Monday, March 22, 2010

Celebrating the Easter Season :: The Garden of the Good Shepherd

A couple years ago, inspired by Charlotte, we started using Tomie dePaola's The Garden of the Good Shepherd Sticker Calendar to count the fifty days of Easter.  In addition to placing the sticker on the Garden of the Good Shepherd Poster, and reading a coordinating bible verse and meditation, we would (almost always) do a fun craft, activity, or prepare a snack based on the symbol each day.

If any of you are interested in doing the same, I put together a page with links to all of my various Garden of the Good Shepherd posts which include lots of suggestions for each week.  You can also find even more ideas over at Charlotte's blog.

Anyhow, as I mentioned earlier, my children really love this new Easter tradition of ours, and always look forward to the daily activities.  However, to be honest with you, I just don't have the energy to pull off 50 DAYS of "something extra" right now.  It was hard enough to stay motivated the past couple years (I would always lose momentum towards the end), not to mention that the Alphabet Path has been keeping us extra busy this year.  That said, we have decided to do things a little bit differently this Easter season...

Here's the plan.  We will still read the bible verse and place the sticker on the calendar each day, but instead of having an extra daily activity, at the end of each week (on either Friday or Saturday) we will combine them all (focusing on fun and yummy foods) into a

Good Shepherd's Garden Party!

Weekly Themes:

1)  The Good Shepherd’s Pasture

Personally, I think this will be a really fun change for us this year, and simplify the planning process for me! ;)

Charlotte and I have been talking on the phone, and emailing back and forth, since we will be collaborating on this project!   Yay!! Charlotte has the BEST ideas when it comes to party planning!  Ooohhhh!!! It's going to be so much fun!

We would LOVE for some of you to join us, so we are already working on putting together the weekly menus, recipes, shopping lists, and readings, and we plan to post them at least a couple weeks before each party takes place.   (The plans for the first week, The Good Shepherd's Pasture, will be posted later this week!)

My sister Julianna made the button for us (pictured above), and we also plan to post a Mister Linky at Catholic Cuisine each Monday (beginning on April 12th) so that everyone who participates can link up and share the pictures from their previous week's Good Shepherd's Garden Party!

You do need to order your sticker calendar soon, since Easter Sunday is less than two weeks away!    I noticed that, since I posted the link in my Picture Books for Easter post, it has sold out at Amazon...  However,  if you haven't ordered a copy yet, it is still available from Liturgy Training Publications.

As another alternative, Charlotte is planning on illustrating a set of the 50 symbols herself, which you'll all be able to download and print for your children to color and create their own Garden of the Good Shepherd Poster! Isn't she awesome!?!

So, is anyone interested?  We'd love to hear if any of you think you might like to join us this year!!


  1. I was planning on skipping the Garden of the Good Shepherd this year for the same reasons you explained. However, I was feeling bad about doing this, especially since the girls enjoy it. I think that your idea is a wonderful "compromise." Count us IN!!!

  2. Sounds great! This will be our first year following the Garden of the Good Shepherd. Please count us in!

    I'm going to do my best to follow your plans. I love the fact that I don't have to reinvent the wheel. I especially appreciate your pro-activeness at this time since I'm 8 mos preg and low on energy.

    God Bless!

  3. Hello!
    We're in.
    I happened to stumble upon this book last year after Easter, very inexpensively and we are looking forward to doing it this year.

    I'll be sending hubby up to dig out the Easter box post-haste.
    I'll start with looking over all y'all previous work.

  4. I love all your ideas. You can count us in this year. It will be nice to do some different things this year.

  5. This sounds wonderful and much more attainable than something for every day. I am really looking forward to all the Holy Week tea ideas you posted earlier as well. Thanks again, Angie

  6. We are IN! thank you so much Jessica and Charlotte! You are both such treasures!

  7. This sounds like fun---I like your simplified plan! We'll try to participate.

  8. I am absolutely in, since I was a bit overwhelmed last year and am just starting my last trimester! I'm going to see if even a few families in our area would like to do it together and rotate hosting the parties. Thank you SO much for sharing your creativity with us!

  9. I'll be joining you. I like the simplified plan too.

  10. We're in, only I beg the mercy to drop out if we sell our house and need to move in the middle...

  11. Sounds wonderful. You can count the Ipps in!

  12. I was planning on doing the daily Garden activities (I've raided your and Charlotte's blogs :) ). This sounds like it might be quite a bit easier since 500 days *is* a long time. I can't wait to see what you two VERY creative people come up with :)

  13. Yay, thanks for all of this. We did the Garden of the Good Shepherd two years ago and it was a hit,,,and I didn't even think to do all the fun stuff! We will do it again next year and add more goodies and crafts. I know the kids liked it...even my 13yo has hung onto hers for two years now.

  14. Absolutely!

    We followed the readins, activities, and snacks last year and were planning on joining in again this year. So I'm all for a party.

    Count us in. I'll have my blog open up to public view far still a little shy about it.

  15. Yes, I would love to share in the fruits of your efforts! I've had the Garden of the Good Shepherd for a few years and only used it one year. My children weren't too excited about just putting on a sticker, so your plans will definitely liven it up for us. Weekly sounds so much more do-able for us, too! Thank you! May God bless you in this e-ministry of yours! :-)

  16. I love the weekly party idea. We bought the Garden of the Good Shepherd last year during Lent, but I didn't have it in me to plan it all out last year, so I was planning on using it in some way this we're in. Thanks for sharing!!

  17. Sounds fun, we'll do it! Our Garden of the Good Shepherd stickers are all ready for their second year of use!

  18. Hi Jessica,

    I'd love to do this (for the first time) with my four girls.

    Heartfelt thanks to you and Charlotte for all the ways you bless us.

    God's blessings,


  19. You gals are amazing. I was looking at your blogs yesterday and was going to start making plans today. Unfortunately, we don't have the book and I can't afford to purchase it (postage to Canada is really expensive). I still hope we can join in without. God Bless you talented ladies.

  20. Dear Jessica,
    Count us in.
    I found every day just too much in the past and gave up.
    But once a week that is so do-able.
    Thanks for this and Charlotte as well
    God Bless

  21. I just ordered this from LTP ... and am looking forward to participating in this Easter project this year!

  22. Dear Jessica, and hello to you all ladies!
    I hope you are all having a blessed lent-just wanted to tell you we are in on the Good Shepherdd too,all the way from Europa!
    After doing the Jesus tree with you for 6 weeks now ,without any of the books or material so I have been painting all the pictures and hanging them on a bouquet of branches LOL, we are so happy to have purchased a set from Amazon weeks ago!
    If i dare to give the Internet society another chance i will open my blog again and certainly post pictures of my happy children wile we learn and grow in our beautiful Catholic faith ,if not for any other reason then to show Jessica what a tremendous blessing she has been to us.
    In Him,Emma

    March 23, 2010 1:06 PM

  23. I so plan to do this!!!

    is there a link for the kid colored garden yet?

    thanks so much for this!

  24. Definitely! I'm so excited! Simple is always better and this sounds like so much fun. Thank you Jessica and Charlotte!

  25. I am SO excited to join you in this simpler version this year, since I'm in my last trimester and needing simplicity. In fact, we are going to have a few families get together each week, rotating homes, for the parties, making the planning even easier. Each of us is going to take 2-3 parties to plan and host! Thank you!!!

  26. I just wondered what Bible you use to read the scriptures for Garden of the Good Shepherd..........there are no specific scripture verses mentioned in the new catholic picture bible by Fr. Lovasik.........just wondered if you had any ideas. Thanks!! God bless you!!!

  27. Wow your sister is a great artist.


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