Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Passion for Children

I know that I've mentioned it before, but my children *love* all of the Glory Story CD's that are put out by Catholic World Missions. The last couple years, my children have each gotten one of the CD's in their Easter Basket and we now all 10 CD's.

One of our favorite CD's during Lent is The Passion for Children: The Way of the Cross. This CD teaches children how to pray the Stations of the Cross, and also includes dramatized explanations of "what happened" at each station.

Right now, you can listen to the full "The Passion for Children" CD online!

Also, for those of you interested in ordering a couple CD's for Easter Baskets... ;) My *favorite* place to purchase them is Sacred Heart Books and Gifts. Not only do they offer the Glory Story CD's at a 25% discount, they also offer free shipping with a $25 order, making them very affordable. (I also order most of my Little Flower supplies from them too!! You can't beat their prices!)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Spreading a Little Love :: Pay it Forward

I recently agreed to take part in the Pay it Forward gift exchange... Not only will Regina be making me something, I get to spoil three of you with something handmade too! Okay, maybe I shouldn't say spoil you, since I can't knit or crochet, and I can barely sew, but I am sure there must be something I can make... I just haven't decided WHAT yet!

:: The Rules ::

I will send a handmade gift to the first three people who leave a comment to this post on my blog requesting to join this Pay it Forward Exchange.

All the gifts will be made and mailed out "sometime within the next year". How exciting to not know when your surprise package will arrive!

What you need to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

This Exchange is only open to those with active websites or blogs.

:: Added Bonus ::

After I have three people who want to play along, I am also going to randomly select a fourth person to send something to, so you don't have to worry if you aren't the first, second or third to comment (or if you don't have a blog) - there is still a chance! Since this person will be randomly selected, they will not be obligated to participate in the Pay it Forward exchange {perhaps they could opt to commit a random act of kindness for someone in their day-to-day life instead}.

UPDATE: It looks like I will be sending something to Aimee, Eileen, and Erin! Thank you for playing along! Please email me your mailing address, and remember to pass it forward on your own blogs!! My kiddos will draw a name for the added bonus {4th giveaway} on Monday, so the rest of you have all weekend to add a comment, if you'd like.

Another Update: Cathy, could you also email me with your address? Your name was drawn for my bonus "Pay it Forward" gift!! =)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Could you please...

... say a prayer for a dear friend of mine and her family? I just got off the phone with her, and she could really use all the prayers we can send. I am going to go and pray a rosary for them right now, but would you all mind adding a prayer (or two!) as well? Thank you all so much!

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Lenten Adventure

I never did get a chance to sign up for the Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure, but since we had previously signed up for their Advent Adventure, we are getting the emails. My boys were so excited when I pulled up the videos and printed out the activities for this week!

There is no charge to join and, once you sign up, you will receive three emails a week (on Monday, Wednesday and Friday) linking you to videos, activities, and printable resources throughout the season of Lent. In the last email, they said, "As Lent progresses, additional types of learning activities for children of all ages will be added, such as coloring pages, crosswords, word searches, fun quizzes, prayers, songs, and more."

I know this has been posted on various blogs already, but I thought I would share it too, just in case any of you haven't heard of it yet.

Garden of the Good Shepherd

Last year, inspired by Charlotte, my family really enjoyed using Tomie de Paola's Garden of the Good Shepherd: A Sticker Album to Count the 50 Days to celebrate the Easter season.

Normally it retails for $19.95, but right now you can purchase it for just $3.00 from Liturgy Training Publications. Shipping is rather high, but it is still cheaper than purchasing it from Amazon, plus you can order a few extras to give away, like I did last year! ;)

In a thread over at 4Real, Anne (who just made an amazing Jesus Tree) suggested making a homemade felt Garden of the Good Shepherd as well. I would totally *love* to do that, but I am not sure I'll be able to this year. We'll see!

Even though it is early, I went ahead and updated my sidebar with links to our Garden of the Good Shepherd posts from last year. I may update them and add a few new activities when it comes time to do them this year, but I thought I'd link them anyway.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Our Lenten Calendar ~ 2009

I finally finished making our Lenten Calendar this morning, just before Mass. Yes, it is almost identical to last year's calendar, but that is what my children requested!

Heavenly Father, Let us enter the season of Lent in the spirit of joy giving ourselves to spiritual strife, cleansing our soul and body, controlling our passions, as we limit our food, living on the virtues of the Holy Spirit; Let us persevere in our longing for Christ so as to be worthy to behold His most solemn Passion and the most holy Passover, rejoicing the while with spiritual joy. Amen.

WoW ~ Week 7

Time to report my Weight on Wednesday once again... This past week wasn't too bad! Last week I started following the food suggestions in Making the Cut by Jillian Michaels. I was able to keep my daily calories between 1200-1400, and never felt hungry. In just four days (Tues-Fri), I lost three pounds! However, with all my running around on Saturday and Sunday, and knowing that Lent was starting today, I didn't count calories over the weekend. After eating too much of Rascal's super yummy First Communion Cake, I got back to my diet on Monday, and even with yesterday being "Fat Tuesday" I still get to report a two pound loss for this week! Now, if only I could keep it up and get back to exercising. That's what I'll be working on this week... Well, that and getting over this cold.

My Summary:

  • Week Seven Weight Loss/Gain: -2 pounds
  • Inches Loss/Gain: -.5 inches
  • Overall Results: -7.5 pounds and -7 inches
To see everyone's stats, or to join in the fun, head on over to Regina's!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shrove Tuesday

Today was Shrove Tuesday, also known as Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras or Pancake Day. It is also the last day of Ordinary time, with Lent beginning tomorrow on Ash Wednesday.

You know, I realized on Sunday, when Father reminded us all of the requirements for Fasting on Ash Wednesday, that this will be the first Lenten season since 1999 that I have been required to Fast!! It has been awhile!

Well, I have still not been able to get over this cold, and today it has gotten worse, so to celebrate Shrove Tuesday, and enjoy the end of the "Carnival" season, I canceled (most) school for the day and let my children play, watch movies, finish up their St. Valentine's Day candy, and just have fun!

Inspired by Melissa, my children made butterfly and eagle masks.

I thought they turned out so cute!

I had hoped to use the traditional recipe Melissa used, but instead we baked a quick and easy version of the Mardi Gras King Cake using a package of Cinnamon Rolls. It was very easy, and Twinkle Toes was able to make it mostly by herself!

For dinner we had my Grandmother's Crepes (which call for LOTS of eggs and milk, making them perfect for Shrove Tuesday since traditionally all fats, eggs, and butter had to be given up for Lent, and pancakes, or waffles, call for all these ingredients), with bacon, orange juice, and another King Cake on the side! Yum!!!

Well, I am going to sign off so I can finally put the finishing touches on our Lenten Calendar. How's that for waiting till the last minute?! ;)

I hope you all have a very blessed Ash Wednesday! God Bless!

Real Quick...

...I wanted to share one more picture from Sunday.

This simple breakfast was shared by Tracy during our First Communion Celebrations Fair at Catholic Cuisine! Rascal *loved* it, and it was so very easy and doable even at the last minute! Thank you Tracy!

A First Holy Communion

Quinquagesima Sunday ~ February 22, 2009
(February 22 is also the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, which I thought was special since Father recently came back from giving tours in Rome of St. Peter's tomb!)

"My First Holy Communion!"

Our Family and our First Communicant with Father
(Right before Mass we found out that this was Father's First time to give someone their First Holy Communion! Isn't that neat?!)

"Adoremus in Æternum Sanctissimum Sacramentum."
(Let us for ever adore the Most Holy Sacrament.)

"The body of our Lord, Jesus Christ, preserve my soul unto life everlasting! I possess Him Who gives Eternal life. With firm and confident Faith, I believe, O Jesus, that Thou hast words of eternal life. Thy Flesh is meat indeed. I have received Thy sacred Body. Thou art truly present in my soul, my Lord and my God; Thou art most intimately united in me. Oh, how can I sufficiently adore Thee! Thou art my God -- I, thy unworthy creature; Thou, my Father and Savior, hast taken pity on me: Thou lovest me, it is Thy delight to be with me. How can I, my Jesus, thank Thee for this grace! Magnify the Lord, my soul, for He hath done wonderful things to thee! Sweet merciful Jesus, vouchsafe to look kindly upon my poor and pitiful gratitude." ~ Excerpt from First Communion Thanksgiving Prayer
in Jesus Make Me Worthy

Monday, February 23, 2009

“My son, your sins are forgiven.”

"And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven.”
~ Mark 2:3-5 (From the Gospel Reading for Feb 22, 2009)

Back in November, after coming home from the doctor's office and having to tell my children that our little one had gone to heaven, my boys took it much harder than I had expected... I had a hard time consoling both of them. I pulled Rascal up into my lap and asked him what was wrong. Through his tears he said, "Mom, I am just so scared that I am going to die before I am able to make my First Confession, and that I am not going to be able to go to heaven and meet our baby."

Even though I call our second son "Rascal" here on my blog (he can be a little stinker at times), he is such a sweet sensitive little guy. I remember back when he had just turned two and hubby and I had put our 3 children (at the time) to bed, Rascal would usually talk or sing himself to sleep. Well, I heard him talking in his room, so I peeked inside and then called hubby over look. He was kneeling beside his little toddler bed talking to Jesus, on the cross above his bed, and telling him "I'm two!" while holding up two of his little fingers. I let out a little giggle, which Rascal heard, and he jumped back into his bed.

Yes, ever since he was baby he has loved Our Lord dearly. When he turned five he began serving Mass on Fridays with his older brother, in addition to "playing Mass" at home. He has been anxiously awaiting being able to receive his First Holy Communion, and more recently has had a great desire to make his First Confession.

Back to November... We knew that Rascal was ready to make his First Confession, but we weren't sure what we could do. We had tried to put him in a First Communion class last September, but since he had not been in the program the year before as well, the DRE placed him in the younger class, and said that he would have to wait until next year. It's a long story which I would rather not go into, but I'll just leave it with the fact that we didn't have very many options, and had been considering taking a trip to visit one of my brother-in-laws! ;)

Well, I had the opportunity to speak with a new priest in our area, whom I was able to meet with right before and after my miscarriage. I brought up Rascal and his desire to make his First Confession, and he said he would see what he could do. To make a long story short shorter, I received a call from him on Friday afternoon saying he could do the First Confession and First Communion Sunday morning!!!

OH!!!! WOW!!!! Even though Rascal was ready, I wasn't! ;) I would need to invite our family and his God-parents, find a suit, find the First Communion tie (which would take until right before we had to leave on Sunday), order a cake, buy a gift, and so on, and I would only have Saturday to do so (which was already filled with other plans!)! But, how could we say no?!?! Rascal was SO excited! And I had a panic attack! ;)

So, yesterday morning, bright and early, Rascal made his First Confession and then received Our Lord for the very first time! He has just been glowing ever since!

I do have a few pictures to share, but right now I need to take care of Captain and Twinkle Toes who both came down with a fever last night. Hum, my children all got sick right after our last First Communion too... Hopefully this time won't be as bad, and I will be back soon!

Lord Jesus Christ, in the Sacrament of the Eucharist You left us the outstanding manifestation of your limitless love for us. Thank You for giving our child the opportunity to experience this love in receiving the Sacrament for the first time. May your Eucharist presence keep him ever free from sin, fortified in faith, pervaded by love for God and neighbor, and fruitful in virtue, that he may continue to receive You throughout life and attain final union with You at death. Amen.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Getting Ready for Lent

Can you believe that Lent begins this coming Wednesday?! Are you ready?? I'm not, but I am slowly getting there.

Our Jesus Tree is ready to go! It was so nice to just pull it out of the closet and hang it on the wall, versus the countless hours I spent putting it together last year. Yay!!!

I also just purchased and downloaded the *brand new* Lent Faith Folder from Faith Folders for Catholics. I was so excited when I received the email tonight announcing that it was available, especially since my boys *loved* working on the Advent Faith Folder. Right now, my printer is busy printing out the 114 pages that came with the download... It looks like it is chock-full with great content!

I've also been gathering all of our Picture Books and CD's for Lent, and I placed an order for The Way of the Cross for Children. We are planning on attending the Stations of the Cross each Friday after Mass, but I am sure this DVD will be a nice addition for the rest of the week!

OH, and I still need to put together our Lenten Calendar. I have quite a few things I need to get done first, so it may not happen until Monday... We'll see. =)

Building a Ziggurat

This year the boys have been studying Ancient History. Even though we haven't had a whole lot of time to devote to History this year, the boys have really been enjoying listening to the books and starting their own Book of Centuries.

They have been begging to do another History art project though, so the other day I handed them Old Testament Days: An Activity Guide and asked them to choose a project. They decided to build a ziggurat.

A ziggurat was a terraced pyramid several stories high. It is thought they were first built around 2500 BC by the ancient Sumerians, who lived in a region which now forms part of southern Iraq. The ziggurat was the tallest and most important building in a Sumerian city. The temple priests would walk up long rows of stairs to get from one level to the next.

Anyhow, it ended up being fairly easy to build. Here are the materials we used:
  • Empty rectangular boxes of a variety of sizes (we used a tomato sauce box, a cereal box, a hot cocoa box and an empty box of tea)
  • Glue (we also used a bit of tape)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Craft or Tempera paint, brown
  • Measuring Spoon & Cup
  • Cornmeal
  • Permanent Marker

The boys stacked the boxes and, with daddy's help, hot glued them together. Next they painted the boxes brown.

After the first coat was dry, they made a mixture of cornmeal and paint (1 TBS of cornmeal to every 1/8 cup of paint) and added a second coat which gave texture to the walls of the ziggurat. When it was all dry they added stairs up the side and a door at the top.

The boys had a lot of fun building their ziggurat, and they are already asking, "What can we make next!!??"

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Holy Sacrifice

Our friend Marc has just created another beautiful video titled The Holy Sacrifice. He has put together a series of images and video set to the hymn "Pange Lingua Gloriosi Corporis Mysterium" by St. Thomas Aquinas.

I may be just a tiny bit partial since all of the priests pictured in the Consecration photos are very dear to us (plus he even included the picture of our oldest son just before he received his First Holy Communion!), but isn't it wonderful?!?

A Quick Update

I can't believe it is already Thursday!! It has been a busy week, and I just haven't had the time (or motivation) for blogging. Did you know that if you get Strep Throat bad enough, it can turn into a Kidney infection?? I didn't, but that's what happened to hubby this past week. He is starting to feel better, now that he is on antibiotics.

I just added another prayer request to the side bar (would you consider doing the same??). Please add Elizabeth to your prayers, and Sarah's sweet little Sophia, and please continue to pray for the Hadley's. THANK YOU!!

I did check in over at Regina's yesterday, and was able to report a 1 lb loss this past week! Yay!! Basically it was the pound I gained last week, but not bad considering all the treats we've had around here lately! Even though I haven't had that much time for exercising (I only got to it twice this past week), I have been very good about watching my portion sizes.

I also wanted to let you all know that I had to turn on comment moderation after receiving over 50 spam comments over the last couple days. I guess I haven't been the only one... Very frustrating!! I am still working on deleting them all.

Well, it's time for me to get off the computer and get my children started with their schoolwork. Hopefully I be able to catch up with you all soon. I hope you are all having a great week!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Celebrating St. Valentine

On Friday a friend of ours had a few families over for a visit, including us. Since it was the day before Valentine's Day, our little get together quickly turned into a St. Valentine's Party for our children. I can't take any credit for the afternoon... My friend Trina is the ultimate party planner and she had so many fun things planned for the children.

After everyone had eaten lunch, Trina's daughters performed a puppet show for everyone while Trina read the wonderful book Saint Valentine. It was so nice to start our afternoon together learning more about this saint, and the girls did such a great job acting out the story!!

Next it was time for a craft. I had mentioned that Heart Shaped Creature Cookies would be fun, and Trina pulled it all together!

It was so cute seeing everyone's yummy creations! Let's see, we had fish, jellyfish, teddy bears, dogs, bunnies, birds, butterfly's, snails and scorpions, and probably many more that I am forgetting to mention... The possibilities were endless!

Rascal made a snail.

Twinkle Toes made a butterfly, and Chiquita made a fishy...

Captain said he made "a tree... The licorice is the roots, the pretzels are the trunk, the red pink and white candies are the blossoms, and the green hearts are leaves..."

This is one of my adorable Godsons!
He made the cutest "scorpion" I have ever seen.

After all that sugar, it was time to let them all outside to burn off some of that energy!! When I saw all the children on the Plane shaped teeter totter I had to run out and snap a few pictures... Isn't it great!?

Once all the sugar had worn off, it was time to come back inside for some Valentine Bingo!

In the meantime Snuggles was practicing taking the lids off of markers.. Uh oh!

And that wasn't it!! After Bingo, there were even more crafts to choose from, and the girls got make woven paper hearts for the first time... I remember making those when I was their age!!

I have even more pictures, but I have posted too many already, and we have to leave... We are off to a carnival themed double birthday party for one of our Godsons and his older brother this afternoon... Boy, after all this celebrating, my children are sure going to be in for a shock when lent begins next week, aren't they?!

Hope you are all having a great weekend! God Bless!