes to make candied witche's brooms (you've got to see this, BTW - Martha Stewart would be proud!) and ghost lollipops. Fake vampire teeth and blood are sold by the bagful to give to trick-or-treaters. You can buy chocolates in the shape of dismembered body parts. Superstitions are dragged out and celebrated, with black cats taking the center stage. Not only is superstition wrong and specifically forbidden by God, the underlying, subtle message is that some of God's creation is intrinsically bad or unlucky. (Poor cat. Too bad God didn't like you and made you black!) That a broken mirror rules your destiny. Adults can see past this (usually), but children are much more literal

3. The atmosphere that pervades Halloween is not one of "family values". There is no denying that many feel freed by social constraints on this night, free to be daring, wild, different. In this sense, it is much like Mardi Gras. You can do things on Halloween that you would never do in real life, whether it is participate in Fear Factor type dares at a party or TPing the neighbor's tree.

4. The costumes are often inappropriate. Young girls dress in bras and pantaloons or strapless gowns to be Disney Princesses. French maids abound, frolicking in the street. Bratz dolls appear on your doorstep, complete with glittery lip gloss to compliment their diapers. The most basic costumes, whether they be fairies or pirates, are 'sexed' up for the girls. The boys generally appear as serial killers, rubber weapons dripping in blood, ghosts, zombies, ghouls. Or maybe they dress up like their favorite sports hero, the one who beats his wife or evades taxes. Children imitate and fantasize about being Christina Aguilera, witches, or psychotic individuals. Is this good character training?

For less than $40, you can dress your 6 yr. old like a working girl!

5. Halloween is not respectful of the dead. A corporal work of mercy is to bury the dead. Respect for the dead is very, very important in Catholic culture, as the body was once the temple of the Holy Spirit and often contained Christ himself in the form of the Eucharist. Mocking the dead has no place in Christianity, whether it be dancing skeletons, zombies, or fake dismembered body parts hanging from a car trunk. What are we teaching our children - that it's fun to make fun of corpses?

6. "Trick or Treat" is not a good thing for children to say. Sure, it seems harmless, but underneath, it is blackmail. Give me candy, or I'll do something you don't like. I don't think it is a good idea to tell our kids it's okay to speak to adults that way, even if it is only one day a year. (Remember, Honor thy Father and Mother? Means every day, all the time. Not 364 days a year with one day off.) Also, there is the additional problem of slightly older children actually performing tricks, egging mailboxes, tp-ing cars, ringing doorbells and running. Authorities, whether parental or official, often turn a blind eye to such harmless pranks on this night. The fact remains, though, that these are sinful activities and parents are responsible for helping their children avoid sin.

7. The candy. Gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. Gorging on candy, fighting over MINE MINE MINE, selfishness, and self-entitlement abound on this night. The alternative is worse - parcel out one or two pieces until you run out around Christmastime, for that extra fun time at the dentist next year.

I have no problem with scarecrows, indian corn, harvest themes, or even jack-o-lanterns (provided they are carved with a cheerful grin to welcome guests and not mutilated with fangs and a 666 on the head). I have a problem with the evil atmosphere that pervades our culture in October.

Yes, my children are horribly deprived. So what.

Tags: Catholic, Family Life, Homeschooling, Mama Says
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/22/2006 11:28:00 AM | Permalink | |
Southern Hospitality is Just Rude
Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Chris Rock's Momma is suing Cracker Barrel restaurants. She claims she and a friend sat at a table for 30 minutes without being waited on, and that this is another in a series of racial discrimination incidents at the chain. Mrs. Rock resides in Georgetown, SC, and was at a restaurant on the coast.

I hate to break it to her, but I doubt it was a racial thing. I live within 100 miles of Georgetown, and I can tell her that none of the restaurants around here have good service.

I went to Burger King, and walked out after watching two employees argue over who was going to take my order.

I went to Denny's, and sat for 20 minutes before getting disgusted and walking out. I ended up at Ruby Tuesday's, where the waiter stood next to me the entire time I was deciding what I wanted, whipped the menu out of my hand the moment I was done, and then didn't show up again for 35 minutes.

I've had entire transactions, spending close to $200, at WalMart and not heard a single word from the checker. More than once.

At Sonic Drive-In, I was informed that since they were closing in 10 minutes, I could only order soft drinks.

Ryan's Steakhouse/Buffet provided my family of 8 people with a basket of 4 rolls and 10 containers of honey spread. The waitress was not seen again, and my husband ended up serving himself tea.

I don't know why there is such hostility towards customers. I think it has to do with lack of competition. I'm from Denver, which has close to 2 million households (not people), if you include the suburbs. If Cracker Barrel is slow, there are 3 or 4 more of them within driving distance, not to mention a Chili's, Bennigan's, Applebee's, and Outback in the same parking lot. They have to be good.

South Carolina boasts 4 million people for the entire state. In my town, there is not a single donut shop (although you can buy Krispy Kremes at the Exxon). The nearest Starbucks is 25 miles away. Strangely, there are at least 10 car dealerships.

Sometimes it's not you. Sometimes they just stink.

Tags: Misc., Mama Says
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/18/2006 11:52:00 AM | Permalink | |
Reality shows I'd actually watch
Friday, October 13, 2006
I'm still waiting for Survivor: Welfare Mom in the Projects.
Two weeks of month left and already overdrawn - can they meet the challenge when Bobby loses his coat and it snows? One show where being voted off would be a step up.
Maybe they could have one mom "working the system", getting any and all forms of public assistance possible, versus another mom who is "doing fine on her own" working two minimum wage jobs. Barbra Ehrlich could host.

I'd watch that - way better than watching too-pretty girls frolicking in bikinis and defending their choice of masacara as a luxury item.

Or maybe Catholic School: Pray for Mercy. Those rulers are wicked. Latin declinations, anyone?

Tags: Catholic, Mama Says
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/13/2006 12:42:00 PM | Permalink | |
Works for Me Wednesday #5: Foil Me Twice
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Freezer Meals.

We all think about making them. Some of us even do. I do, occasionally, but usually my version is to make an extra batch of dinner and freeze it.

This makes it easier, and cheaper.

If you are making a lasagna, enchiladas, meatloaf, or other "pan" meal to freeze, line your casserole dish with 2 layers of aluminum foil. Fill with food, freeze solid, and then pop it out of the dish. It will hold it's shape, but your freezer won't be full of dishes.

You've just made your own disposable aluminum pan!

Pop it back into the same dish to bake.

Works for Me!

Tags: Works for Me Wednesday, Crafts and Cookery
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/11/2006 09:34:00 AM | Permalink | |
Why Johnny Can't Balance the Checkbook
Monday, October 09, 2006
My son is in first grade, and uses "Everyday Math".

I HATE Everyday Math. I'm not the only one - a lot of teacher's aren't fans either.

It is the most dumbed down, watered down mathematics (notice I didn't say arithmetic) program I've seen.

It is disjointed. The first two weeks, he had worksheets on thermometers, clocks, calculators, and anything else that had numbers on them. There was no comprehensive goal - (this is a clock. We use it to tell time. We will work with clocks for X weeks and you will learn how to tell time.)

His homework the first month consisted of things like, "count the number of thermometers or things that measure hot and cold in your house." (Note: the definition of thermometer is not "something that measures coldness"!) In fact, you can't measure coldness, as cold is a lack of heat. So you can technically only measure how much or how little heat there is.

I digress.

The next week, he was sent home a sheet that asked him to draw a picture of a clock in his house. Perusing the curricula online, I learned that first graders will not be introduced to the minute hand, as that is too complicated at this stage. They will only read the hours.

A week later, we got a Note to Parents explaining that there would be no word problems, but instead the preferred lexicon was number story, to emphasize that it was a story about numbers. The example given? Ana has 3 apples, and Reynaldo has 1 apple. They have 4 apples. Do you like apples?

Yeah. This is math class, not peer counseling.

Last week he started bringing home blank worksheets. Monday I stared confused at a page that consisted of 20 blank pictures of hands. No instructions. I later learned that he was supposed to write a number in each hand and create his own math problems.

A couple of days later is was blank apples with lines drawn down the middle. He told me he was supposed to draw apple seeds on each side of the line, and then write the number of seeds in each apple. When I checked his work, he had written 3 +2 = 5; 2 + 3 = 5, 3 +2 = 5, 3 +2 = 5, 3 +2 = 5... Mama drew some more seeds and forced him to solve more than the 1 problem 10 times over. This child could add sums up to 20 last year, in private kindergarten. He's just sliding by right now.

What is this "make your own worksheet"? How is a child going to progress if he is never challenged beyond his comfort level?

At parent teacher conference, his teacher told me that they do lots of hands on work that is not reflected in the homework. I can understand that, and his teacher seems competent and caring. I think her hands are just tied by a combination of bad curriculum and a system that separates children based on age, and not ability.

However, she also told me the children practice math by playing card games, such as WAR but which is called something else; and other games with each other. I don't remember all the details, but one game consisted of rolling dice two times, writing down the numbers, and adding them. If you got the answer correct, you got a point. Sounds fun and probably effective, but if there are 14 groups of kids playig this game all at the same time, who's checking the answer? "Oh, they check each other." Great, the blind leading the blind! If Johnny doesn't know 3 +4 = 7, then how can he tell Sally if she got it right? If Sally has a crush on Johnny, is she going to tell him 3 + 2 is not 4? I wouldn't have when I was 7 years old.

Don't even get me started on the invented spelling. That's another post, another rant. Suffice it to say, that even though P is at school for hours each day, I find I am still doing a fair share of homeschooling.

Here's a great article, BTW, on effective hands on learning that I am such a big fan of:
Tactile Lessons from Helen Keller

Tags: Homeschooling, Mama Says
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/09/2006 09:44:00 AM | Permalink | |
Catholic Irony
Friday, October 06, 2006
The Lapped Catholic is having a contest:

Motivational Poster

Here's my entries.

And for those who attend the Latin Mass

Tags: Catholic, Prolife, Mama Says
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/06/2006 04:22:00 PM | Permalink | |