Monday, April 29, 2013

Catholic Daily Planners and the Church Calendar

One of the frequent questions I am asked is how I keep track of the upcoming feast days, and whether or not I have a favorite planner.

Just the other day Annie left the following comment on my Keeping Track and Making Progress {Daily Checklists and Planners for the School Year} post from last year:
This post was very helpful to me! I switched to the checklists midyear, and it was so much easier. Thank you! I'm looking for a new calendar to keep track of feast day celebrations. Do you have a preference between the Tan one and The Catholic Daily Planner now that you've used both?

Since I actually just ordered a couple new planners for the next school year, I thought this would be a great time to revisit the topic and try to answer Annie's question.

When I recommend a Catholic Planner I always suggest either the Saints Calendar & 16-Month Planner published by TAN (I've been using this calendar for many years) or the Catholic Daily Planner by Michele Quigley (I just purchased my 3rd annual planner).  

[UPDATE:  You can visit TAN Books / Neumann Press via my new Affiliate link here!  Thank you!] 

Last year I was also given a review copy of the Holy Simplicity Planner (I blogged about it here.) but after discovering that the publisher practices *Sedevacantism and the planner follows the General Roman Calendar of 1954 (which is currently used by the Sedevantists and is not the current calendar used by Traditional Catholics in good standing with the Holy See)  I removed the links from my blog and can no longer recommend the Holy Simplicity planner in good conscious.
*Sedevacantism (derived from the Latin words sedes or "seat", and vacans or "vacant") is the position, held by a minority of Traditionalist Catholics, that the present occupant of the papal see is not truly Pope and that, for lack of a valid Pope, the see has been vacant since the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958. A tiny number of these claim the vacancy actually goes back to the death of Pope Pius X in 1914.  Sedevacantists believe that Paul VI (1963–1978), John Paul I (1978), John Paul II (1978–2005), Benedict XVI (2005–2013), and Francis (2013–present) have been neither true Catholics nor true Popes, by virtue of allegedly having espoused the heresy of Modernism, or of having otherwise denied or contradicted solemnly defined Catholic dogmas. Some of them classify John XXIII (1958–1963) also as a Modernist antipope.  Source: Wikipedia

My family is Catholic. While I agree that there are problems to resolve within the Church, Vatican I reminds us that we won't be left without successors to the throne of Peter. As much as I wish we had more frequent access to Traditional Latin Masses (approved by the Holy Father), I am very thankful that we still have all the sacraments, and trust that the Pope, Bishops, Priests, and Masses we have are valid. When choosing a Calendar to help my family follow and celebrate the liturgical year at home it is important for me to know that the one I am using does indeed follow the currently approved Church Calendar, whether it is the New (Novus Ordo) General Roman Calendar or the (Traditional/Extraordinary) General Calendar of 1962 (used, with permission, by the FSSP and other Traditionalists in good standing with the Holy See).

Now that I've become aware of some of the issues with other "Catholic" planners I very much appreciate that both the Tan Saints Calendar and Michele Quigley's Catholic Daily Planner both very cleary state the current Church Calendars on which their planners are based, and do so throughout the planners.
Saints Calendar:  This Saints Calendar and Daily Planner - 2013 includes both the New or Novus Ordo Sundays and feast days, and the Traditional Sundays and feast days (as of 1962).  These latter are observed when the Traditional Latin Mass is offered.  The Novus Ordo Sundays and feast days, which date from 1970 or later whenever they differ from the Traditional ones, are designated: (New). The Traditional Sundays and feast days, most of which go back centuries, are designated: (Trad.). Also included here are any feast days which no longer appear on either the New or the Traditional calendar (as of 1962) - such as the feasts of St. Philomena, St. Dismas (the Good Thief), St. Tarcisius, St. Gemma Galgani and St. Dominic Savio; these Historical feasts are designated: (Hist.). It should be noted that there was some moving around of feast days even before the New Calendar was introduced in 1970.  For example, St. Catherine of Sweden is shown in March 22 in a 1931 edition of Butler's Lives of the Saints but on March 24 in a 1956 edition of the same work. In this calendar, the date in parentheses after the name of a Saint is the year of the Saint's death.

Catholic Daily Planner:  It is built on the standard guidelines of both the Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI in 1970 used in the Ordinary Form of the Latin Rite and the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII in 1962 used in the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite, as well as the particular calendar for the United States of America.  It does not represent all possible variants.

Anyways, back to Annie's question... Do I have a preference between the Tan and the Catholic Daily Planner now that I've used both?  

This is really a tough question for me to answer since I do (and plan to continue) use both planners each year!  My husband's mother always gives us each a copy of the Saints Calendar for Christmas, and I use it for the Calendar Year (Jan-Dec).   I also purchase a copy of The Catholic Daily Planner to go along with our school year (July-August) though I do believe Michele also sells a Calendar Year version as well.  

Since I've been using the Saints Calendar from Tan for so long, it is still my preference for planning our Saint Day Celebrations.   I love that it includes the New, Traditional, and Historical Feast Days for every day of the year.  I love that it highlights a saint each week.  It also includes lists of all the Saints' Days & Non Moveable Feasts, Patron Saints, and so much more.  This planner sits on my desk year round and is the calendar I reference when I am working on organizing the archives at Catholic Cuisine, writing my submissions for the Quiet Moments & Celebrate section at Catholic Digest, or planning our own family feast day celebrations.    (You can see some sample photos in this post. The Saints Calendar is currently sold out for 2013.)

There are also some things that I really love about the Catholic Daily Planner!  There are pages to include Personal Information, Friends & Contacts, and even a Web Log to easily remember all your favorite websites and blogs (like Shower of Roses, right? lol)! Since it does not include a featured saint for each week, there is more room for recording our daily plans and activities.  There is a 5 page section with Daily Prayers and inspiring quotes included throughout the planner.  I also love that it includes the Papal Prayer Intentions for each month!  

You can also customize the Catholic Daily Planner with your choice from a number of lovely cover options. You can also choose between a Full-Size or Half-Size Planner,  and you can add optional Lesson and/or Menu Planners to the back!  In the past I have always chosen the cover option 3LI (Bouguereau's L'Innocence), which is definitely my favorite, but this year I went with 5AG for a change. They are all beautiful!  I also prefer the Half-Sized Planner, which can easily fit inside my purse, since I do use it to keep track of all our appointments and extra-curricular activities.  And even though I have added the Menu-Planner in the past, I think the new separate Full-Size Menu Planner will be perfect for me. 

In summary, here is what works for me:

I really don't think you can go wrong with either the Saints Calendar or the Catholic Daily Planner.  They are both excellent planners which I highly recommend!   Hopefully the above descriptions will help you decide which is the best fit for you and your family.  

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Thursday, April 25, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life. ~


That checker at Trader Joes the other night was an excellent salesman!  In addition to the Cheese Blintzes in my basket, I ended up coming home with a jar of Imported Lemon Curd and a bag of Organic Frozen Raspberries as well.   YUM!!!  And, yes, I did share them with all the kids... There were only 6 in the box and 8 of us at home, which thankfully kept me from eating the whole box! ;) 

I also made these Coconut Creme Caramel Brownie Bites, after digging through the cupboards last Sunday trying to come up with a dessert to bring to the Potluck we were hosting after our second Latin Mass!  They didn't last long and I was told that they were really good. 


Chiquita was more than happy to share her new books, which she received on her birthday last Saturday, with her big sister.  Twinkle Toes ended up reading the whole series before the weekend was over! 

And during the birthday breakfast, as Rose slid a barstool across the kitchen floor and over to the island so she could climb up and get her 3rd or 4th piece of melon, I said "Wow!  Somebody really likes cantaloupe!" She turned with a big grin and said "YES!!! I DO!!! I LOVVVE IT!!!!"  
She was one happy, and apparently very hungry, little girl! 


The weather has been just beautiful all week and we have been spending lots of time outside enjoying the fresh spring air. Bud especially loves the swing! 

"AAaaaahhhhhh!" aka "Look at me, everybody!!!" 


Do any of you ever relight the candles on birthday cakes?  Our older children always love having us relight them (when we are celebrating with just our family) for the little ones to blow out too.  

Visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more pictures of contentment.

Please Pray for the Soul of Neumann Press Founder

In your charity, please pray for the repose of the soul of Dennis McCoy, founder of The Neumann Press.

Our family has been so blessed by the books from Neumann Press - the precious baby records (reprints of the one my husband had from his own childhood!), traditional coloring books our children love, the gorgeous hardcover copy of Sermons of the Curé of Ars we read often at dinner, and so many other inspiring and beautiful Catholic books they have reprinted. We've slowly been collecting them all to share with our children.

May God reward him greatly for his dedicated service in promoting and spreading the Catholic faith!

Réquiem ætérnam dona ei Dómine;
et lux perpétua lúceat ei.
Requiéscat in pace. Amen.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Saint George and the Dragon :: A 3-D Sugar Cookie Story Quilt

IN THE DAYS when monsters and giants and fairy folk lived in England, a noble knight was riding across a plain...  ~ Saint George and the Dragon

Even though it ended up being a two day project (we started the cookies yesterday, before I left for a night-out with friends, and finished decorating them today after our new math tutor left), the kids all really enjoyed creating another Sugar Cookie Story Quilt in honor of the feast of St. George!  

They went with pretty much the same design as last year, with a few changes.  Mainly they just wanted to make this year's cookie quilt 3-D by standing up the Castle and Dragon, and adding St. George

A couple lightning bolts "glued" on with melted candy completed the "huge flames that covered all the heavens with smoke and brimstone so that the knight was forced to retreat to save his body from the scorching fire." 

And I loved how "St. George" really made sure that fire-breathing dragon "would stir no more..." 

Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten. ~G. K. Chesterton

Happy (belated) Feast of St. George!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Feliz Cumpleaños Chiquita :: A "Josefina" Birthday!

On Saturday we celebrated Chiquita's 8th Birthday!  This year she requested a Josefina themed birthday party.  I hadn't been feeling well all of last week, and was overwhelmed from way too much paperwork, other commitments, and a 12 year old boy who had been sick all night Friday/Saturday morning. Thankfully I had put a little thought into her birthday weeks ago and had supplies and a few activities planned to make sure she had a special day, even though we kept the celebration simple and to just our immediate family. 

Chiquita was given Josefina, her very first American girl doll, for Christmas in 2010.  This past year the girls also completed a Unit Study and Josefina Lap Book.  And last Christmas Chiquita received a dress-up clothes to match Josefina!  The first thing Chiquita did when she woke up was put on her Josefina outfit! 

.: Las Manitas :.

mañanitas (may-nyah-NEE-tahs) - a traditional song sung to wake someone in the morning on a special day Happy Birthday, Josefina!

Usually I try to have a cake baked and decorated the night before, for the children to discover when they wake up in the morning, but Friday night Sean and I were out late (He had choir practice for our Latin Mass and I needed to run a few errands.  Afterwards we went to every store in town trying to find a bike for the birthday girl.)  so early Saturday morning we got up early, wrapped a few gifts, placed some flowers on the counter, along with a coffee cake and melon for breakfast.  We then "woke up" the birthday girl singing Las Mañanitas!   I purchased a beautiful Mañanitas CD from Sister Servants which we played all morning.

We sing songs for your feast day, which were sung by David, King,
Now we sing them in your honor; Of all your beauties we sing,

Awake now, my love, awake now, the dawn has already flown;
hear the little birds are singing, the moon's already gone home...

Along with the Coffee Cake and Melon the birthday girl also enjoyed New Mexican Hot Cocoa!

Esteban and Mariana brought a wonderful gift. It was a melon that had been buried in sand since last fall's harvest to keep it fresh.  When Josefina thanked her, Mariana said, "It's not much, but my heart goes with it."  ~ Happy Birthday, Josefina!

Tia Dolores had made a special fancy loaf of bread.  

Twinkle Toes made sure to add a Statue of St. Joseph to the decorations for her little sister.  

"The morning song was only the first surprise in a day full of them.  Ana made cookies called bizcochitos for everyone to eat before breakfast.  At morning prayers, Francisca showed Josefina how she'd decorated the family altar with garlands of mint and willow leaves and how she'd surrounded the statue of San Jose, the saint Josefina was named for, with white wild lilies and little yellow celery flowers.  Clara, who liked to be practical, surprised Josefina by helping with her chores." Happy Birthday, Josefina!

.: Memory Boxes :. 

The girls had also been saving the Memory Box Craft Kits they received for Christmas to paint on Chiquita's birthday!

"Papa had given her a little wooden box of Mama's. Josefina called it her memory box because in it she kept small things that reminded her of Mama, such as a piece of Mama's favorite lavendar-scented soap." ~ Meet Josefina

The girls had so much fun painting their own little wooden memory boxes! 

Rose didn't want to be left out of the painting fun... I ended up finding a wooden egg for her to paint.  She painted it pink, of course, and has been carrying it around ever since!

.: Snake-Bite Calzone :.

Then everything happened so fast it was a blur. The snake gave a menacing rattle. Mariana threw the rock at it and missed. The snake whipped its head around, shot forward, and struck Mariana on the arm with its fangs."  Happy Birthday, Josefina!

Shortcake had suggested incorporating a snake into our party, and Charlotte found me a recipe from Kraft for a Snake-Bite Calzone!  Of course I needed "a five year old boy and a three year old girl" to help make a special lunch for the birthday girl! ;) The prefect distraction for my two "helpers" while the girls finished painting their memory boxes!

Rose wasn't sure she was interested in eating "snake" for lunch... even if it does taste like pizza! 

The birthday girl, on the other hand,  thought it was perfect!!!  And the boys? Well they said next time we need to make 4 or 5, not just one.  It was GOOD!  

He handed her something that looked sort of like a shell.  It was rattles from a rattlesnake. "I've saved these since I was a boy just your age," said Papa to Josefina," to remind me of something I was proud of.  Now I am giveing them to you, because I am proud of you."  Happy Birthday, Josefina!

.: Spanish Appetizers :.

There were meat turnovers, and fruit tarts, and candies fruit that looked like jewels.  Happy Birthday, Josefina!

Thankfully I had picked up lots of appetizers (which helped make up for not having enough Snake Calzone) at Costco including Mini Chicken Tacos, Beef Taquitos, and Chicken, Pepper Jack and Jalapeño Empanadas, with Chips and Salsa. 

.: Spanish Songs and Games :.

"Popular pastimes from Spain included singing games such as La Vibora de la Mar (The Sea Serpent), which is similar to London Bridge, and guessing games such as El Floron (The Flower), which is much like Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?"  Happy Birthday, Josefina!

We choose a few games from The American Girl's Party Book.   This book is out of print, but we were able to purchase a copy for pretty much the cost of shipping. We choose a few Spanish Songs and Games to play outside on our beautiful spring day!

El florin (el flo-ROHN), or The Flower
One player is the Guesser. The other players sit in a circle holding their closed fists out in front of them.  The Guesser closes her eyes. One of the players hides the floron - a flower blossom or other small object - in her hand. Then players chant the lines below as the Guesser tries to guess who has the floron. If the Guesser is correct, she and the hider switch places.

The flower goes in the hands,
And in the hands it has spoken.
Guess who has it, guess who has it, 
Or be taken for a fool!

It look a little while to explain the concept to our little Rose!  When Chiquita opened her eyes the first time and I said "Ok, who do you think has the flower?" Rose immediately forgot about keeping her fist closed and pointed to Snuggles hand shouting "HE HAS IT!" to Chiquita!  Lets try that again... 

The Rainbow
Players choose a home base. One player is the Angel. The other players are the Rainbow. They each think of a color to be - without saying their color out loud. Then the Angel calls out a color. When a player's color is named, she runs for the base while the Angel tried to catch her. If she reaches the base before the Angel, she chooses another color and rejoins the rainbow. If the Angel catches her, that player is out of the game.

The Sea Serpent
This game is much like London Bridge. Two players hold their hands up high to form a bridge. The other players form a line, each holding onto the waist of the player in front of her. The line weaves under the bridge like a sea serpent as the players chant the lines below. At the next-to-last line, the players forming a bridge drop their arms to catch a player. Gently they rock her back and forth. Then the game starts again.

The sea serpent we like to play
To have fun, to have fun.
Under the bridge all on a track, 
Children in front go faster and faster.
If you don't follow, you'll stay back, 
Back, back, back, back. 

.: Birthday Gifts :.

"Josefina swirled the shawl around her shoulders and looked behind her to see the brilliant embroidered flowers and the slippery, shimmery fringe on the back. She fluttered the fan and felt very elegant indeed." Happy Birthday, Josefina!

Chiquita was so very excited to open her own very beautiful shawl sent from her madrina! 

She also loved the birthday card her padrino had mailed to her!   

She also received a couple new outfits for summer, the set of Kit Books, the set of 4 American Girl movies, and her first very own bicycle!

.: Josefina's Leather Pouch and Flowers :. 

"She walked across, picked the primroses, and tucked the stems in her pouch. She let the yellow flowers stick out so that they wouldn't be crushed." Meet Josefina

The birthday cake was inspired by Collette, and based on Josefina's Leather Pouch and Yellow Evening Primroses!   I posted a tutorial here:  Josefina's Primroses in a Pouch Birthday Cake

Even though the cake was one of the easier cakes I have decorated, I was so happy with the results, and so was the birthday girl!  It turned out so pretty, and looked just like Josefina's pouch. 

We love you Chiquita!  Happy Birthday!