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Monday, February 27, 2012

More on Lent and some movie reviews . . .

The kids are outside playing today - - what great weather!  It was windy and colder yesterday, so this is a nice treat!  Even Daniel is out running around, which gives me a few moments to post here.

I was playing around yesterday on Picasa 3 making collages.  I was encouraged by this posting on Skip to My Lou, one of my favorite crafting sites.  The pictures on the blog header are from our beach trip back in May.  Love the one of Daniel smiling. 
Our family typically comes up with a family sacrifice during Lent, in addition to personal sacrifices.  In the past, it has been giving up television (which we cannot really do now since we don't subscribe to satellite anymore) or computer.  I am not sure about your family, but in our house, name calling and bad feelings have been problems from time to time.  So, we decided to chuck a bad habit this year (working on the virtue of charity in speech) rather than give up something.  To give us more incentive to work on the virtue of charity, I purchased some purple bingo markers (hey, have to keep with the season) and put them in a jar.  Each marker is worth five cents.  A momentary lack of charity costs the offender two markers - or ten cents.  To make up for the lapse, a good deed may be performed, which will add one marker, or five cents, back to the jar.  (This reminds us how hurtful our words are and how much harder it is to apologize and make up for our lack of charity.)  The amount of markers in the jar at the end of Lent is going to be our Rice Bowl donation this year.  I know, we really should not be subtracting from the Rice Bowl, but we set a goal to donate $20 this year and hopefully, if we are careful in speech, we can do just that! 

My dear friend, Judy, over at Ben Makes Ten, assured me that it wasn't too late to "bury our Alleluia."  She said that she knows someone who doesn't actually bury it, but instead turns it around, and then on Easter, the banner gets turned back around so you can see the Alleluia.  I loved this idea.  The only problem is:  I didn't have an Alleluia banner.  The solution here is to make one, right?  Catholic Icing has a link to letters that she had used for their banner.  Since I was simply turning it around, I decided that it would be fun to have a message for Lent on the other side.  So, I added the word Penance to the other side to remind us of the season. 

Movie Alerts:
As part of our Lenten Journey, I have also added a few movies to our collection. 

The Reluctant Saint - This is an old black and white movie about St. Joseph of Cupertino.  You feel sorry for him, but realize how child-like, simple and faith-filled he was. Everyone, including my  oldest son, enjoyed this one!

Perpetua:  Early Church Martyr - To be fair, this is not the video I thought I ordered (that one is here).  This one is an hour long, rather than the half-hour animated one, and it sounded as if it was more like a documentary.  However, I will say that Jenna had no complaints and Andrea said some of the pictures were absolutely beautiful.  I will be sitting down to watch it as her and St. Felicity's Feast Day (March 7th) approaches.  

The Adventures of the Apostle Paul for Children - I wish I would have seen this here, rather than buying it at the Catholic shop near by OB's office.  It is on sale for $7.99.  I haven't watched this yet, but am looking forward to it.  It runs about a half hour.

I have also added the CCC DVD's for St. Patrick and The Day the Sun Danced.   These have been treasured on VHS for years in our family, and while I cannot quite afford to replace the VHS tapes all now, I am hoping to replace them a little at a time.  Daniel has watched The Day the Sun Danced (Bl. Francisco and Bl. Jacinta's feast day was last week - Feb 20).  I am  hoping to save the Saint Patrick one for closer to St. Patrick's Day! 

Hope you all are having a blessed Lenten season!

God Bless,

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Alex's craft

For art this week, I told the kids to pick a craft or art project to do.  It was funny to see what the girls chose.  They are always after me for something to do!  Alex couldn't decide and asked for some help.  I had seen the crown of thorns over at Waltzing Matilda, and had picked up what I needed to complete this project for our Lenten table.  Thinking Alex wouldn't have much problem with this project, I gave it to him to do.  What a wonderful job he did, too!

Presentation Play Set

Presentation Play Set
The first reading for our Jesus Tree was about the Presentation of Our Lord.  I've been wanting to make this since the Feast of the Presentation (Feb 2nd) but never got around to it.  I was finally able to get some time over the past couple of days.  I used the wooden peg dolls for the people.  For the box, I found a "Ready to Decorate" pencil/cigar type box at AC Moore.  This was exactly what I was looking for, so that the box could be turned and opened into the "scene".  I painted Mary holding baby Jesus.  St. Joseph is  holding a cage containing the two birds.  I left the outside of the box plain for now. 

The nice thing about using the box is that it will keep the dolls together.  I was thinking of adding a piece of felt to act as a play mat and to help keep the dolls from hitting against one another.   I think this will come in handy, not only for celebrating the Feast Day, but also for teaching about Christ.  We can also bring it out when contemplating that particular mystery of the Rosary! 

Today's reading is the Baptism of our Lord.  Hmmmm?
The box is available on-line at AC Moore, but I am sure you may be able to find it for less elsewhere on line.  They are $1.99 at the store.  The larger sized peg dolls are hard to find at the craft stores.  I have only seen them occassionally.  I buy them from here.  I like the larger sizes for little hands and less of a choking hazard.  I do use the smaller dolls when I paint children saints.  I use regular craft acryllic paints and then spray them with an acryllic sealer.  They are simple, and not quite as beautiful as the ones available from St. Luke's Brush, but they work for us.  Daniel lines ours up along the perimeter of Alex's castle. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Getting ready for Lent . . .

 Today, I pulled out the bin for Lent and Easter from the basement.  I have another one with some Lenten activities in it that I will get later.  I hung the banner for the Jesus Tree ornaments, something that I had made last year, and got out the sheet with the list of readings.  I also put the ornaments in order so they are ready to go.  I have the purple cloth for our home altar out and the vestment for Fr. Oak is completed.  I saw a post on Waltzing Matilda for a crown of thorns that looks quite easy to do with a small grapevine wreath and toothpicks.  I will have to get the toothpicks, but I think I have the wreath downstairs.  And I have printed out this simple countdown calendar for us to keep track of the days.  All of these are ideas from some of my favorite Catholic blogs!

I've pulled together some stuff to start Daniel in little preschool/learning activities.  For general learning and literature, I've ordered some more of the BFIAR books and downloaded the corresponding lapbooks from Homeschool Share.  For religion, I found a book, called Catholic Kids Bible Study,  that I hope will be helpful.   I am hoping to tie it in with the Jesus Tree, and which starts with the Presentation.  I would like to get a Presentation Playset done, but not sure what I will be able to accomplish.  I know I have to be willing to let go of some stuff and focus on the important. We probably won't be able to get to all of the lessons (let's be realistic now), but I hope to do as many as I can, knowing that we will revisit this again over time.  I also want to put together some learning trays, as things for him to do while the others are working at their school work. 

For the older kids, I ordered some Lenten reading items for them.  For Jeremy, I ordered Bl. Pope John Paul II's For the Young People.  I know it is broken down into 365 daily readings, but I guess you have to start somewhere!  Andrea and Alex are making their confirmation this year, so for them I chose books that have to do with their chosen confirmation saints.  I purchased the TAN book on St. Aloyssius Gonzaga along with a saint medal.  He is the patron of Catholic youth.  For Alex, who chose St. Pio, I found a Lenten meditation pamphlet with readings from his writings and a medal as well. 

Jenna is a little tougher, but usually pretty amenable.  I haven't found anything for her, but will probably stop in at the Pascal Lamb (a little Catholic store in Fairfax, VA) when I go down there for my next OB appointment. 

May you all have a blessed Lent,

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Saint Valentine's Day!

I am determined to try to celebrate the feast days as much as possible.  With that as my goal, I have been a little busy, other than with schooling the kids, in making little craft projects to help with decorating and to augment the celebration.  I have also perused the web for craft projects and ideas for the kids to complete.  We held our homeschool St. Valentine's Day Party last
Friday.  This has become a yearly tradition for us.  The kids enjoy seeing their friends, and the younger ones enjoy exchanging Valentines.  The best part is the snacking!  For our craft, I used one of Lacy's ideas from over at Catholic Icing.  We made Sacred Heart Decade Rosaries.  I was able to purchase the medals and crucifixes in time from Autom and receive them in time for the party.

Part of hosting, is that I provide the paper products and make the punch.  We always make a sherbert punch.  This year, I used ginger ale, cranberry-raspberry juice, and since they didn't have raspberry sherbert, I used fruit punch. The punch is red and pink and very tasty.  It always goes pretty fast!

We also made some cupcakes to share along with the treats our friends would bring.

For our home celebration, to lead up to Valentine's Day, I downloaded Lacy's St. Valentine Countdown Chain.  I also crocheted up this cute heart garland. The directions can be found here at Skip to My Lou. (I am currently crocheting one with shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day.)  She also had some cute Valentine "Sour Cream" Containers.  I made some of them and added some candies for the kids.  Yummm! 
I added a painted Saint Valentine to our collection of wooden saint dolls.  To symbolize St. Valentine, I added a rooster (one of his many symbols, which includes:  roses, birds, and more).  For whimsy, I added white envelopes, perhaps containing Valentines.  It is always fun to paint the saints like this.  I have been adding to our collection here and there.  To make it easy on me, I also put the date of the saint's feast in marker on the bottom of the doll.  This way, I can keep track of who it is and try to remember to put the doll on our altar for their feast day.  They get to join Father Oak!   (It's a lot easier to pull out the paints and supplies now that the craft room is much neater and organized.  The trick is to put it back where you got it from as soon as you are finished!)
We are making pizza for lunch today.  I hope to have it heart-shaped in some way. 

Have a most happy and blessed Saint Valentine's Day!

God Bless,

Monday, February 13, 2012

Our Lady of Lourdes Feast Day

We had such a wonderful time this weekend with some dear friends at a "Our Lady of Lourdes" Feast Day Tea.  If you are familiar with Jessica over at Shower of Roses, then you know that at a Feast Day Tea, you try to come up with some menu items that represent something about the feast day.  So, first thing on Saturday morning, I needed to paint Our Lady of Lourdes and little Saint Bernadette.

After that, I started baking some sugar cookies.  I didn't roll them out, but instead dropped them, baked them, and put a little blue icing on them.  These cookies represented the spring at the Grotto.

Then I made dough for breadsticks.  I figured that St. Bernadette's father was a miller, so bread would be a good inclusion for our "tea."

After that I started making Rice Krispy treats to make a grotto.  I think I was a little overzealous with the Rice Krispies because I added the whole box rather than measure.  It seemed okay at first, until I tried putting together the grotto.  My first attempt started to collapse right away.  My second building collapsed while I was showering.  I needed to have the grotto, since it was to be the centerpiece of the tea!  On the way to my friend's house, I picked up some more marshmallows and Rice Krispies, and my friend and I made another batch, taking care not to add too much cereal.  We allowed it to cool and then cut the treats into "bricks" and built the grotto that way.  It came out pretty well considering my previous attempts. 

Our Finished Grotto! Yeah!
Thanks to our friends for a wonderful time!  We ended up staying longer than we had planned and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

God Bless,

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Menu Planner

I've decided that I like having a weekly plan for our menu.  I've even started planning out lunches for the week.  I usually don't for the weekends, but it is nice having a plan for the weekdays.  You can make your own menu planner worksheet, but why reinvent the wheel.  Donna Young has several varieties so you can choose the one you like.  She has several other household and home school helpers.  My favorite are the lesson plans for Apologia Science.  I've depended on these for the past several years.  The link above is to the page with menu planner templates.  You can find her other stuff at

God Bless,