Outside my window… 
We keep spotting a couple birds sitting on the edge of one of the hanging flower baskets.  I just realized, after seeing the mess on the deck, that they are actually taking the lining to build a nest somewhere!

I am thinking…        
about Legos.  The new catalog arrived on Saturday morning, almost immediately after I had told the boys that I didn’t want them to look at any Lego catalogs that they find in the mailbox for the next couple months. (Basically until after our summer birthdays.)  It was pure torture for them to carry it up the driveway and hand it over to me without peeking at “Over 60 New Sets!” They have been obedient though, and it will be fun for them to discover a couple new sets without having seen them first.  Now to decide which to purchase… Snuggles had asked for a “Lone Ranger” themed birthday (without knowing that there are new Lone Ranger Legos!) so that’s easy, but the hard part is choosing which of the new Lord of the Rings Lego Sets to choose for Captain who has asked for a LOTR themed birthday… I also love the new Coast Guard Patrol Set, and the Treehouse Creator Set, and the new Castle sets…  It’s a good thing I’ve been saving up my Amazon Visa Reward points!  Still there are just way too many options!  How am I ever going to make up my mind? 😉  

I am thankful… 
that I have been able to sell almost all of our Teaching Textbooks materials on Cathswap!  (All I have left is the workbook for TT #7.)  Now I can put that money towards all the new school books I have been purchasing for next year!

Learning all the time 
tomorrow we have our last meeting with our charter school ES followed by an End-of-the-Year party at the park.  We have already finished up nearly all of our studies for the year and our “school” days this week consist of assembling a few unfinished Lap Books.  (The younger ones are finishing up their Papal Lap Books and the older boys just finished their Industrial Revolution Lap Books.)  Over the summer we plan to study WWII and the 20th Century, continue with Math and Spelling 3-4 times a week (to get a head start for next year), and I will also continue Primary Arts of Language with Snuggles.

Snuggles playing the “Short-e or Short-i” game this afternoon

Celebrating the liturgical year 
The month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart and this coming Friday is the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.  We are planning on attending morning Mass and then decorating cookies in the afternoon.  We’ll also decorate some for Saturday’s feast in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

From the kitchen… 
lots of tamales!  Our parish youth group had a fundraiser on Sunday and we ended up purchasing a couple dozen.

I am working on… 
a post with pictures of the boys’ Civil War Lap Books… Sometimes taking the pictures and blogging about our projects seems like more work than the actual projects themselves! 😉

I am creating… 
Summer Bingo Cards!

I am going… 
to take all the empty ink cartridges I’ve been saving to Staples tomorrow, to recycle for rewards, after our Dentist appointments.

I am hoping… 
to carve out some time over the next few evenings to work on my next submission for the Catholic Digest Celebrate/Quiet Moments section.  My deadline is this coming Monday and I haven’t started yet!         I’m also hoping to have a chance to read the June/July/August Issue.  My copy disappeared and I finally found it in Rose’s bedroom.  She loves this last edition for some reason!

I am praying… 
for a couple dear friends.

I am reading… 
The Saint and his Bees!  This sweet book was written by Dessi Jackson, an Eastern Rite Catholic and online friend.   It is about the Celtic St. Modomnoc (Little Dominick) of Ossory and his work as a beekeeper.

I purchased a copy of the book when it was first available on Amazon last week (It wasn’t on sale when I placed my order, but it is now!) and I have already making plans for some Saintly Summer Fun incorporating the tale of this saint!

Pondering these words…
from Blessed John Paul II:

“In the Sacred Heart every treasure of wisdom and knowledge is hidden. In that Divine Heart beats God’s infinite love for everyone, for each one of us individually.” 

I am listening…  
to Sean read another chapter from Snow Treasure.  They all love it when their Dad reads to them before bed.

Around the house… 
lots of library books!  I just requested a few more, including Keep the Lights Burning Abbie for the girls to read as a followup to their study of Maine.  (Thank you for the recommendation KelLee!) 

One of my favorite things…  
boxes of new school books!  This box just arrived from Sacred Heart Books and Gifts.  I’ve been reading through the Classically Catholic Memory Alpha Year Teacher’s Manual and so far I am loving it all and looking forward to implementing it next year.

This week’s plans…

Wednesday :: Tutor for an hour in the morning, End-of-the-Year School Party at the park, and four more Dental appointments in the afternoon.
Friday :: Morning Mass on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Saturday :: Young Hunters Day
Sunday :: Sunday Mass

A little peek at the last two mornings…


  1. 9peasMom

    I love the idea of a Lone Ranger Birthday party with the surprise Lego set to match! I'm copying your and Charlotte's Hobbit birthday ideas for our June Birthday's, my oldest got the role of Gandalf and #5 got Balin in our local theater's production of 'The Hobbit' so it is perfect! Thank you for always sharing your great ideas!
    BTW, the travel/trip journals turned out to be so helpful in occupying little ones for such a long trip this past weekend.

  2. TheRoznowskis

    Do you think you could do a post on recommended religious materials i.e. great books to teach catechesis/faith/the bible/saints/Mass parts etc? My husband and I have our first child (8 months old) and are scouring the internet for some resources. I was wondering what you do for 0-5 years old, 5-10 etc? I was hoping this would be beneficial to several others as well.

  3. Anonymous

    I am trying to decide what program to use with my five year old next year. From your blog, I see you use All About Reading with our younger son. Is the game he is playing with (short e and I) one of the activities All About Reading supplies? I am just trying to get a feel as to the extra items they supply. Are you pretty happy with the program?
    Thanks, Debora

  4. Marie

    Thank you for including the picture of that short e and i game. It is part of Primary Arts of Language right? Or is it All About Reading? Did you make the game or did it come with the program? I would love to hear/see more details if you have a chance. I haven't been able to decide between the two programs.

  5. Jessica Gordon

    I'm so glad you liked the trip journals! I had nearly forgotten about them, since it's been over 5 years since we made ours! My children still have them though! How neat for your boys to be able to participate in the theater production of 'The Hobbit!" And your upcoming birthdays sound like fun! I'm hoping to incorporate some more of Charlotte's ideas here too! 🙂

  6. Jessica Gordon

    We used some of All About Readings Pre-Reading program and did like everything we have used. However, back in January, since I was so happy with the IEW materials we were using for the older children, and since I was already using the Writing portion of Primary Arts of Language, I purchased the Reading portion as well. So the game pictured is actually from Primary Arts of Language (PAL). The short-e and short-i game pictured in this post is actually one of the games I made to go along with PAL. The Phonetic Games Book (which comes with the complete reading program) is a spiral bound book containing everything you need to prepare file-folder games to reinforce the phonetic rules that are presented in the reading program. My little guy LOVES all the games and has been learning so much! I have been very happy with the program. I do still plan to continue using some of the materials from All About Reading, as well as All About Spelling, in addition to PAL. They are both excellent programs!

  7. Jessica Gordon

    Congratulations on your first child! How exciting!! I'll have to think about that what I would include in a post of our favorite resources… You can find most of what we used throughout the archives here, though I don't think I have very many lists of recommendations, except when it comes to certain feast days and a list of some of what we have used for First Holy Communion preparation. I will keep that in mind. 🙂

  8. Jessica Gordon

    Yes, it is part of PAL. (I responded in a little more detail to Debora above.) I did take quite a few pictures while I was working with my little guy yesterday and will try and share them sometime soon, to give you all a closer look at PAL.

    Here is what I wrote in the comments during a recent discussion on PAL vs AAR:

    It's hard to compare AAR vs. PAL since I haven't used the whole AAR program, just parts of Pre-Level 1.

    I LOVE the AAR Pre-Level 1 Activity Book which we've incorporated into the Alphabet Path, Ziggy the Zebra is always a hit, and we liked both of the books. Zigzag zebra is an ABC book and Lizard Lou is a collection of poems. These books are black and white illustrations but they are both great. I'm actually considering starting AAR Pre-Level 1 with Rose for Pre-school, to introduce the alphabet and get her ready to start PAL in Kindergarten. (You really don't need a program for this, but I love having it all in one place ready to go.) PAL goes much more quickly into advanced phonograms, where as AAR Pre-1 is a very gentle introduction.

    I fully intended to continue with AAR for Snuggles, since I also use AAS for the younger grades. However, after loving the other products from IEW for my older children, and since I was using the writing portion of PAL already, I looked over a local friends copy of PAL I decided to give it a try. It was much less expensive than purchasing the remaining levels of AAR.

    It did take some work to create all the games, but it is so well laid out and my little guy has been learning so much. Plus the games have all been a hit! I love that it incorporates poetry memorization, journaling, story time, phonics, spelling, narration, and is a complete Language Arts program. I think it is going to give him an excellent foundation. PAL does seem to move rather quickly, and each lesson has taken a lot of reinforcement before we are able to move on, but since it is a complete program for grades K-2 we have plenty of time.

    I also used the PAL Writing portion for my 2nd grader last year. It wasn't very challenging for her, but she did enjoy the projects – like creating the "A to Z Who/Which Project" (For each letter she wrote a sentence "A is for _____ who/which _________") She made her whole book (I gave her a 26 page blank book for the project) based on American Girl Dolls, and she had so much fun.

    Really I don't think you could go wrong with either program – they both seem like very solid programs for teaching children to read. I definitely see us continuing to use a combination of both PAL and AAR/AAS.

  9. Erin

    I'd love to know what you think of the Classically Catholic Memory stuff… I have read a bit about it and it sounded intriguing!! I also am eyeing that Thornton Burgess Smiling Pool Stories book… I hadn't heard of that one before, and my kids love the other things we have read by him!

  10. Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and thank you for your willingness to help others. Your blog is wonderful and has been so very helpful. This was my first year homeschooling my boys..11, 9 and preschool. Your blog has been instrumental! God bless!

  11. Anonymous

    Oh I agree!! You have accumulated such a vast set of resources over the years. Maybe you could pick like 2-3 books for exploring the Masses/a Saints book etc for the littles, or even early elementary years. I love your list of December Saints books. I too just don't know where to start. I have read many of your book lists, but I am overwhelmed by the number of sheer books you are blessed with.

  12. Julie

    I've jotted down some of the books Jessica has recommended for little ones over the years — they are wonderful! Some are Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler, the Father Lovasik books (there are lots but you can start with the picture books of saints and the Childrens' Catholic Bible) and The Year and Our Children. So many great recommendations on Shower of Roses!

  13. Anonymous

    One of my guys used to climb up on the train table to play in the same way – used to make me anxious – wasn't the most expensive model shall we say – and I was convinced he was going to go straight through it! My boys would have such a hard time not looking at the Lego catalog! I had to call them and ask that they send two – as we would end up with drama because the 3 boys couldn't all look at it in comfort! Lego was kind enough to do so.

  14. Anonymous

    One can see your name on the pictures from Digest. I just thought if you're using nicknames and if you have removed the age of children, maybe showing full name isn't the best idea ?

  15. Jessica Gordon

    The ages are only removed temporarily as we work on updating that section of the sidebar with new nicknames.


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Father in heaven, grant me the grace to appreciate the dignity which you have conferred on me. Let me realize that not even the Angels have been blessed with such a privilege—to share in your creative miracle and bring new Saints to heaven. Make me a good mother to all my children after the example of Mary, the Mother of your Son. Through the intercession of Jesus and Mary I ask your continued blessings on my family. Let us all be dedicated to your service on earth and attain the eternal happiness of your kingdom in heaven. Amen.

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Hi! I'm Jessica, a Roman Catholic wife and home educating mother to our nine children. I was home educated myself, along with my eleven younger siblings. I have a special devotion to St. Therese, through whom I have been given much help and many blessings--the beautiful "Shower of Roses" that she has sent my way! Here I will record a few of the blessings I treasure. Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

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