Monday, September 16, 2013

Catholic Homeschooling

I had always said that being a teacher is not for me. Being organized does not usually come naturally to me and to be a teacher you have to be very organized. But when I had my children and started to think about their schooling and homeschooling was an option that I thought of. Of course I thought I could never actually be the one to do the schooling. Perhaps my husband could or something. Eventually I came around to the possibility of me teaching my kids. I once spoke to someone who said "I can at least do as good of a job as most of the grade school teachers out there". Well that made me think about it. I may not be a formally trained teacher, but I care very much for my children (more than any teacher would) and I care very much for their education. I can be taught simple things and I should be able to teach my children those as well. I guess I realized that I could teach them when I started realizing that I AM teaching them all the time! Playing and just informing them about simple things. I realized that maybe I can give it a try.

I work full time though, and for now I am not in the position to stop this. I might try to go part time in the future, hopefully. Is it even possible to homeschool and work full time? A quick internet search about this led me to think that it was not really possible because most people make a face when I ask if I can do this and say " would be really tough...". Pretty much every one I know that home schools has a mother that stays home. This, I'm sure, is ideal. I hear that preschool (which is not necessary) and kindergarten and maybe even 1st grade are pretty low key. They do not take hours a day to teach the children.

So here I am which my preschool aged daughter and I am going to try my hand at preschool while working full time and see how it goes. I have completed one successful week of this. I decided to use Mater Amabilis as my guide because if someone else tells me how to organize myself, I think I have a chance at organization. I basically tailored their ideas to my amount of time and schedule. I also am using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I am surprised that this book, though it may be intended for children older than her, seems to be working out well! She is moving through it slower than expected (due to attention span and my limited time constraints) but she is moving along! I also do simple counting activities with her for math and we read books that are suggested in the book Catholic Mosaic (recommended on Mater Amabilis' web site) which has books that have themes that relate to parts of the Catholic calendar. I just make our bed time story time a part of her schooling. This seems to be working!

I pray that I will be successful with this simple exercise. We have an Au Pair currently watching her during the day and I will attempt to have her do activities during the day that reinforce the learning we did together. I'll keep you posted on how it all goes! God is good! =D

Friday, September 6, 2013

Other hair styles: Braids

I loved this style a lot. Unfortunately the twists in the back don't last all that long. I might try the same front with a different style in the back and see how it holds up.

This is a style that I am very happy with how long it lasts me. Holds up pretty well.

This was a last minute flat twists in the front before church.

Pretty pig tails

Yes, it took me forever. Seems to be about 2 hours for me.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

White board recycling

I wasn't sure if it was possible, but I am now a believer that you really can salvage a white board!
This is how a white board started out which someone was going to throw away, so I had high hopes of salvaging it and scoring a nice white board for free. By the way, all the markings you see here (including the dark ones) were not able to erase at all!

After scouring the internet I came across some solutions that involved things I already had. First was toothpaste. I figured any flavor should be ok. I used some yucky cinnamon toothpaste that was really old and had been sitting around for emergencies when I ran out. I used a postpartum undie from the hospital that I never used...What?? It was clean!

Started gently scrubbing and praying

When I saw this, my eyes widened with wild excitement....IT'S GONNA WORK!!!

It didn't take long, and this was what I got. I realized, though, that there was old electric tape that I couldn't remove (Used to make a neat graph originally)

Again, the solution I found that involved something I already had was using cooking oil (I guess any kind, so I used canola)

I just poured a little on the tape...

And used the same cloth to scrub....aaaand it came off a little....not much...

At that point I was getting impatient, because I had gotten too far to be held back by some sticky tape! Yes, so I carefully pulled out the scrub sponge, understanding that I was taking a risk of scratching the surface and causing permanent damage.

BUT IT WORKED! Look how beautiful it is! A lovely feels-like-new white board. I was so excited that I looked on Craigslist to see if there were any bigger ones around that someone was giving away (thinking that it was ruined). Yep, now I feel like the white board restorer! It really was pretty easy!

I decided to try another easy solution I saw on the internet. I had red dry erase markings that would not erase. I heard you can just write over the original and THEN it will easily erase.

It worked!!! I would have done back flips if I physically could. (Have you ever wanted to do that even though you can't?)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hair styles for beautiful black toddler hair

Hair styles for beautiful black girls! Of course they are all beautiful! So here are a couple styles that I tried to keep her hair out and show off her lovely curls. First I tried to do some bantu knot twists to see if it would look good the next day after I untwist. I didn't like how it turned out....

The problem was that even though I did what was suggested over the internet to avoid the lines I made to put the knots in, they still showed. I used a comb and tried to comb the root some to get the lines to disappear but this just dd not work. Plus, it really didn't last day was looking like it wanted to start dreading. I'm trying to find low maintenance styles! So they I did a style that I try not to do, but works very nicely! I just use rubber bands (this is why I try not to do it....don't want to break and strain the hair). I was at my parent's house so I didn't have my normal hair stuff with me. I ran to Target and was going to buy the Curls products that I usually use ( While I was there though I ended up buying Kinky-Curly Curing Custard ( and their curling custard as well. I used this on her hair and her curls looked beautiful!!! I was really happy actually! Looked much more natural.

The pictures above by the way are on day two (and taken by Danielle at Corby Photography-Fantastic photographer by the way! search for them on Facebook at So I decided, for Easter, I would try to let her hair out with just a couple little braids for the front and see how it looks. I just wet it, added the conditioner, gently combed through it and then worked through it with the Kinky-Curly Curing Custard. These are the results on day 2!

I am very happy with these results! I can see her beautiful curls and it seems to be holding up ok! I'm even happier because these are her natural curls. I will keep up with my adventures in black toddler hair experimentation! =)

Monday, March 11, 2013

First hair post

My baby girl, Celeste is now two and a half. When I was little I remember wishing that my hair was pretty, long and, well, like white people's! It was later in my adult life that I came to love my own hair and love the incredible beauty of black hair. The dainty, delicate curls that make up thick healthy natural hair. It's now becoming trendy to keep your hair natural. When I was younger most people permed/relaxed their hair (including me) to straighten it. I now proudly wear my own curls.

I was so excited when my little girl was born. Honestly one of my earliest thoughts for her were of how much I will find joy in decorating her pretty natural curls. She was my little, living doll! I am still continuing on the journey of how best to do her hair. I would like to share little things I am picking up and style ideas (cause I am always struggling to get ideas) for the lovely natural hair she was so blessed with. I have a few pictures of a really pretty style I found on the blog Chocolate hair, Vanilla Care:
I am constantly looking for a hair style that I won't have to do anything with for at least one week.

First be sure to have a good distraction. Video of her baby cousin usually works!

For instructions on how to do this beautiful and surprisingly easy style see the link above!

I loved how this one turned out and it kept very well for the week!

Laetare Sunday

It's been a while since I posted. In the meantime i have been collecting lots of photos for specific posts I've wanted to share.
Yesterday happened to be Laetare Sunday. At our church I can't emphasize enough how beautiful it was. It was a striking difference from lent.
I am no expert, but this is what our priest told us Laetare Sunday is in a nutshell: An old tradition that in the middle of Lent, those that have been avidly denying themselves and sacrificing can have a break. It also, I imagine more importantly, let's us know that we are halfway to Easter and we do a little almost there celebration.
The difference was so striking. The normally bare altar (during Lent) was adorned with beautiful roses. The priests were wearing the rose color (not pink!!! as everyone says). The knights of columbus were there in their formal garb and carrying their little swords or whatever those are they commandingly led the procession and lined the aisle up to the altar with authority and strength, raising their sword things respectfully at the consecration of the host (changing of the bread and wine to the body and blood of Jesus Christ). A full choir sang (which we don't normally have unfortunately), and there was a nice quartet of strings and a trumpet playing. seemed almost as celebratory as Easter mass (which I am interested to see how this church will top Laetare Sunday for Easter vigil!!!).
The Holy Spirit was thick there with our priest's homily. Just amazing, really taking about repentance and God's incredible love for us. The Gospel was about the prodigal son. We finished it all off with a Holy Spirit led prayer group meeting which we have every Sunday afternoon. God led us in prayer and word that he loves to watch us as we love to watch our little children run and play. My little girl, Celeste, was there and everyone was delighting in watching her. They noted how wonderful it is to love as a child as she climbed into everyone's laps and gave them hugs and kisses.
How blessed we are. Laetare Sunday was incredible for me. I hope it was for everyone else too.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Learning Spanish

Second week of working with Celeste was different. Instead of doing a memory verse, I chose to try to speak purely in Spanish to her on 2 nights. I speak Spanish fluently (though I did learn it as a second language)> I have mostly been very focused on trying to teach her Fanti. This is my father and husband's tribal language in Ghana, West Africa. The problem is that I do not speak this fluently. I know phrases and some words. I have been teaching her pretty much everything I know in Fanti, which is really not that much. My husband has some trouble keeping himself speaking purely to her because he is quite frankly, more comfortable expressing himself in English since he was formally taught in English both in Ghana and the US and he certainly speaks it most of the time here. Also, of course, I don't understand everything he is saying so this makes it tough to not be tempted to switch back to English. I remember pestering my father when I was in high school and college. "Why didn't you ever speak to me in Fante??? I wish I could speak another language. It's all your fault I don't speak anything but English!" I would immaturely say. I always did wish that I could speak another language back then. I recently got images in my head of Celeste at age 13 saying the same thing to me "You speak Spanish! Why didn't you ever speak to me so I could learn!" I felt really bad. This hit me even more when we recently visited a Spanish only speaking couple's home. I was conversing with them in Spanish of course and Celeste walks up. They started to greet her in Spanish and turn to me, "Does she speak Spanish?" " guess I've been focused so much on teaching her my husband's language that I don't do any Spanish at all." I would say. I don't know what the right approach to this is. I know that I am finding it challenging to teach her a language that I myself am not comfortable with. My husband is interested in learning Spanish, so I suppose we could try as a family, but I did try once during dinner preparation time to speak only in Spanish to them both and he would just turn to me annoyed and say "I don't know what you're saying".  Aaaah...of course it's going to be harder for an "old dog" to learn compared to the young little sponge I have.

Well, the short bit of Spanish only time with just Celeste was mostly during bath/bedtime. It was incredible how much she understood just by my intonation and gestures. The most amazing reward was that at the end of the week, I think a couple days after the last time I spoke to her in Spanish I was bathing her again and she turned to the tub where I had just unplugged the drain and said "Bye bye agua" (water) I was so surprised! She retained this word after just teaching her. Again, I don't know the proper way to do this, but it looks like even the smallest most pitiful effort on my part will yield some results. I guess that's how I'm taking this entire working full time and trying to preschool my daughter thing. Every little bit is better than nothing.....

Friday, January 11, 2013

First week

Well the first week has gone by. Celeste DID learn Matthew 22:37! She usually has to kind of say it with me but she does the arm motions and know what comes next! It is really thrilling to see!!

Monday I came home and did some coloring and a maze or two with the Kumon book which my friend told me about. I also started the memory verse with her. We tried to get her to recognize the color red.

Tuesday we had our first swim "lesson". It was us playing in the water. She really LOVED it! I was so surprised when the instructor said "Kick your feet Celeste!" and she DID!

Wednesday I did more of the Kumon books and went through some different colors and then I did an activity with her that I saw in a book that given to me. We made a sock with old couscous in it (man, I've been saying I was going to make it for so long! Ah well...) and then tied the top. An open box was set a slight distance away. Her job is to toss the sock into the box. She really enjoyed it and progressed quickly and was able to move farther away!

Thursday I worked until late so I just reviewed colors with her while taking a bath before bed.

Friday I really wanted to take her to the museum as I am *supposed* to get out of work at 1pm latest, but this was delayed today. Instead I just let her play with our good friend's and their two children about her age. She loves playing with them! Many Fridays she gets her only real play time with other children, which is when my friend watched her. She had a lot of fun. I felt sad that I couldn't bring her to the museum but my goal is to do some activities this weekend outside hopefully!

I really am unsure if this is "enough" for a 2 year old for the humble beginnings of preschooling. I am not doing very much but I figure a child her age doesn't need hours of structured learning. She really does not know her colors which disappoints me but I am sure that persistence and repitition is the key.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Memory verse

This week's verse is going to be Matthew 22:37 =D

First post

This is to be a seperate blog just about some things that I am learning as a Catholic mama and would like to share with others who are interested in the same things. I find myself looking over so many other's blogs and feel inspired to post my own ideas too!

Today I am starting memory verses with my little daughter Celeste. I will try to focus on one verse a week. It came to mind when I was looking at an activity book and they suggested repeating a nursery rhyme (like "Humpty Dumpty" for instance) over an over so they can memorize it. I'm thinking, why would I want her to memorize that?? Why not God's holy word!! I was so excited and quickly found things on the internet.

Above is one nice web site with coloring pages and hand movements and all. I am excited to try this out. Will try to follow up with feedback on how it works out!