Thursday, February 18, 2016

BRACE YOURSELVES... I sense a Marian Consecration coming on!

Updated... March 2nd is today! I hope you all are joining us for 33 days of consecration preparation!

Okay, many of you want to do this every year, but like me forget. {EVEN THOUGH, it hanging up on your big white board in your house, in the middle of your homeschool room where you teach your kids. You see the chart on what dates to start your consecration and then for some reason you don't check it that month your supposed to start and realize your a few days too late.}

So ya wanna drop kick Satan don't ya? Wanna spice up your spiritual life right? THIS IS LENT, WHAT BETTER TIME? We are emptying out ourselves and putting our trust in Mary and Jesus. It is the biggest thing you could do this Lent, FOR REAL.  Join me starting March 2nd,  (since there are 29 days in February this year AND because the Solemnity of Feast of the Annunciation is on GOOD FRIDAY- it breaks two rules this year!), in preparing yourselves for consecration to Jesus through Mary. Then on April  4th (again since March 25th is Good Friday this year- they move it to Monday after Easter since it is a Solemnity) we will consecrate ourselves to the Virgin Mary.

AND if that's not enough motivation for you, the Feast of the Annunciation (normally March 25th, again this year it's irregular and moved to April 4th)  is the Feast that St. Louis de Monfort recommends most of all, as the Feast that commemorates the Incarnation. (God taking on flesh, and there by putting his trust in Mary- Mary didn't let God down, she won't let you down!)

Oh and what makes this a great year to do it? It's the Year of Mercy folks. That week you consecrate yourself to Mary, is Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday! WHEW! ISN'T THAT AWESOME? There is a petition going around asking for Pope Francis to declare JP II as Doctor of the Church this year on Divine Mercy Sunday. What a memorable week it might be. Hope to hear you are wanting to participate. Books you can do this through are St. Louis de Monforts True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin- free on that link I provided, or Fr. Michael Gaitley's 33 days till Morning Glory.
Comment below if your going to go for it! What do you have to lose? 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Artist trading card swap

My kids, Knox and Genna, have been talking about artist trading cards for two weeks. They did a swap in their art class today (at Hobby Lobby) and brought home their cards- very cute. They liked it a lot and told me that their teacher said that there were internet sites where they could join in and do more swapping. I told them I wasn't sure about it random sights (I was a little worried about what we might get in return) and maybe I could try and start a swap on my blog for them and even adults to join in. I'll participate ;) I can't promise it will be good, but I can try! So on their behalf, here's the participation guidelines.
Anyway, Knox said there needs to be 5 original cards- they can be similar or different. I will send back to you cards of similar skill level/age.

 Mom says, "Oh and since this is a Catholic blog, can you please make a minimum of three saints or other religious or Liturgical cards, along with your other art cards?" He said he would like to swap animals (he likes and planes, boats, etc.  You may do more than 3 saint cards- that's up to you.

Post card size cards would be fine- close to a 4x6 or 5x7, or even skinny ones like large book mark sizes- I have seen some pretty religious book marks. It doesn't have to be exactly that size (but that will give you an idea) water colors, or pastels, crayons, colored pencils, markers whatever your skill level prefers. Heavier paper is suggested so that these last.

Label the back of you cards with: your name, age, and what is on the card, and what you used to draw it, and what city you live in.

  Then send your cards to me include inside a self addressed and stamped (makes sure it has enough postage) envelope so it'll be easy for me to return to you five cards.

  I would like to get more than 5 people to sign up, so spread the word around.  If you are local, you are welcome to drop them off, but I will be mailing them back- I don't have the extra time to drive around. Email me back and let me know if you want to participate, so I have an idea of how many people, and to start watching for them in the mail.

Deadline- IN MY MAIL BOX by April 2nd (Saturday).

Once you confirm participation by email, I will send you my address. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Corporal works in action

Year of Mercy! Such a great year for conversions, if ya know what I mean ;) Pope Francis is really working on opening the doors to wayward Catholics and those who are contemplating the entering the Church. He's practically got the door off the hinges! Just look at what he's directed priests on in confession, sigh relief right extra-specially if you haven't been or aren't accustomed to going??

Anyway, I am trying to come up with ways for our kids to do "Works of Mercy". Thankfully their grandma has one she enjoys, and that's taking the nursing home flowers for their tables.  

Red for St. Valentine's Day!

Such a sweet boy!

The kids also handed our St. Valentine valentines- those free ones from Catholic Icing of course.   I think this might count as bit of catechizing too, sort of like new evangelization.  It's at least helping spread the word about the real St. Valentine's day!

don't know that random

Good job Grandma!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

St. Sebastian arrow snack

This is so easy, especially with Valentine's day candy flooding the shelves. His feast day is January 20th, but this particular candy is out way before St. Sebastian's feast day, so mark you calendars for next year, and go for it. Your kids will like it a lot. 

We don't buy the cinnamon ones, just regular cherry flavored. It takes five minutes to make a plate of these.

St. Sebastian Pray for us!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Candlemas Crepes

One of my kids favorite traditions is crepes on Candlemas. I get crepe requests all the time. For Candlemas this year, we did breakfast for dinner. Crepes, sausage, bacon, and fruit and yogurt, for dinner. It was a lot of fun doing it a little different this year.

Crepes are easy to make too, this particular batter recipe is delicious. We also make our own homemade whip cream. Any fruit can be used. I also have seen these stuffed with seafood back when I visited France. It would make a lovely Friday in Lent Seafood dinner.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Our Lady of Lourdes Tea Party

 The makings of a rice krispie grotto..

My best chef- he's on the job, sticking the flowers for a lovely field of wild flowers.

He likes to make funny faces now.

The Virgin Mary (from our Fisher Price Nativity) in her Rice Krispie grotto.

Yellow roses at her feet.

Marian candles we made a few years back with some friends. They last forever because we bought huge one!

We served blue kool-aid of course, the Virgin Mary's favorite color!

One proud big brother tonight ;)

She has found her hand is good to suck on. Knox was a thumb sucker...I am worried he might counsel her in the ways of thumb sucking- as you can see below.

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes,
St. Bernadette pray for us!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Our Lady of Lourdes Feast Day

Our Lady of Lourdes Feast day is the 11th, and it's the day after Ash Wednesday this week. There are two great ideas to celebrate this feast day I want to share with you, they can become a tradition in your home possibly.  Our Lady asked Bernadette to pray and repent. So how appropriate is it, that we have that feast day to remind us of repentance as we enter into Lent. Not to mention what Pope Francis recently told priests about (not to ask pointless questions). It is the Year of Mercy!

We traditionally also make a rice krispie treat grotto and have a tea party. We plan on doing the same this year. 

If you want to see more on Lourdes click on the bolded words next to LABEL below this post. Also check out my book list for this feast day and books your family might benefit from.
There is so much to look forward to this week!

Mercy Cross with flowers, Works of Mercy, Sacrifice beads and more.

We have always done a Crown of Thorns with toothpicks and removed toothpicks at the end of the day for each good deed done/ or sacrifice.  At Easter it's filled with eggs like a bird's nest. But this year we are changing it up. I had the kids write out their Lenten sacrifices- as too often we forget or change our minds (when it gets down to the sacrifice) and we hung them up on our art string in our homeschool room. They are hung above our Stations of the Cross we made several years back. 

What's cool is our sacrifices are there up on the wall for accountability, and in the grottos below- we see Jesus' sacrifice. I started to say this outloud today, and before I was done, Knox interrupted me and explained all that and saw the connection! LOVE IT WHEN THEY DO THAT! 
 And by the way, you should really keep up with Catholic Icing's blog- she has had some awesome freebies for her subscribers lately. The latest one was what I printed out and used to hang out sacrifices up above the Stations of the Cross. The kids wrote out/drew on the cards and we sort of colored them. 
  My daughter Genna thought this was soo cool, she even asked daddy if he wanted to join in and put something up on the line too! (He's not Catholic, so sacrificing is a foreign language and he said yes!). Tomorrow I will remind her to hold him to it! lol!

 We track our sacrifices with sacrifice beads throughout the day, lets face it, it's too hard not to. (here's how to make them, or you can buy them at Holy Heroes webstore). Make several, because they get lost and snagged on things and can break off. Add a holy medal or a cross and have it blessed!

I have an abundance of beautiful homemade paper flowers from my mother in law (who is a hobby card maker). I thought for a change this year we could put those lovely flowers to work for us on a Mercy Cross.  Each sacrifice (corporal or spiritual) you do, you put one on the cross. You can put your name on the flowers, so at the end you can see your works, hopefully no cross will be showing. 

I am going to hang up a the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy, we learned them by heart years ago, thanks to Holy Heroes Lenten Adventures in the past, click on those Youtube links to see the songs now.  They have two very easy great songs you can sing with your kids. 

  Also one other sort of new I am doing with the kids for the next 40 days of Lent, is a regular examination of conscience each night (which we should be doing anyway). We do this a few times a month, but we are turning up the heat this Lent and reading nightly from this book.

 I am reading them straight out of this book. It's good for younger children, especially ones who will be making their sacraments soon. With Genna wanting to make her first confession and Knox having just made his back in October, and me trying to set a good example- it's good for all of us.  

We also follow along with Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure like a wrote earlier. We print off their worksheets and that's a great religion lesson for us daily. They are completely free, you don't need an account, you just check your email daily.

Hope you have a blessed Lenten season, if you have questions please comment below and I will try and help. If you want more ideas or want to see past posts, click the "Label" tabs below this post where you see these symbols. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Stations of the Cross holy card project

   Keeping toddlers focused in Mass is a little challenging, it helps having prayer cards or a book that is religious- it keeps the Lord up in front of them, even if they can't control their little bodies yet. Stations of the Cross is no different. And with Lent coming up in just a few days, I am reminded that our family participates in Stations of the Cross at least once a week on Fridays at our church, and at home as well. I have plenty of children's Stations of the Cross books to keep them interested, the illustrations are different in them all. Each week they pick a different one to follow along in- now that they are reading, it might matter to them that the words do not match. But I found these cool Stations of the Cross holy cards on that website I mentioned in my previous post.

  I knew what to do with them as soon as I saw them.  I laminated them and punched a hole through them and stuck them on a ring. Each printout has two cards, so in the end you have two complete sets. It's just one more thing you can add to your arsenal. You can offer them to your child during mass or at stations. It's easy to use and quiet.

The photos are beautiful. When I showed my kids this morning, they were excited, everyone wants their own, so it looks like I need to make one more set (I only did two- since it prints two). I am going to run out of ink! We put out out home made Stations of the Cross on our homeschool room window sills along with the votives, it's one of our Lenten traditions. I'll have more on that later and you can read about our home Stations of the Cross service here if you like.

"We adore you Christ and we praise you....."

Mother & sons Valentine's date


It's that time of year, where we can publically shower our love on our children and spouse. My husband took our daughter Genna out on the daddy- daughter date again and I took the boys, and baby Zoe Zoe.  We took our kids to early Mass today- actually our normal mass time. Afterward we split up and went our own ways for our dates with our children. I took the boys to the Cathedral first to walk through the Doors of Mercy, for the plenary indulgence and then we went to Panera. It was so much fun! (If you want to obtain the Year of Mercy Plenary indulgence here's how.

I digress, we actually visited our Cathedral the other night too.

We just received an exact replica of the original Pieta, there were a limited number of them made, our Cathedral was selected to receive one, now we just have to raise the money to keep it. It's beautiful! I am glad my kids can see this beautiful art!

Here's our Cathedral at night. The dome was so beautiful, the photo doesn't do it justice.

My Valentine's, to the kids, all made from the website Holy Reflections.

I laminated my prayer cards, they just last longer and look so much nicer. They print off in sets of two fyi. Hope you have a great week! 
Happy Fat Tuesday!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Catholic Valentines and free holy cards

   Valentine's Day is right around the corner, INSIDE OF LENT! lol  Every year I search for free printable Catholic Valentines for the kiddos... and just when I think I have seen them all, I came across this cute website a few weeks ago called Holy Reflections.  I have no idea who the lady is who is running the website but I read about her background and it's so so cool! There are some for Valentine's Day of course.  Be sure and check out her printable goodie bags.  For those of you who have kids making sacraments, there are sacrament keepsake cards on there too. I printed and laminated my cards from this website, they are beautiful- and it's all free!  (I just had to share that with you, I am so in love.)

  I saw my latest Catholic Icing email today too, and  Lacy sure has hooked up her readers with an awesome free St. Valentine's Day pack, I am sure everyone has seen it, but I am super excited to let the kids color on their St. Valentine's now and color in their own cards too.