Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Feasts & Seasons :: Our May Book Basket

At the beginning of each month I fill a basket with books featuring the the various saints whose feast days will be celebrated during the month and place it in the living room. Throughout the month I will find the children curled up on the couch reading books they have chosen from the basket, either on their own or to their younger siblings.  I also choose books from the basket for some of our afternoon family read-alouds. Our collection started very small and we have continued adding additional books over the years which we have either purchased or have been given as gifts. Some are picture books, some are chapter books, and some are collections of saint stories. This post is a work in progress and I will continue adding links as I sort through our collection.

Month Dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary:

Mother's Day:

May 1st, St. Joseph the Worker (New. Trad.):

May 1st, St. Peregrine (Hist.):

May 3rd, St. Philip & James the Less (New) (Trad. - May 11th):

May 4th, St. Monica (Trad.) (New – Aug 27th):

May 4th, St. Florian (Hist.):

May 10th, St. Comgall:

May 10th, St. Damien Joseph de Veuster of Molokai (New):

May 12th, Blessed Imelda Lambertini (Hist.):

May 12th, St. Pancratius (Hist.):

May 13th, Our Lady of Fatima (New):

May 14th, St. Matthias (New) (Trad. – Feb. 24th):

May 15th, St. Isidore the Farmer (New, Hist.):

May 15th, St. John Baptist de la Salle (Trad) (New – April 7th):

May 15th, St. Dymphna (Hist.):

May 16th, St. Brendan the Navigator (Hist.):

May 19th, St. Dunstan (Hist.):

May 19th, St Ivo (Yves) (Hist.):

May 20th, St. Bernardine of Siena (New, Trad.):

May 21st, St. Christopher Magallanes & Comps (Saints of the Cristero Wars) (New):

May 22nd, St. Rita of Cascia (New; Trad./some places):

May 25th, St. Bede the Venerable (New) (Trad. – May 27th):

May 26th, St. Philip Neri (New, Trad.):

May 27th, St. Melangell:

May 28th, St. Germanus (Hist.):

May 30th, St. Felix I (Trad.):

May 30th, St. Joan of Arc (Trad./some places):

A Couple of our Read-Alouds for May:

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Lenten Dinner for our Children on Good Friday

Every year our children look forward to our Lenten Dinners which were originally inspired Alice's Lenten Teas. I've already shared pictures from our Holy Thursday Dinner, but I still haven't had a chance to share the pictures from this year's simple dinner for the children on Good Friday.

We spent the afternoon in town attending the Veneration of the Cross at 3pm and then came home and served a simple dinner for our children while their Dad read to them from the Holy Bible and My Catholic Faith (affiliate link). You can find the pictures from our 20092010, and 2011 Good Friday dinners in the archives for Good Friday. I didn't have the time to post the pictures from this year during Holy Week but still wanted to post them here on the blog:

~ Water ~
Glasses of Water to drink and a bowl of water for washing hands... 
"Pilate took water and washed his hands before the crowd saying, "I am innocent of this righteous man's blood." Matthew 27: 24

~ The King's Crown ~
A Small Bean, Cheese and Chip Crown... 
"And Pilate asked Him, 'Are you the King of the Jews?' And He answered him, 'You have said so.'" Mark 15: 2

~ Out of Envy ~
Chunky Guacamole is Green for "envy"
"[H]e perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered Him up." Mark 15: 10

~ The Purple Cloak ~
Once again Grape Fruit Leather was served for the Purple Cloak.
"And they clothed Him in a purple cloak . . . ." Mark 15: 17

~ The Crown of Thorns ~
The Crown of Thorns were made by my the children with Ritz Crackers, Peanut Butter, and Pretzels.
". . . and, plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on him." Mark 15: 17

~ Golgotha Eggs ~
My husband drew skulls on the Golgotha Egg this year using Food Decorating Pens.
"And they brought Him to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of the skull)" Mark 15: 22

~ The Seamless Garment ~
Using my kitchen scissors, I quickly cut the tortillas to look like a seamless garment and sliced a couple of cheese sticks for the dice used to cast lots. 
"But the tunic was without seam, woven from top to bottom; so they said to one another, 'Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.'" John 19: 23-24

~ The Two Robbers ~
This year I picked up a Basil Plant at the store to plant in the garden and pulled some leaves off to serve with our Good Friday dinner. The two fresh sprigs of Basil are used to represent the two robbers. Alice originally suggested using Basil since "According to The Herb Society of America, legend has it that the Basil plant grew around the site of Christ's crucifixion. The Victorian Language of Flowers lists Basil as symbolic of both hatred and best wishes. The taunting thief and the good thief come to mind."
And with Him they crucified two robbers, one on His right and one on His left." Mark 15: 27

~ Vinegar to Drink ~
"And one ran and, filling a sponge full of vinegar, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying 'Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take Him down.'" Mark 15: 36

~ The Temple Curtain ~
Bud wasn't too happy when his big brother helped him tear his Temple Curtain (aka Napkin) in half...
"And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom." Mark 15: 38

~ The Roman Centurion ~
100 Cherry Tomatoes represent the 100 Roman Centurion.
"And when the centurion, who stood facing Him, saw that He thus breathed His last, he said, 'Truly this man was the Son of God.'" Mark 15: 39

~ Laid in the Tomb ~
I skipped the menu item for "Laid in the Tomb" this year and the boys came up with a Lego Version instead! 
"And he brought a linen shroud, and taking Him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud, and laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb."

The Bible readings, recipes and shopping list can be found at Cottage Blessings. We didn't use them this year but you can find the small card stock signs I created at Scribd.

Now to sort through the pictures from Easter Sunday and our daughter's birthday! :) 

*The image at the top of this post is a photo I took and posted to Instagram while reading Easter by Fiona French (affiliate link)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Public Service Announcement

Be sure to check your Driver's License Expiration Date every so often (especially if you live in a state where driver's licenses are valid for years and the renewals can easily be forgotten) or you might unexpectedly find yourself with an expired license (over a year!) and need to ask your wife to drive you to the DMV so you can re-take both the written and driving tests! One test down, one more to go...

Happy Monday! 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Commemorating the Canonization of Two Popes

Today is a historic day in the Catholic Church as two popes are canonized. Here are seven ways to commemorate this day with children:

1 - Picture Books

There are many excellent picture books available about the Papacy and Pope John Paul II.  Our three oldest children, who were born during Pope John Paul II's life each received a new book about this new saint in their Easter baskets this year. Many of these books are available from Sacred Heart Books and Gifts, Catholic Child, and through my affiliate links below. Here is the list of the books in our book basket:

Our Holy Father the Pope: The Papacy from Saint Peter to the Present - An excellent book for teaching children about the Papacy.  Includes two pages on Pope John Paul II

Lolek – The Boy Who Became Pope John Paul II - My husband's parents gave our children this book for Christmas one year.  It is an excellent book for children on the life of this new saint!

Karol from Poland: The Life of Pope John Paul II for Children

Blessed John Paul II: Be Not Afraid - Short Chapter Book for children ages 8 and up from the Encounter the Saints series.

A Boy Who Became Pope: The Story of Saint John Paul II - This is a new favorite.  I especially love the illustrations!

Pope John Paul II Comic Book - Not one of my favorites, but the children all have enjoyed the comic book format of this book.

I'm still waiting for our new copies of the following two books to arrive:

John Paul II: The Journey of a Saint

Karol: The Boy Who Became Pope: A Story of Saint John Paul II - This book will be released soon from Neumann Press and can also be pre-ordered directly from TAN/Neumann Press.

2 – Coloring Pages

I printed out copies of this John Paul II coloring page from St. John the Baptist Religious Education.

Herald Entertainment is currently offering a Free Download of this Pope John Paul II Coloring Page.

Holy Heroes has a Downloadable Coloring Book available here.

Catholic Playground has a 40 page Pope John Paul II Coloring and Activity Book available for $12.

3 - Lap Books

If you never downloaded the Papal Lap Book and Unit Study I created during the Election of Pope Francis, now is another great time for a Unit Study on the Papacy.

Holy Learning, formerly Faith Folders for Catholics, also has a brand new download available: The Canonization of Two Popes Double Faith Folder!

4 – Audio

Pope Saint John Paul II “Be Not Afraid” Glory Stories is available from Holy Heroes
Tells the dramatic story of Pope Saint John Paul II, from his childhood life in a free Poland to his dramatic and even miraculous experiences under Nazi occupation in WWII and during Soviet Communist oppression thereafter. You and your children will learn things about his life growing up that developed into his simple spiritual practices that even busy families can imitate. You'll appreciate better how to cooperate with Divine Providence and how to explain it to your children. Funny, exciting, and fast-moving, this story will reveal memorably some of the secrets of one of the greatest and most beloved Popes of all time.

5- Catholic Cuisine

You can find a few ideas over at Catholic Cuisine including Papal Polenta, Kremówka Papieska (Papal Cream Cake), and John Paul II Sugar Cookies.

I'm planning on serving Polenta with dinner and made Keys of Heaven Candies for my children using this Key Mold and Yellow Candy Melts.

6 - Gift Ideas

Prayer Pillowcases has recently come out with a new Pope John Paul II Pillowcase

St. John Paul II hand-painted wooden doll from St. Luke’s Brush

John Paul II Saints n’ Stitches Pillow Doll from Waltzing Matilda Makes

Saint John XXIII of Rome Felt Saint Softie from Saintly Silver

Catholic Child also has a great selection of gifts commemorating St. John Paul II including Prayer Pillowcases, Books, DVDs and more.

Portraits of Saints has some beautiful Holy Cards of St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II

7- Watch the Canonization

You can find live coverage on EWTN: From Blessed to Saint! Join Pope Francis as he prepares to celebrate Holy Mass in honor of his predecessors, John XXIII and John Paul II, before canonizing them as official Saints of the Catholic Church. EWTN’s LIVE coverage of this event begins at 10 p.m. ET, Saturday, April 26 on #EWTN, with encores at 7 p.m. ET, Sunday, April 27 & at 11 p.m. ET, Monday, April 28. Visit for a complete schedule of events and programming.

You can also watch the whole canonization on YouTube:

St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II, Ora Pro Nobis!