Archive - May 2007

I moved again!
Be Right Back
Welcome to the new Mac and Cheese Chronicles!
Corner of the Dining Room
First Communion
A Tough Day
On Being a Catholic Using Sonlight
Corners of My Home
Preparing for the Feast
In My Garden

I moved again!

Well, I made the switched to WordPress and hopefully this will be my last ever blog move. The only way to reach this blog now is

Here is the correct feed for the new location: which should work with Bloglines, Google reader or which ever feed reader makes you happy. Thanks for sticking with me.

I think I’ll like my new home. Almost everything is moved over, I just need to hang some pictures – literally- and paint and put up curtains. As soon as I get it all figured out, it’ll pretty much look like my old blog or better.

Be Right Back

I’m working on some changes here at the ol’ Mac and Cheese Chronicles. Stay with me, I’ll be right back!

If you’re reading this on a feedreader, you might want to mark this post  Keep As New or star it or something.  If you don’t see a new post from me by Friday (5-18), then click here: The Mac and Cheese Chronicles for an update.  Thanks

Corner of the Dining Room

For my first Cluttered Corner of My Home, I picked a fairly easy one. This is a corner of my dining room:



Doesn’t everyone store extra TVs on their dining room floor? And isn’t that the loveliest flooring you’ve ever seen?

This little space took me about a week, but it was a very busy week and I wasn’t able to work on it every day. My husband was very helpful and would even volunteer to get that corner done. I couldn’t have done it without his help and motivation.

So here it is now:

Same lovely walls and floor, but the mess is gone! The cuckoo clock was in one of the boxes stored here, so we hung it up and got it going again. We made a huge effort not to just move things around but to actually put them away. Wow, what a concept! In doing so, we needed to make room for that little TV and as a result, a totally different corner got cleaned up, too.

Just one less eyesore in our house and hearing our cuckoo clock after 6 months of it being in a box is literally music to our ears!

First Communion

Boo made his First Holy Communion yesterday. I could try to say something insightful and poignant, but I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. I do want to say that we were very blessed to have my parents and my cousin here with us. And of our little Catholic homeschooling group, 3 of the families had First Communicants and the other families came to the same Mass in support. It was so special to be surrounded by the important people in Boo’s life.


I hung up our Easter garden flag for the day. Boo had a new suit, complete with a cross tie-tack from my grandma. Pumpkin Girl looks more and more like me every day. Bip is looking like a proud member of the toddler maffia. He refused to wear any other shoes but his red Mickey Mouse crocs.


Boo was delightfully surprised to find that his banner was actually hanging right up front. You can see part of it on the left.



A Tough Day

We started off Thursday sort of early and with much dread and anticipation.  It was the day scheduled for Bip’s renal ultrasound and voiding cystogram (VCUG).  We were making the trek to Bethesda Naval Medical Center instead of Walter Reed because Walter Reed no longer has a pediatric radiologist.

The day started going badly when we left late, then our GPS routed us through DC before we realized what was happening.  Our first appointment was later than we thought it was and so managed to arrive on time anyway.  We were then kept waiting for an hour.  Let me remind you that Bip is only 21 months old.

Finally we are called back for the ultrasound.  Bip doesn’t want his shirt removed, doesn’t want to lie down, doesn’t like the gel.  He’s screaming and kicking and writhing and saying, "Mama!  Ow!"  The tech finishes up and leaves to consult the doctor.  We clean up and comfort Bip.  The tech returns and tells us he needs more pictures.  Here we go again…This little scene is played out 3 more times, screaming toddler, tech leaves, we calm down Bip, tech returns for more pictures.  Forty-five minutes later and Bip is fervently pointing to the door and signing "all done."  The tech tells us that the "super doppler" he is using picks up every motion and he needs the baby to be still.  Philip and I both said, "That’s not going to happen.  We’re done."

Nobody seems to be able to tell us where to go for our next appointment.  It’s usually done in radiology, so that’s where we go.  We check in, an hour late of course, and sit down to wait.  We give Bip some juice and a snack and he settles down.  We’re there about 15 minutes when they decide we actually need to be at nuclear medicine, which is right around the corner from ultrasound.


At nuclear medicine we are informed that we need to go to pediatrics where they will insert a catheter into Bip, then return with him to nuclear medicine for the rest of the test. 

I can only imagine the looks on our faces.

Philip was so stunned that he said to the guy, "Let me get this straight.  You want us to go to peds, get the catheter put in, which is going to cause him to scream and kick, then walk back down the hall, take the elevator back up to this floor and come back here?"

Oh yes, we were informed, that’s how they always do it.  And we were assured that they would tape it to Bip’s leg.

Now, this will be the 5th VCUG done on one of our children, and I even had them done as a child and NOT ONCE have they ever inserted the catheter in a different room than where the test is done.

Would it be acceptable to have an adult have a catheter inserted, then wander around the hospital to a different location for the test?  I don’t think so.  It shouldn’t be acceptable for a child, either.

But we bravely went to pediatrics.  It was now noon.  We were informed by the receptionist that the nurse was at lunch and to return in an hour. Then the nurse walks by, and the receptionist called to her to confirm that she was at lunch.  The nurse said, "Yep, I’m at lunch, they’ll have to come back."  It wasn’t what she said, but how she said it.  She was so rude and disdainful that I actually said to the receptionist, "Wow, that was really rude."

Philip said, "That’s it, we’re done.  We’re leaving."

Bethesda is supposed to be the military’s premier hospital.  They may be in some areas, but not for this.  Oh, and we were told that they don’t even have a pediatric radiologist.

Thursday was a tough day for all of us, but today will be better.

On Being a Catholic Using Sonlight

I mentioned earlier that I enjoy reading the Sonlight Curriculum catalog and I know I’ve mentioned that many times that we use Sonlight. I think most of you know that we’re Catholic. Jamie asked me for advice at how to use Sonlight as a Catholic.

First, let me admit that I am not a Sonlight expert. We have used Sonlight (SL) for our entire homeschool experience which as I write this, is 4 years: pre-K through 2nd.

I love using SL because of all the wonderful books, many of which I remember fondly from my own childhood. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of them myself! I also enjoy the educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason – living books, short lessons, narrations – and the SL curriculum fits it very well.

To add to all of that wonderfulness, SL is a Christian company! Which means that their books are carefully selected to represent a Christian viewpoint. I never have to worry about the content of a SL book.

However, SL is a non-Catholic company, which I guess means that they are Protestant. OK. So we’re not going to have any books about Mary or the Saints. There are going to be very few, if any, mentions of going to Mass or priests or saying the Rosary. I’m OK with that. And I have heard, though not personally experienced for myself, that some books in later Cores are misrepresent Catholicism. We are only on Core 1, so we will deal with these issues if and when then come up. I actually think that this could lead to a good discussion about our Catholic faith and how it differs from other Christians.

I was surprised recently to read that another Catholic homeschooling mom will deliberately avoid books in the SL catalog marked with an X “because they are religious, therefore Protestant.” That got me thinking. I went and looked at the SL catalog. One of their many book annotations is an X to let you know that the book is from a Christian publisher. To me, that does not necessarily equate to a religious book, but maybe that’s semantics. I looked up which books in Pre-K, K and Core 1 were labeled with an X. Some of them weren’t surprising, a couple of them I would have given an equal chance of being from a secular publisher.

In the 3 cores that we have used, I have only excluded 2 books. One was their version of Mother Goose rhymes, which they have replaced this year. I thought it needed more pictures, and substituted the Richard Scarry version instead. The other book we didn’t read was Hero Tales, a collection of biographies of Protestant heroes. The only reason I eliminated it was because it was boring! In fact, many non-Catholics on the SL Forums eliminated this book, too, for the same reasons. I actually have no problem with my children learning about any brand of Christian heroes. All are called to do God’s work and we can learn from their examples.

Actually, that is how I approach all of SL books of a religious nature. The missionary stories have been excellent in teaching my children about the people around the world. The books have sparked discussions on how to treat people of other faiths. We have prayed for many of the peoples we read about. I have yet to find any of the books to be offensive to a Catholic. My personal opinion is that to summarily dismiss a book as being Protestant would be to miss out on many wonderful stories. Most of the time, you can never even tell the denomination of the Christian group being discussed. Those missionaries could very well be Catholic.

Now one book, Leading Little Children to God, did make mention of “the Lord’s Supper”, not meaning Mass, but – and I’m guessing here- a Protestant Eucharist service. We read it together and I simply made it clear that for us, that meant going to Mass and going to communion. Just a little tweaking in one chapter in an otherwise great children’s devotional. That chapter could even be skipped.

Another book, From Abeku to Zapotec, is a book about people without the Bible in their own language. Each page has a nice picture and maybe 2 or 3 paragraphs describing their lives. That’s it. The point of the whole book is that children pray for these people, that they may get Bibles in their own language. No need to miss out on this book just because it’s labeled with an X!

When it comes to the SL books, as a Catholic, you just need to decide for yourself what you are comfortable with. I would strongly recommend buying all the SL books in a Core(it gets you a good discount) and pre-reading the ones that may be questionable. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised. If not, that’s OK, too. You will almost certainly be able to find an acceptable substitute. Or, if your children are older, you may want to read the books anyway and discuss it from a Catholic perspective.

I do add some Catholic touches to our school. I use the Seton religious education books because I’m not completely happy with the RE classes at our church. I have the Loyola Book of Saints and Book of Heroes, which I used in place of Hero Tales and on various feast days.

I don’t really feel like every single subject needs to reflect our Catholicism. Math is math is math, you know? I use Horizons Math, which SL happens to sell, because it works for our family. The same with handwriting. We’re using Handwriting Without Tears because it works. I don’t like their cursive style, though, so I was about to switch to A Reason For Handwriting. But if my son is going to learn to cursive writing out passages from scripture, he might as well use Seton’s handwriting manual and write out Catholic Catechism. I’m rethinking this, though, as he’s really struggling with cursive. We
may go back to Handwriting Without Tears. At least he’ll be legible.

With any curriculum, you need to use what works for your family and put aside what doesn’t. There are more Catholic Sonlighters than you’d think, and you can ask for their input on the SL Forums, which you can get free access to for 30 days. I found one thread there that talked about some of the issues I’ve mentioned here: Sonlight and Catholic. There is also a Catholic Sonlighters Yahoo Group. The folks on that group would be very helpful in pointing out where things should be left out, edited or discussed.

Hopefully I’ve been helpful. Please feel free to ask more questions and I’ll try to answer as best as I can.

Corners of My Home

I have been so inspired by my success during the 30 Organizational Challenge! However, I look around my home and I am discouraged by the chaos in the other rooms. I’m wasn’t Born Organized like my mother, and having to make an emergency move right after a vacation and right before the holidays, in the middle of the school year and scouts and…well my house is way too cluttered, even for me.

I could give you a list of all the reasons why I can’t seem to get a handle on my house. But really, are they reasons or excuses? I’m not inherently lazy, though I could list a million other things I’d rather be doing than cleaning. Like blogging. I can’t just abandon it in lieu of decluttering my house! All 20 of my faithful readers would miss me too much! Not to mention that back when my internet access was gone for eleven painful days, I wasn’t exactly doing housework with all the extra time.

No, you know what the problem is? (Ok, all of you who just said “too much stuff” may stop reading this post and go watch Dr. Phil) It’s overwhelming! I look around me and I’m just at a loss. Where to start? What to do? How am I ever going to get it done?

The 30 Day Challenge wasn’t just for rooms. There was a separate challenge for small spaces. It dawned on me that I wasn’t surrounded by one gi-normous cluttered house, but just a whole lot of little cluttered corners.

Which got me thinking about some of the blogs I read and how when I first started reading them, they were posting pictures of all the wonderfully cozy corners of their home. For the life of me, I can’t remember which blogs those were (speak up if it was you!), but in trying to find them, I found SouleMama’s blog, specifically her “in my home” category.

Cozy corners…cluttered corners…

Hey, I may be a math turkey, but I can put 2 and 2 together and get 22.

So I thought that I’d start sharing the corners of my home, in all their cluttered glory. I’ll take a picture of one small space in my home which desperately needs work. I’ll set a deadline for myself to have it organized, then post the results. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

I’m a little hesitant about it. I mean, do I really want the whole internet world to see how I live? I’ve even got some friends who think I’m so organized and together (Hi Carol! Hi Jen! Hi Heidis! Hi Cheryl!). Boy, are they going to be disappointed. Hopefully, though, this will give me some accountability, and give all ya’ll some laughs and maybe even some encouragement.

Now, which corner of my home to start with?

Preparing for the Feast

Boo is finishing his final preparations before receiving his First Holy Communion. We worked together in making his banner. That was a bit tough for me – finding a balance between letting him do it himself and making sure it was going to look “good.” Part of me kept thinking, “This is his banner, his day, let him do it.” On the other hand, this banner will be displayed at church and I don’t want him looking at it and thinking it doesn’t look as good as the others.

What’s a mother to do? In the end, I asked him what he wanted the banner to look like. I sketched while he talked. I picked out the felt colors, which he approved. I drew and cut out the paper patterns, which he also approved. I asked him if he wanted to cut out the felt, he said no. He just wanted to glue the peices on, which is what he did.


His big request was a pair of praying hands holding a real rosary. I didn’t want to put a family rosary on the banner that would have to be removed later, so I said we could make a mini one. I offered to let him string the beads, but he wanted me to do it. I did trace his own hands for the pattern, though. I think the effect turned out cool.

I had to assert parental authority over his name. The guidance issued from the Religious Ed director was that the banners need to include the child’s name. Philip and I thought it best to use his real name, a nice solid, very long, Christian name. Boo wanted his banner to say “Boo.” We carefully explained that for this important event, we should use his real name. He said that if it didn’t say “Boo”, no one would know it was his. We compromised by using his real name, with “Boo” underneath.


It turned out exactly the way he wanted it.

Tonight was rehearsal for the big day. The First Communicants will dress the altar as part of the Mass. Our RE director, in all her wisdom, chose Boo to carry one of the lit hurricane lamp candles. It’ll be ok, right? Actually, this is a very touching part of the Mass. I took pictures during rehearsal, since they have requested no pictures during Mass.



(That’s Boo on the left.)

How can he be so little and so big all at the same time?

And why does the song “Sunrise, Sunset” keep playing in my head?

In My Garden

In my garden you will find…

Lots of pink



Some inspiration


A touch of whimsy

stone face












Evidence of world travels

kimchee pots
(kimchee pots from South Korea)
(pottery sun from Mexico)

Stone friends

stone cat


stone rabbits

and real friends

Memories of the past


Hope for the future


and of course,

little boys

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