Saturday, December 29, 2012

Favorite Christmas Children's Books

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, illus. by P. J. Lynch


The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski, illus. by P. J. Lynch

An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco

Christmas Tapestry by Patrica Polacco. She has also written: Welcome Comfort, The Trees of the Dancing Goats, and Uncle Vova's Tree. 

The Last Straw by Fredrick H. Thury, illus. by Vlasta van Kampen

The Baker's Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale by Aaron Shepard, illus. by Wendy Edelson

The Miracle of Saint Nicholas by Gloria Whelan, illus. by Judith Brown

A Christmas Dress for Ellen by Thomas S. Monson. He has also written A Christmas Train: A True Story

Christmas Oranges by Linda Bethers and Ben Sowards

Good King Wenceslas by John M. Neale and Tim Ladwig

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston, illus. by Barbara Cooney

Room for a Little One, A Christmas Tale by Martin Waddell, illus. by Barbara Firth

The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola. Other Christmas stories by Tomie dePaola include The Night of Las Posadas, The Legend of Old Befana, Joy to the World: Tomie's Christmas Stories, The Story of the Three Wise Kings, The Friendly Beasts, Merry Christmas Strega Nona, The Clown of God, Christmas Remembered, Jingle the Christmas Clown, An Early American Christmas, Country Angel Christmas, The Family Christmas Tree Book, Four Friends at Christmas, and more.

The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden, illus. by Barbara Cooney. Another edition is illustrated by Christian Birmingham

Christmas in Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren, illus. by Ilon Wikland

Too May Tamales by Gary Soto, illus. by Ed Martinez

Letters from Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien

Shoemaker Martin by Leo Tolstoy, illus. by Bernadette Watts. There is also a DVD titled Martin the Cobbler.

The Legend of the Christmas Rose by Selma Lagerlof, retold by Ellen Greene, illus. by Charles Mikolaycak

The Legend of the Christmas Rose by William H. Hooks, illus. by Richard A. Williams

Friday, December 28, 2012

Supreme Court Denies Request to Block Obamacare Contraception Mandate

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Wednesday denied a request to block part of the federal health care law that requires employee health-care plans to provide insurance coverage for the morning-after pill and similar emergency contraception pills.
Hobby Lobby Stores and a sister company, Mardel Inc., sued the government, claiming the mandate violates the religious beliefs of its owners.

You can read the rest on

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mossy by Jan Brett

One of many Jan Brett pictures books is Mossy. Recently released, fans of Jan Brett will want to add this delightful picture book to their collection. Mossy is a turtle that collects moss on her back, but her lovely garden catches the attention of Dr. Carolina and life dramatically changes for her.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christ is Born!

"At the thought of God my heart leapt for joy, and I could not help my music's doing the same."

Franz Joseph Haydn

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Germany, Land of Poets and Thinkers: Discover Germany Through Children's Literature

One way to experience other cultures is through children's literature. Here is a list of our favorite children's authors. For a more extensive list of children's authors from Germany you can go here.

As with any unit study, begin with a map of the world and locate the country you are studying.

Until I did a google search, I did not know that Germany is a land of poets and thinkers. I don't think there are too many children's books on the German poets, but there are many biographies of Albert Einstein, including Childhood of Famous Americans.

Select a Favorite Children's Author:

Under a Changing Moon is one of many books written by Margot Benary-Isbert. Bethlehem Books has reprinted this lovely edition of Under a Changing Moon.

The Brothers Grimm are perhaps the most famous authors from Germany. Many of their stories have been redone in picture book format.

Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kastner is a fun read that you won't want to miss.

Many people have heard of Curious George, the famous monkey in children's picture books, but few know the incredible story of Margaret and H. A. Rey's journey to freedom.

Another favorite author is really better to read when studying Ancient Rome. Henry Winterfeld's Detectives in Togas and Mystery of the Roman Ransom.


Pretzels found at Catholic Cuisine

Food: If you would like to round out a unit study on Germany with food, there is much to choose from. Besides your favorite cookbooks, you can find many recipes on the internet. Here is an odd assortment of German foods.

Wiener Schnitzel, Pretzels, Bratwurst, Spatzle, Black Forest Cake (torte)


Art: The one painter to study is  Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528). Ernest Lloyd Raboff has written Albrecht Duer as part of his The Art for Children series.

Music: Composers: Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Christoph Willibald Gluck, George Frideric Handel, Felix Mendelssohn, Clara and Robert Schumann, Richard Strauss, Georg Philipp Telemann, Richard Wagner.

Sampling of Music:

Bach: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, Brandenburg Concertos, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor for organ

Beethoven, Fur Elise,  Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Moonlight SonataSymphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68, Pastoral Symphony

Brahms: Lullaby, Hungarian Dances

Handel: Messiah

Mendelssohn: Hark, the Herald Angels Sing, Italian Symphony, Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64

Richard Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra

More Music:

Bach for Book Lovers: A Soothing Companion for Reading (CD)
Beethoven for Book Lovers: An Intimate Companion for Reading (CD)
Brahms for Book Lovers: A Cozy Companion for Reading (CD)
Bach for Breakfast: The Leisurely Way to Start Your Day (CD)
Bach at Bedtime: Lullabies for the Still of the Night (CD)
And more!

Biographies: Music Masters CDs (Each CD weaves the composer's music throughout the story of his life. Additional music is included at the end of the story): The Story of Bach, The Story of Beethoven, The Story of Brahms, The Story of Handel, The Story of Mendelssohn, The Story of Schumann and Grieg.


Johann Sebastian Bach (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers) by Mike Venezia

Ludwig van Beethoven (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers) by Mike Venezia

Johannes Brahms (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers) by Mike Venezia

George Handel (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers) by Mike Venezia

Saints: Saint Albert the Great, Saint Boniface, Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Saint John Neumann, Blessed Karl Leisner, Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.

Saint Edith Stein, Blessed by the Cross (Encounter the Saints) by Mary Lea Hill (Ages 10-Up)

Bring Me an Ax: The Story of St. Boniface of Germany (Dujarie Saint Book) by Brother Roberto and Carolyn Lee Jogodits

St. Albert the Great: Champion of Faith and Reason by Kevin Vost (high school and up)

German Customs: Customs from Germany that we practice today include the Christmas tree, Easter bunnies, Easter egg hunts, and Easter baskets. The songs "Silent Night," "Away in the Manger," "O, Christmas Tree" come from Germany.

Stories Behind Silent Night:

Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon 

Silent Night: The Song and Its Story by Margaret Hodges and Tim Ladwig.

Foreign Language: Culture

Count Your Way Through Germany by James Haskins
Look What Came From Germany by Kevin Davis
Germany: the culture by Kathryn Lane
Muzzy: German

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Obamacare Update

Another ruling about the Obamacare mandate. National For more background information, this article was written before the ruling National Catholic Register.

This is an update from last week Catholic

We will all suffer from Obamacare. Catholic

Save a Life with a Prolife Billboard

I have passed the 1/2 way mark of $8,175 for the Prolife Billboard! I just need $3,285. On Christmas Eve, Relevant Radio will begin short ads for the prolife billboard running 3 times during the day and 3 times during the night. I began the "campaign" the last week of November. The response has been overwhelming! In less than 4 weeks I have received more than $4,000. A "huge" thank you and a hug to all those who have contributed. It's not too late if you are still interested in contributing. I'm hoping this can be one of my birthday gifts to the Christ Child.

BTW: Once the ad is up on the billboard, they do not take it down until someone purchases the next ad. The power of prayer can keep that ad up there a l-o-n-g time!

You can read more about this project in this previous post here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Look What Happens When the Government Controls Your Lives

Before you pooh, pooh this article and say, "Oh, that will never happen here," just remember that we are dealing with a government in our own country that seeks to control every aspect of our lives (including what we drink --also what is not good to drink and what we eat and how much) because they--the "experts" know better.

In Quebec, Canada, "Every Quebec student — even the homeschooled — is obligated to take this state-composed program. And teachers, whatever their beliefs or religious affiliation, must teach it." What is this course?  A province-wide program called Ethics and Religious Culture, which teaches that  "Wicca, Raëlism, aboriginal animism or even a student’s own invented religion are all accorded equal spiritual standing with Christianity." Never mind if it is contrary to your faith.

You can read the whole article at Catholic

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Truth About Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood

Karen Handel, former senior vice president for public policy at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure (AP Photo)

The truth about about Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood (Ooops! I meant Planned Barrenhood) is out as Karen Handel reveals all in her new book, Planned Bullyhood: The Truth about the Planned Parenthood Funding Battle with Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She recently spoke to the Family Research Council. You can read about it at cnsnews.comOf course if you want to see the liberal take on it you can read it at Huffington Post. Did you catch lies? Hint! Hint! How many mammograms does PP do? Find out at

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Does Obama Really Help the Poor?

Does Obama really help the poor? In his wisdom and foresight, Pope Leo XIII already had something to say about this. Anthony Esolen shares his insight on