Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Jesus Tree :: A Lenten Craft and Bible Study

First Communion BibleLenten Jesus Tree Verses

This is the 10th Lenten season since I created a Jesus Tree to use with our children during Lent! I have really loved using it over the years as a Lenten Bible Study picking up when our annual Advent Bible Study leaves off.  So many wonderful (and funny!) memories over the years... 

Last year, since we were traveling during some of Lent and Holy Week, I didn't end up pulling it out to use with our little ones, and this year our schedule has been so packed that I decided to just keep things simple and we've been focusing on our annual Lenten calendars, Stations of the Cross every Friday night, and additional books (including books for the older children) when we can fit them in each day. 

Yesterday afternoon, after getting home from work, I decided to print out the new Jesus Tree Lenten Activity Printable from Do Small Things With Great Love and work on it with our two youngest children. They are really enjoying this fun and educational craft and are already back to coloring more of the ornaments this morning as we catch up! 

I didn't have any poster boards large enough for the crosses, so we just printed them out on card stock and glued the four sections together. I'm pretty sure our little guy used a different shade of brown for each section.. lots of variations in the wood of his cross!

While they were working on coloring their crosses today I pulled out some additional books to read with them during these last couple weeks of Lent and displayed them on our portable library! (I'm really loving this new addition to our homeschool!)  One of the older girls helped set up some of our Holy Week/Easter themed toys for them as well! 

He Is Risen! Easter Puzzle with Jesus and Mary Magdalen from Naturally Catholic 
Jesus, the New Adam and Mary, the New Eve from Almond Rod Toys
Last Supper Wood Blocks and Wooden Mass Kit from Almond Rod Toys
Lent and Easter Blocks from Almond Rod Toys
(You can also buy the craft sheets and make the Lent Blocks yourself!) 

Looking for the perfect shade... 
While they colored each ornament I read through the various bible verses provided for each image from the Gospel of Matthew. 

Occasionally we'd take a break from coloring and add in some extra stories and discussions, including the section on The Incarnation from My Path to Heaven and Lesson 55: The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes from Chat's With God's Little Ones.  These are both such excellent resources and I highly recommend them for young children. 

The pretzel I had picked up at Trader Joe's a couple days ago didn't "multiply" but it did end up being plenty big enough for the two of them to share with three of their older siblings! ;) 

Before tucking them into bed, we also read through The End of the Fiery Sword and Into the Sea, Out of the Tomb. These are a couple of my favorite Catholic picture books.  

That's where we left off, even though they were ready for me to read though all the rest of the books on that shelf... We will definitely be reading more today! 

From the Archives: 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Shadow of His Wings: A Graphic Biography {Book Review & Giveaway}

One of the books our soon-to-be ten year old will be recieiving in his Easter basket this year is the powerful story of Fr. Gereon Goldmann’s WWII experiences which is now available as a graphic biography. (For older readers I highly recommend The Shadow of His Wings: The True Story of Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM.)  I was sent a review copy of this new version last year and asked my husband to preview it, and type up a short review to share with you all, but I never got around to posting it here on the blog... Here it is now:

A twenty-two year old German seminarian is drafted into Hitler’s SS; facing nazi hostility towards his religion, deadly military actions, and doubts from Church superiors, Gereon Goldmann nevertheless will pursue the Sacrament of Holy Orders - or die trying. This is the true story of Gereon Goldmann and the incredible account of his experiences in answering God’s calling. Drafted into the German army four years from ordination, Gereon crosses paths with Sister Solana May, the sacristan who taught him how to serve mass. With unwavering faith and zeal she is convinced God will answer the prayers of her convent that Gereon will become a priest within the year. Gereon embarks on a journey retold by Max Temescu that can only be described as miraculous.


Adapted from the extended original biography, Temescu illustrates and writes a condensed version that would be appealing to young readers, especially boys. Young readers, ages 10 and older can retrace Gereon’s experiences in this fast paced story adaptation that begins with a harrowing assault to conquer a hill. It then recounts Gereon’s journey in a graphic format, that we recognize in comic books.

The story itself is only captured in the first 61 pages and the remaining half of the book, like the original, includes an epilogue, photographs, and sketches from the author and illustrator. Parents may want to preview the book to screen for age appropriateness due to violence and graphic drawings of war experiences. The story reveals that with trust in God, nothing is impossible.

Ignatius Press has generously offered to send a copy of The Shadow of His Wings: A Graphic Biography to one of my visitors here at Shower of Roses. 

Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter box below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

by March 30th!

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Catholic Child and Saint Joseph

Let us allow ourselves to be “infected” by St. Joseph’s silence! We need it greatly, in a world that is often too noisy, that does not favor meditation or listening to the voice of God. 
- Pope Benedict XVI

This year the Solemnity of St. Joseph was transferred to Monday, March 20th. 

Between an extra long day at work (all morning and then again all evening until late, getting ready to meet with the CPA the next morning) and needing to spend most of the afternoon drinking lots of water and resting to stop contractions that were coming every 5-6 minutes for 4-5 hours, I wasn't going to be able to pull together a St. Joseph's Altar this year... 

However, everyone pitched in and it came together so beautifully! 
We had such a nice family dinner to celebrate St. Joseph. 

My dear Child: 
If you love Jesus and Mary you will also love St. Joseph.

Making Symbolic Rolls for this year's Saint Joseph's Altar
Wine & Fruit • Symbolic Fig Pastries • Traditional Breads in Symbolic Shapes
Mudica (Breadcrumbs) with Pasta • Fish • Italian Treats including Cream Puffs and Tiramisu
A special gift to celebrate one of his patron saints!
St. Joseph from Naturally CatholicIHS Candle from SaongJai

He was so close to Jesus and Mary on earth. He protected them. He labored for them; and died in their arms.
The kids all worked together to set up this year's St. Joseph's Altar using our pictures and statues of St. Joseph, along with candles, blocks from Almond Rod Toys, and Holy Cards from their collections! 

How great is his power with God! 
St. Teresa tells us that he will never fail us. 

I had picked out a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape (I loved that the bottle is embossed with the Keys of St. Peter... Perfect for this dear Patron of the Universal Church!) at Trader Joe's along with a few bottles of "Joseph" themed beer and a couple bottles of Sparkling White Chardonnay Grape Juice for the kids.

Go to St. Joseph always
when you need a favor, a grace, a help of any kind. 

He is the Patron of a Happy Death
Ask him often to be at your side when you come to die. 

St. Joseph from Catholic Folk Toys
Incorporating the traditional St. Joseph's Altar foods of Figs and Grapes, we also included an Autoimmune Paleo Pizza that I could enjoy for dinner. It was so delicious! Here's the recipe: Prosciutto & Fig Bistro Pizza

Here are some little prayers that you may say:

SAINT Joseph, friend of the Sacred Heart, Pray for us.

HELP us Joseph, in our earthly strife, 
ever to lead a pure and blameless life.

Ask St. Joseph to bless you. 
(The blessing of St. Joseph)

MAY the poverty of my sweet and suffering little Child be your riches; His sighs and His tears your consolation; the love of His Infant Heart, your earthly treasure and the sight of Him in heaven your joy and reward.
St. Joseph, patron of the dying, pray for us.

Excerpt from Jesus, Make Me Worthy - A reprint of the original can be found here

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Celebrating the Solemnity of the Annunciation {Swedish Waffles and AIP Waffles for Lady Day}

The Annunciation from Rosary Flip Book

St. Patrick's Day, St. Joseph's Day, my husband's birthday, and now the Annunciation... So much to celebrate lately and it's been a nice little break right in the middle of this year's lenten season. Tonight we are headed to the boys' end-of-season team party and award ceremony for hockey, so we celebrated today's feast with a special brunch. The main food associated with today's feast is waffles! 

"This is Våffeldagen or Waffle Day in Sweden. One website said the name Vaffla, meaning waffle, originated from Var Fru, Our Lady, and that in time the two words became slurred and corrupted, first into Vaffer, then to Vaffla. The waffles are served with whipped cream and lingonberries (or cloudberries)... " You can read more in Jenn's post on Lady Day Feasting over at Catholic Cuisine. 

A couple years ago we made these delicious Organic 6-Grain Waffles using a Belgian Waffle Maker. I posted the recipe over at Catholic Cuisine yesterday. This morning we made the thinner Swedish style waffles, using our heart shaped waffle maker, topping them with marionberries once again! I wish we would have had some whipped cream to go along with them... Next year!

Lady Day Swedish Waffles

  • 3 1/2 oz butter
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups plus 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 eggs


In a bowl or blender (I used my Vitamix) whip together flour, baking powder and salt with half of the milk until you have an even batter. Pour in the rest of the milk, eggs and the melted butter, whip until thoroughly mixed.

Heat the waffle iron and brush with butter. Pour in 6 tablespoons of batter and bake until golden brown. Makes 8 waffles. Top with berries. (Lingonberries are traditional in Sweden. We used Marionberries in honor of Our Lady!) 

♥    ♥    ♥    ♥    ♥    ♥    ♥

After baking waffles for everyone else, I was really craving a waffle too... I decided to try to adapt an AIP Belgian waffle recipe to use with our waffle maker and the Cassava Flour I recently purchased. It turned out great! I'll definitely be making these again.

Autoimmune Protocol Waffles for the Annunciation
{gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free, egg-free, dairy free, nut-free, seed-free}
Vegan, Paleo-friendly, AIP-friendly, and still delicious



In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and mix well.

Place all the wet ingredients in blender (I used my Vitamix) and blend until well combined. Add dry ingredients and blend again until well combined. The batter will be thicker than pancake batter but should still be pourable. You may need to add a little additional water or coconut milk.

Lightly brush waffle iron with coconut oil. Add about 1/3-1/2 cup of batter to your pre-heated waffle iron and cook until done. I use this waffle iron, preheated and very hot, with setting number 4.

The recipe yields 5-6 Swedish style waffles, using approximately 1/3-1/2 cup of batter for each waffle.  Be sure to cook the waffles long enough or they can turn out gummy.

Top with marionberries. Next time I'll make some Coconut Whip too! Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven.

O God, who didst will that Thy Word take flesh in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary at the message of the angel: grant us, we pray, to be aided before Thee by her intercession, whom we believe to be truly the Mother of God.  - The Holyday Book by Father Francis X. Weiser