Monday, December 8, 2014

Welcome!

Welcome! I'm are glad you've found my little corner of the web.

I am no longer blogging here, but I have left this site up for resources.

Here are some things you will find:

At the Living the Liturgical Year tab you will find hundreds of links for celebrating the Catholic year in your home. Crafts, activities, prayers, food, books... it's all organized there for dozens of feast days and for each liturgical season.

At the Wooden Saint Dolls tab you will find 60+ example dolls, how to paint them, a cathedral tutorial, and how to do an exchange.

At the Classically Catholic Memory tab you will find lesson plans for using the program's Gamma Year and the first four weeks of Delta Year.

At the Journey Across American tab you will find crafts, books, and recipes for learning about 25 of the 50 states.

So why did I stop blogging? The short answer is, because I'm not superwoman. I had to chose between continuing to blog here or losing my mind. I chose sanity.

I'm still blogging at focus.org, speaking nationally at Catholic events, and working on video projects. (The latest is a marriage series, check out the promo... it's going to be amazing!) You can invite me to an event through my speaker page, focus.org/lisa.

To those of you who have followed along for the past several years, thank you for you comments, encouragement, and friendships. Please keep in touch! The Cotters


Be saints, it's worth it!
Lisa

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Last Two Weeks Have Changed Everything

Friends, it's time for a heart to heart.

Over these past few weeks I have been processing a lot of life.

First semester was off to a rocky start in our home as I tried to figure out how to homeschool with a mobile little person who likes to mess with my stuff. (Picture removing all of the letter tiles from my perfectly organized white board, tearing pages out of my teachers manuals, and trying to eat my science experiments... she's not destructobaby, she's just a baby.) What used to be a solid, 3 hour homeschool day with 2 hours of mommy time during everyone's afternoon rest turned into a drawn out 5 hour homeschool day that took up a 7 hour timespan, with no 2 hour afternoon rest... because that gets eaten up with laundry, phone calls, dishes, etc.

As I've been praying about/processing through/weighing options on exactly what changes need to be made, two significant events have happened.

1. I attended an incredibly intense retreat.
2. I attended an incredibly clarifying conference.

Both of these events have taken place within the past few weeks and I was waiting for them to come and go before making any final decisions on what exactly God is asking of me.

Here's the bottom line. My life is too full. Way. Too. Full.

So, it is with sadness that I say, my days of blogging at Catholic Missionary Family are soon coming to an end.

I have enjoyed sharing my family's adventures, curriculum plans, liturgical celebrations, and missionary life here on the blog, but it is time to bring this chapter to a close. I plan on cleaning up the blog and making it a resource site, so you will still be able to access the homeschool plans and liturgical resources that I have already posted. (I'll be referring to them as well. :)

Part of this decision also has to do with the influx of requests that I have been receiving for speaking engagements, interviews, product reviews, etc. I never dreamed that God would take a talk that I gave for a $35.00 thank you card 5 years ago and turn it into a flourishing ministry. Being a Catholic speaker was never my plan and each time I thought that God would stop opening doors for me to speak, He did the opposite and flung them open even faster. (Please pray for 3 major projects that are currently in the works... one is an upcoming talk that I'm giving to 5,000 women at SEEK, and I wish I could share the other two, but it's not time yet!)

I still have a few more posts that I want to get up, so stick around for those! My plan is to completely step away from the blog at the end of this year and transition to using my "free time" for speaking. You can keep up with me at the focus blog where I will continue to write and if I can ever be of service as a speaker, please contact me through my speaker page! (I speaking on all things dating, marriage, motherhood, and femininity.)

Thank you for joining me on this journey. Your comments, emails, and affirmations have meant so much to me. Blessings to you!

Be saints, it's worth it!
Lisa

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ideas for Classically Catholic Memory Delta Year: Week 4

Classically Catholic Memory: Delta Year: Week 4
I'm blogging my way through our four year curriculum program so I don't forget everything that worked for us! Please feel free to use what works for your family and share in the comments anything you would add. For more on Classically Catholic Memory go here.

Religion

Lesson 1:
This week we finished our Sacraments books! Memory work for the next several weeks focuses on the Eucharist, so we went back and added Holy Eucharist in between Confirmation and Penance to finish the project off.


For the printouts I used this free printout from Catholic Toolbox for the host and chalice and used this priest for the altar from Catholic Inspired. Finally, I copied a section from the bible on the institution of the Eucharist for above the altar.

*Last year Bean made her First Communion and we did a lot of Eucharist crafts, activities, and audio stories for her preparations. You can check out our plans at my First Communion Preparation Plans post for even more ideas for teaching the Eucharist.

Lesson 2:
The kids watched Br. Francis' The Bread of Life to finish up our review of Holy Eucharist.

Latin
We concluded our memorization of O Salutaris Hostia this week. The kids learned it from the Delta year CD, this youtube, and this youtube by my CCM friend's talented husband!

History
History this week consisted of reading a few books... and that was it. After doing two back to back weeks of American Girl units, we needed a slow week in history!


Science

Lesson 1:
In science this week we looked at the three types of vascular plants. I gave the kids a brief lesson on what they are and then we went on a nature hike to find and sketch them.


Lesson 2:
Here are the supplies we used for our second lesson.



I read the kids Ferns and we looked at the sections on gymnosperms and angiosperms in Plant. Then we watched a quick youtube on the topic and added a mini-book to our botany books using page 1 from this set of templates from Homeschool Share.


Math 

Lesson 1:
The kids filled out this free worksheet on counting nickels to practice the multiples of 5.


Lesson 2:
You can find more ideas at my 20+ games for teaching the multiples post!


Timeline

Lesson 1:
You can also pick your favorite timeline game from my archives!


Lesson 2:
We pulled out our Timeline Book from last year and I had the kids find this weeks cards in the book.

And if you are a timeline actions kind of family, you can find actions for each of the cards on my friend Virginia's youtube channel.

Geography

Lesson 1:
Rather than read individual books on every country in South America, I grabbed a copy of National Geographic Kids' Ultimate Globetrotting World Atlas and had the kids read about the countries we are learning this week from there. I borrowed it from the library, but I think I'll order a copy soon we will be using this book for several weeks.


Lesson 2:
And we watched another episode from Wild South America, which is free with our Amazon Prime membership.

Great Words I
We finished The Turtle by Vachel Lindsay this week. Check out youtube 1 and youtube 2 to watch it and you can find it in Playtime Rhymes (with cute hand motions!) and A Children's Treasury of Poems.


Be saints, it's worth it!
Lisa

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Journey Across America: Arkansas

This post is part of a 50 state Journey Across America. For information on the basics of this project check out this post.

The Books:
We began by reading N is for Natural State and then Bean used the information she learned to make a notebook page for her United States scrapbook.

For our Arkansas picture books we read Good Morning, Granny Rose and There Goes Lowell's Party.


We also taught the kids about Arkansas using the Our United States of America: Catholic Social Studies textbook.

The Food:
Each year in Little Rock, AR there is a cornbread festival. Yes, a cornbread festival. Here's why: “Cornbread is an integral part of our southern heritage, and we live in a community steeped in history and tradition. It just seems to be a good fit for a festival in Little Rock.” - Anita Davis, founder of the cornbread festival

In honor of the festival, we made cornbread for our Arkansas food. I didn't like the recipe we tried, buy I think you'll be able to find your own.


The Craft:
Sticking with the festival theme, we made a watermelon craft and learned about the annual Watermelon Festival held in Hope, AR. The festival dates back to the 1920's and has over 50,000 in attendance!

I found this craft using a google image search, but when I clicked on the link it redirected to a cigar shop. Pretty sure, their site got hacked. So rather than send you to the cigar shop, I'll let you hone in on your crafty side and figure this one out on your own. Here's a tip, all you need is construction paper.



Michigan is next in line for our Journey Across America! 

Be saints, it's worth it!
Lisa

Friday, October 10, 2014

American Girl Unit Studies: Josefina

We are studying our way through the American Girl historical characters as we learn American history. I've coordinated these units to work with the history sentences we are memorizing with the Classically Catholic Memory program. (I'm blogging about that too!) Josefina lines up with week 3 of Delta Year.

(I also have lesson plans for KayaFelicityCaroline, and Kirsten, check em out!)

Josefina Unit Study


Fiction Books


Six Book Boxed Set
Secrets in the Hills
Josefina's Short Story Collection
Beforever: Sunlight and Shadows*
Beforever: Second Chances*

*Beforever is basically a condensed version the original six books into two stories. I much prefer having my kids read the original six, but I wanted to let you know what's out there.

Non-Fiction Book


Welcome to Josefina's World
Josefina Just for Fun

I was able to snag Josefina Just for Fun a few years back when the series was on clearance. The book is filled with great rainy day activities. All of the Just for Fun books have the same activities with slight variations depending on the girl. If you can get them for a reasonably cheap price, they are worth it!


Lapbook
To create a Josefina lapbook we used mini books from Homeschool Share's free download and created several of our own using their lapbook templates.



The American Girl sticker embellishments were bought at Michael's with a 40% off coupon, and we cut out a few pictures from an American Girl catalogue.

Timeline and Map
We placed Josefina on our timeline and map using the same American Girl stickers that we used in our lapbook.



Because Caroline was not in the sticker book we had to use a cut out from a catalogue, which makes her a bit of a giant!

Foods
For a delicious afternoon snack we made two recipes that can be found in Josefina's Cook Book and in Josefina Just for Fun. The cookies are bizcochitos, which are New Mexico's state cookie. (Hum, maybe we'll make these again when we study New Mexico?!) They call for anise seed, which I dutifully bought, opened, realized that it smells like black licorice, and decided to omit it from the recipe. Yes, the authenticity was gone, but I doubt anyone would have liked them if I used it. The New Mexico Hot Cocoa was made to a T and it was delicious.


Craft
Using instructions from Josefina's Craft Book the kids made coil pots. We still need to paint them... which will probably never happen at this point :).



Online Games
Finally, we played a Josefina game at americangirl.com!

Be saints, it's worth it!
Lisa

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ideas for Classically Catholic Memory: Delta Year: Week 3

Classically Catholic Memory: Delta Year: Week 3
I'm blogging my way through our four year curriculum program so I don't forget everything that worked for us! Please feel free to use what works for your family and share in the comments anything you would add. For more on Classically Catholic Memory go here.

Religion
As our memory work continues to revolve around the sacraments, we continue to work on our Sacraments books with the addition of Holy Orders and Matrimony.

Lesson 1:
For Holy Orders we used another free printout from Look to Him and Be Radiant. Everything you need is right at that link with the exception to the bishop miter. You can follow my directions for making a miter here! (Just cut the dimensions in half so it will fit in your book.)


Don't forget to download the answers for the inside of the Holy Orders flap :).


While the kids worked I taught them about the Holy Orders from The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism (No.1) - Lesson 34 (pgs 163-166) and then they listened to two kid's sermons on vocations from Angel Food: The Tablet without a Name and How to be a Cowboy.

Lesson 2:
For Matrimony I used another free print out from Look to Him and be Radiant (she's so awesome!), had the kids color a picture of a couple getting married (page 3 on the link) from Bible Kids, and made a craft from Catholic Inspired. For the craft (left side) I let the kids pick how many kids they wanted. They both picked all 12. Bean wanted one boy and 11 girls, while Pal split them evenly with six boys and six girls.


And of course, while they worked we read about Matrimony from The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism (No.1) - Lesson 35 (pgs 167-169).

Latin
Over the next few weeks we will be memorizing O Salutaris Hostia. The kids will be learning it from the Delta year CD, this youtube, and this youtube by my CCM friend's talented husband!

History

Lesson 1:
This week's history sentence focuses on the south's history with Mexico, so we completed a quick unit on Josefina. I'll link to the plans once I post them.


Lesson 2:
We also learned about the California Gold Rush by reading Gold Fever! and Striking it Rich to the kids. This would have been an awesome week to go panning for gold, but we've done it enough in the past, so I didn't make it a priority, but you should!


Science

Lesson 1:
It was all things xylem and phloem this week for science, which course called for some classic experiments!


First we let some celery soak in blue dye so we could identify xylem tissue.


Then we created a rainbow of dyes for some white carnations to soak up.


Didn't they turn out lovely?



Here is the trick: Call a florist about a week ahead of when you will need your carnations. Ask them when they will receive their next shipment of carnations and see if they will leave a bunch dry packed for you to pick up on the morning that the shipment arrives.

Basically, when flowers arrive they are dehydrated from being dry packed and when a florist puts them in water they soak up a ton of H2O in about 30 minutes to rehydrate. So if you can get them dry packed, they'll soak up all of your dyed water, which will give you some pretty dramatic results in about 24 hours.

Of course I used the CCM Teachers Text to explain what all of the above means, and then we finished off the lesson by adding a new booklet (I used page 4 of this link to create it) to our botany books with this week's science question, and then we watched some segments from Rock N' Learns Life Science DVD (here's the part on xylem and phloem... the song is a bit unfortunate in my opinion), and then... just kidding, that was all.


Lesson 2:
Our second lesson was simply simple.


We talked about tree rings and bark...


and then the kids did some Magic Treehouse style sketching in their botany books.


Math 
I didn't come up with anything new for learning the multiples of 5 this week, so check out my post on 20+ games for teaching the multiples for some inspiration!


Timeline

Lesson 1:
You can also pick your favorite timeline game from my archives!


Lesson 2:
We pulled out our Timeline Book from last year and I had the kids find this weeks cards in the book.

And if you are a timeline actions kind of family, you can find actions for each of the cards on my friend Virginia's youtube channel.

Geography
Delta year geography begins with the memorization of South American countries and features. This week we located Brazil and several rivers, including the Amazon. Here are some books that we read: The Amazon River, Afternoon on the Amazon, and A True Book: Brazil.


We also began watching Wild South America, which is free with our Amazon Prime membership. (Have I ever mentioned that I DON'T get commission if you link through and buy something I recommend? It's illegal in my state. Just wanted you to know... not that there is anything wrong with Amazon Affiliates.) Episode 2 is dedicated to the Amazon River, and is quite fascinating!

Great Words I
We began memorizing The Turtle by Vachel Lindsay this week. It's a pretty simple poem and I think the kids already memorized the whole thing. Check out youtube 1 and youtube 2 to watch it and you can find it in Playtime Rhymes (with cute hand motions!) and A Children's Treasury of Poems.


Be saints, it's worth it!
Lisa


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Journey Across America: Missouri

This post is part of a 50 state Journey Across America. For information on the basics of this project check out this post.

The Books:
We began by reading S is for Show Me and then Bean used the information she learned to make a notebook page for her United States scrapbook.

We also read several Missouri themed books.

Most kids are fascinated with the history of the Pony Express route, which departed from Missouri. Reading Pony Express! was a great way to capture the short lived, but long remembered history of the Pony Express. Bean also read Classic Start's Huckleberry Finn, Little House Chapter Book's Missouri Bound and Horse Diaries' Koda. Missouri was an excellent state for literature!


And, per usual, we taught the kids about Missouri using the Our United States of America: Catholic Social Studies textbook.

The Food:
When Missouri hosted the World's Fair in 1904 several new foods were invented, or so they claim. Included on this list were toasted ravioli and the ice cream cone.


Rather than deep fat fry these puppies, I baked them. Here's how:

  • Boil a container of refrigerated cheese ravioli for 3 minutes
  • Dip them in a mixtures of 1/4 c. milk and 1 egg
  • Coat them with italian breadcrumbs
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes
  • Serve with warm red sauce
They are delicious, yet the meal still called for ice cream cones, because no reason is a good reason to pass on an ice cream cone.... at least most of the time.


The Craft:
How do you not do something for the St. Louis Arch during Missouri week? It would have been cool if I had bought this St. Louis Arch 3-D puzzle, but, I went the cheap route and gave the kids card-stock and foil to build their own.

Bean gave her's an airplane, sun, cloud floating above.


Pal gave his some grass and the Missouri river below. Why, oh why, do I ever buy Easter grass?


From here we will be journeying to Arkansas next!

Be saints, it's worth it!
Lisa

Monday, September 29, 2014

Updated October Feast Days

I've added several new links to my October Feast Days Post for 2014! Happy Celebrating!


Be saints, it's worth it!
Lisa

Sunday, September 28, 2014

American Girl Unit Studies: Kirsten

We are studying our way through the American Girl historical characters as we learn American history. I've coordinated these units to work with the history sentences we are memorizing with the Classically Catholic Memory program. (I'm blogging about that too!) Kirsten lines up with week 2 of delta year.

(I have lesson plans for KayaFelicity, and Caroline, check em out!)

Kirsten Unit Study


Fiction Books


Six Book Boxed Set
The Runaway Friend
Kirsten's Short Story Collection

Non-Fiction Book


Welcome to Kirsten's World

Lapbook
We used mini books from Homeschool Share's free download and Currclick's download to create a Kirsten lapbook. The Currclick's download was literally the WORST lapbook I've ever seen, don't buy it!!! I used 3 mini-books from it, because I paid $1.25 for the download and I wanted to get something out of it! The rest of the mini-books I had to create on my own using Homeschool Share's lapbook templates.



The American Girl sticker embellishments were bought at Michael's with a 40% off coupon.

Timeline and Map
We placed Kirsten on our timeline and map using the same American Girl stickers that we used in our lapbook.



Foods
We made two fun treats from Kirsten's Cook Book: pepparkakor cookies...


and homemade applesauce.


Drama
Thanks to the Kirsten Theater Kit, we put on a very simple Kirsten play. We just read from the scripts and used makeshift props. I'm so thankful for all of the wonderful resources that the Pleasant Company put out... before they sold to Mattel, it's kind of sad.


Craft
In the Kirsten Craft Book there are directions for making a pioneer braided rug, which is just what we did.


Online Games
There used to be some great online games for Kirsten at americangirl.com, but recently they did away with Kirsten on their site. Silly, Mattel. I wrote them a letter (okay, it was an email, but I let them know my disappointment.)

Next up we will be studying Josephina!

Be saints, it's worth it!
Lisa