Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kind of Debt Free!

As of today, except for our mortgage, we are debt free!! The goal is to stay that way. At the end of the summer last year, the air conditioner went kaput...we are hoping it can be repaired without replacing it.  Also, we are anticipating having to replace one of our vehicles within the year. We have a few other shaky the dryer and our 44 year old furnace.
So, at the moment we breathe a little easier.... knowing that it may change.... is ok. We are going to try VERY HARD not accrue any debt. We'll just have to see how that goes!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Few Random Pics

Although it seems like we were sick most of January and part of February, we did experience a few highlights;)
Charlie meets his new dog cousin, Brittany(Australian Shepherd) and introduces her to his favorite toy, Cherry.(same name as our dog who died last year)

Noah and Jonah celebrated their 15th and 13th birthdays with friends.

Charlie enjoying the mild winter weather at Oak Park in Riverside.

I remember going to Oak Park with my girl scout troop and talking about the magical forest which included the giant's bathtub.

ascending the heights

racing down the hills....ah to be young again!!! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

7 Lies about Homeschool

We found this to be pretty funny and mostly true;)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Gifted Hands

Do you want your children to be God loving, self motivated and successful? I can't guarantee that reading this book will accomplish that, but it will steer you in the right direction. 

Ben Carson's autobiography is a very honest account of his life. He grew up in the inner city making mostly F's in school and raised by a single mother who struggled with mental illness.

Even though his mother had only received a 3rd grade education, she was instrumental in turning around the lives of her 2 sons.

Ben Carson defeated the odds by eventually becoming one of the world's most successful and famous neurosurgeons. He tells the reader play by play about the small steps of forming and developing our brains and lives to be the best we are capable of  being as God has intended. His faith and trust in God is a beautiful witness to any Christian. He readily accepts and describes his gifts while giving the glory to God.

Don and I were so impressed that we have had all 3 of our older children read it...hopefully motivating them to be responsible and involved in their own formation spiritually and academically.

Btw...this is available on for $3.95 including shipping. Last I checked there were 15 copies available. I have a copy as well that I am happy to lend out, just let me know.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

EWTN Sues Government

God be with you, EWTN!!!

EWTN Sues U.S. Government

To Stop Contraception Mandate

Network Asks Court to Stop Order to Pay for Immoral Services

Irondale, AL (EWTN) – EWTN Global Catholic Network filed a lawsuit February 9 in U.S. District Court in Birmingham, Alabama against the Department of Health & Human Services, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and other government agencies seeking to stop the imposition of the contraception mandate as well as asking the court for a declaratory judgment that the mandate is unconstitutional. EWTN is the first Catholic organization to file suit since the final HHS rules were published by the Obama administration on January 20, 2012.

"We had no other option but to take this to the courts," says EWTN President and CEO Michael P. Warsaw. "Under the HHS mandate, EWTN is being forced by the government to make a choice: either we provide employees coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs and violate our conscience or offer our employees and their families no health insurance coverage at all. Neither of those choices is acceptable."

The lawsuit was filed on EWTN's behalf by Mark Rienzi, Kyle Duncan, and Erik Kniffin from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

"We are taking this action to defend not only ourselves but also to protect other institutions – Catholic and non-Catholic, religious and secular – from having this mandate imposed upon them," Warsaw continued. "The government is forcing EWTN, first, to inform its employees about how to get contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs, a concept known as forced speech. To make the matter worse, the government then will force EWTN to use its donors' funds to pay for these same morally objectionable procedures or to pay for the huge fines it will levy against us if we fail to provide health care insurance. There is no question that this mandate violates our First Amendment rights. This is a moment when EWTN, as a Catholic organization, has to s! tep up and say that enough is enough. Our hope is that our lawsuit does just that."

The Becket Fund previously filed similar lawsuits on behalf of Belmont Abbey College, a small Catholic liberal arts college in Belmont, N.C., and Colorado Christian University, an interdenominational Christian liberal arts university near Denver, which demonstrates that this is not just a Catholic issue. Both suits were filed prior to the HHS rules being finalized in January.
"When the government recently mandated that all private group health plans cover certain abortion drugs (namely, Plan B and ella), as well as related education and counseling, [our clients] knew that they could not obey both the government's mandate and their own religious convictions," said Rienzi, who focuses his practice at the Becket Fund on violations of the Fourteenth Amendment, free speech, and the free exercise of religion. "The mandate has been sharply criticized from across the political spectrum, and from religious leaders of a variety of faiths."

Duncan, a former Louisiana Solicitor General and General Counsel of the Becket Fund, said that without a change in the rules, EWTN could be forced to pay more than $600,000 for the "privilege" of not underwriting these services.

"This mandate is particularly hard on Catholics because Catholic organizations, such as hospitals, schools, social service agencies, media outlets and others, serve people regardless of their religious beliefs," Warsaw said. "We serve others not because they are Catholic, but because we are Catholic. "

EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 30th year, is available in over 200 million television households in more than 140 countries and territories. With its direct broadcast satellite television and radio services, AM & FM radio networks, worldwide short-wave radio station, Internet website, electronic and print news services, and publishing arm, EWTN is the largest religious media network in the world.

The Beck! et Fund for Religious Liberty is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions. The Becket Fund has a 17-year history of defending religious liberty for people of all faiths. Its attorneys are recognized as experts in the field of church-state law, and they recently won a 9-0 victory against the federal government at the U.S. Supreme Court in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has an online petition which asks the Administration to stop the contraception mandate. Please join with us in fighting for religious freedom. Click here to sign petition.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I am sure you are all well aware of the persecution that has begun on the Catholic Church.
Please read the following about the crisis: After reading this, I implore you, Catholic or not to write to your congressmen and tell them how you feel. Glen Beck(not Catholic) has urged everyone listening to his conservative radio program to stand up for Catholics, because it will come to fall upon them as well. This is how the persecution of the Jews started. Many people of all faiths were persecuted and killed during the holocaust.
“Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.”
― Yehuda Bauer                Click here to email congress

From the USCCB website:
WASHINGTON— The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops offers the following clarifications regarding the Health and Human Services regulations on mandatory coverage of contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.

1.The mandate does not exempt Catholic charities, schools, universities, or hospitals. These institutions are vital to the mission of the Church, but HHS does not deem them "religious employers" worthy of conscience protection, because they do not "serve primarily persons who share the[ir] religious tenets."HHS denies these organizations religious freedom precisely because their purpose is to serve the common good of society—a purpose that government should encourage, not punish.

2.The mandate forces these institutions and others, against their conscience, to pay for things they consider immoral. Under the mandate, the government forces religious insurers to write policies that violate their beliefs;forces religious employers and schools to sponsor and subsidize coverage that violates their beliefs; and forces religious employees and students to purchase coverage that violates their beliefs.

3.The mandate forces coverage of sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs and devices as well as contraception. Though commonly called the "contraceptive mandate," HHS's mandate also forces employers to sponsor and subsidize coverage of sterilization.And by including all drugs approved by the FDA for use as contraceptives, the HHS mandate includes drugs that can induce abortion, such as "Ella," a close cousin of the abortion pill RU-486.

4.Catholics of all political persuasions are unified in their opposition to the mandate Catholics who have long supported this Administration and its healthcare policies have publicly criticized HHS's decision, including columnists E.J. Dionne. . . , Mark Shields. . . , and Michael Sean Winters. . . ; college presidents Father John Jenkins. . . and Arturo Chavez. . . ; and Daughter of Charity Sister Carol Keehan. . . , president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States.

5.Many other religious and secular people and groups have spoken out strongly against the mandate. Many recognize this as an assault on the broader principle of religious liberty, even if they disagree with the Church on the underlying moral question.For example, Protestant Christian. . . , Orthodox Christian. . . , and Orthodox Jewish. . . groups--none of which oppose contraception--have issued statements against the HHS's decision.The Washington Post. . . , USA Today. . . , N.Y. Daily News. . . , Detroit News. . . , and other secular outlets, columnists. . . , and bloggers. . . have editorialized against it.

6.The federal mandate is much stricter than existing state mandates. HHS chose the narrowest state-level religious exemption as the model for its own.That exemption was drafted by the ACLU and exists in only 3 states (New York, California, Oregon).Even without a religious exemption, religious employers can already avoid the contraceptive mandates in 28 states by self-insuring their prescription drug coverage, dropping that coverage altogether, or opting for regulation under a federal law (ERISA) that pre-empts state law.The HHS mandate closes off all these avenues of relief.

Additional information on the U.S. Catholic bishops’ stance on religious liberty, conscience protection and the HHS ruling regarding mandatory coverage of contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs is available at

Friday, February 3, 2012

Very Sad News

Komen has reversed their decision.

Associated Press

NEW YORK—The Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast-cancer charity said it is reversing its decision to cut breast-screening grants to Planned Parenthood.

"We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women's lives," a Komen statement said.

As reported by the Associated Press on Tuesday, Komen had adopted criteria excluding Planned Parenthood from grants because it was under government investigation, notably a probe launched in Congress at the urging of anti-abortion groups.

Komen said Friday it would change the criteria so it wouldn't apply to such investigations.

"We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants," the statement said.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

House For Rant

Okay, so most of the time I try to stay on the up and up, but not today.
It's been one of those yucky days, we've been sick since Christmas(totally NOT kidding here)
and I haven't had a lick of sleep in what seems like weeks...well, you know a few hours here, 5 minutes there, you get the picture. I'm sick and GRUMPY today and I feel like pulling out the last couple of hairs left on my scalp.

This is what I see walking through the house today.
  1.  In the kitchen, there's been a peanut butter massacre, it's smeared all over EVERYTHING, the counter, the walls, the cabinet doors and drawers, the sink, package of bread lying on the counter, the knife, the handle of the knife, the lid and all outside of the jar.
  2. The living room, crushed and ground into the carpet as much as toddlery possible saltine cracker carcasses, little pieces of paper torn up just for sport, slimy wet kleenex arranged artistically on the computer desk, on the end tables, on the window seat, on the floor...etc. Books thrown randomly around with torn pages and an occasional chunk missing, shoes, sock/socks(they are never in pairs), pencils, papers from school, cups of water, a chunky puzzle without any of pieces within eye shot, a broken popsicle stick.
  3. The dining room: pretty much just an extension of the living room area...just LOVE that open concept living! The exception is plates, cups, crumbs, napkins, and various school items like broken crayons, pencil shavings, lids to markers, pencil lead...

I'll spare you any more details, as I haven't been into the other parts of the house. I won't even get into the behavioral issues, but it hasn't been pretty.
I love my kids more than I love myself, but today, I can't bring myself into "feeling" it.

BUT, I have the best hubby in the world, because he told me he's taking the kids "out" for dinner, so I can have some peace and quiet. I'll probably even miss them......

Komen Halts Grants to Planned Parenthood

The nation's leading breast-cancer charity, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, is halting its partnerships with Planned Parenthood affiliates — creating a bitter rift, linked to the abortion debate, between two iconic organizations that have assisted millions of women.

Read the rest of the article here: