Thursday, April 1, 2021

Hot Cross Buns


According to tradition, Hot Cross Buns originated on Good Friday in 1361 at St Alban's Abbey in Hertfordshire, north of London, where the monks gave them to the poor people who came there on that holy day. Each bun is marked with the shape of a cross to symbolize Christ's suffering and crucifixion. Some say that the dried fruit in the bun represents the nails of the crucifixion.


Hot Cross Buns


INGREDIENTS
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast 
  • 3/4 cup warm milk 
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar (I used coconut sugar) 
  • 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature (I sent one of the kids out to the chicken coop!)
  • 3/4 cup currants (I used raisins - can also substitute some currants for candied peel)
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
For the glaze:
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
For the frosting (optional):
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons milk
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS

Proof the yeast: In a bowl, stir together 1/4 cup of the warmed milk and one teaspoon of sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.

Whisk the dry ingredients: In a large bowl or the mixing bowl of an electric mixer, vigorously whisk together 3 cups of the flour (reserving additional flour for later step), the salt, spices, and 1/4 cup of sugar.

Make the dough: Create a well in the flour and add the foamy yeast and milk mixture, softened butter, eggs, and the remaining milk. Using a wooden spoon or the paddle attachment of your mixer, mix the ingredients until well incorporated. The mixture should be quite sticky. Add in the currants, optional candied peel, and orange zest.

Knead the dough, adding more flour as needed: If you are using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook attachment and start to knead on low speed. (If not using a mixer, use your hands to knead.) Slowly sprinkle in additional flour, a tablespoon at a time, kneading to incorporate after each addition, until the flour is still slightly tacky, but is no longer completely sticking to your fingers when you work with it. Total kneading time should be about 7 minutes in a mixer or 10 minutes by hand.

Let sit 2 hours to double in size (first rise): Form a ball of dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit, covered, at room temperature (or in a warm spot) for 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size. 


Form the buns: Press down on the dough to gently compress it. Roll the ball of dough into a log shape and cut it into two halves. Place one half back in the bowl while you work with the other half. Take the dough half you are working with and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Take the individual pieces and form them into mounds, placing them 1 1/2 inches apart from each other on a greased baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and then work the remaining dough into 8 equal pieces and place them in mounds on a baking sheet, again cover with plastic wrap.

Let sit 30-40 min (second rise): Let the dough mounds sit at room temperature (or warm place) to rise again, until the mounds have doubled in volume, about 30-40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F. 

Brush with egg wash: Prepare egg wash by whisking together one egg and a tablespoon of milk. If you want, you can score the top of the buns with a knife in a cross pattern. You will want to make fairly deep cuts, for the pattern to be noticeable after they're done. Using a pasty brush, brush on the egg wash over the dough mounds. The egg wash will give them a shiny appearance when cooked.

Note: See below for additional cross options. Some would be done at this stage. 

I need to work on shaping them more evenly and rounder. 

Bake and cool: Place in the middle rack of the 400°F oven and cook for 10-12 minutes, until the buns are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on the pan for a few minutes, then transfer the buns to a wire rack to cool.

Make and pipe frosting in cross pattern on buns: To paint a cross on the top of the buns, wait until the buns have cooled (or the frosting will run). Whisk together the milk and the powdered sugar. Keep adding powdered sugar until you get a thick consistency. Place in a plastic sandwich bag. Snip off a small piece from the corner of the bag and use the bag to pipe two lines of frosting across each bun to make a cross.

Enjoy!


You can make the cross on the top of the buns in the following five ways as mentioned by Jennifer Gregory Miller in a comment on Hot Cross Buns - A History over at Catholic Cuisine:

1. Apply Confectioners' Icing on buns after baking.
2. With scissors, snip cross pattern on top of shaped buns before rising.
3. Apply flour-and-water paste cross after rising but before baking.
4. Make cross by using uncooked dough, and place on risen bun.
5. Make a cross on risen dough out of candied peel.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Chicken Curry Soup


I've had a few requests lately for my mom's Chicken Curry Soup recipe which has been included in some of our past Palm Sunday or Holy Thursday Lenten Dinners.  It's really yummy and I'm looking forward to serving it again this week! 

Chicken Curry Soup
Garnish with Cilantro & Greek Yogurt

Ingredients: 
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 boneless-skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1" pieces 
  • 1 TBS curry 
  • 1 tsp ginger root, fresh, peeled & grated
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups diced peeled tomatoes w/juice (briefly blended)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled & chopped
  • 1/4 cup orzo
  • 2 TBS currants

Directions: 

Heat oil. Sauté onion, red pepper and garlic for 5 minutes. Add chicken, curry, ginger and red pepper. Sauté another 5 minutes. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, and apple. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Stir in orzo and currants. Let simmer for another 10 minutes or so, until the orzo has had a chance to cook. Serve with garnishes of cilantro and yogurt.  

Note: Sometimes I'll serve it with sour cream if I forget to purchase yogurt. Our children like it with either.  I've also been know to substitute the red bell pepper with Trader Joe's frozen Melange a Trois (Red, Yellow & Green Pepper Strips) since I generally have that in the freezer.  If our college boys are home I double the recipe. ;) 





You can read more about how our family has observed Lent in the past here:

Friday, March 19, 2021

Baskets of Books for Easter {and a Giveaway!}


Happy St. Joseph's Day! I can't believe how fast Holy Week and Easter are approaching... I hope you are all having a blessed and fruitful Lent this year. Here is North Idaho we are so grateful to have full access to Holy Mass, and all of the sacraments, unlike last year... So so grateful! 

I had hoped to have this post up on the blog weeks ago, but life has been very full and I'm still struggling to find much time to spend online or blogging, but better late than never!
 
Once again our children's Easter baskets will be overflowing with excellent books for them to enjoy this spring. I always plan ahead and shop local bookstore and publisher sales year round (quick tip: TAN Books has amazing $5 deals every month!) and I am also frequently gifted with review copies of new releases from authors and publishers to consider as well. When that happens I ask for extra copies to gift to some of you too, so be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to enter for a chance to win one of five prize packages!


Note: Before I share the book list, I do want to mention that I haven't read all of these books yet. I made my decisions based on recommendations, reviews, publishers, and the past work of some of the authors/illustrators. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. P.S. Please purchase directly from publishers when possible! 


.: Twinkle Toes - Age 17 :.

 
The New Roman Missal by Father Lasance
Beautiful reproduction of the original 1945 text of the immortal Latin Tridentine Mass, according to the Council of Trent, with complete Latin and English text for the Ordinary and Prospers of the Mass. There are no revisions, but additions made according to the Papal decrees dating from 1945 to the end of Pope Pius XII’s reign include the Mass Propers and the Divine Praise of the Assumption. The binding is sewn with black leatherette covers and gold lettering. The pages have rounded corners and golden edges. Complete with 6 colored ribbon dividers.  Also available from the FSSP bookstore

The girls have and use their Blessed Be God prayer books, but it's time to get them a daily missal. We debated and debated on which to choose, but they ultimately settled on choosing this one. They will also be getting custom missal covers to protect their new missals!  

When Jennifer Scott arrived at the doorstep of a grand Sixteenth Arrondissement apartment as a foreign exchange student, she was greeted by the woman who would become her mentor and the inspiration for the way she lived long after her time abroad was over. Madame Chic took the casual California teenager under her wing, revealing the secrets of how the French elevate the little things in life to the art of living. Each chapter of Lessons from Madame Chic reveals a valuable secret Jennifer learned while under Madame Chic’s tutelage in Paris—tips you can incorporate into your own life, no matter where you live or the size of your budget. Embracing the classically French aesthetic of quality over quantity, aspiring Parisiennes will learn to master the art of eating (deprive yourself not), dressing (the ten-item wardrobe), grooming (le no-makeup look), and living à la française. From entertaining with easy flair and formality to cultivating allure while living an active, modern life, Lessons from Madame Chic is the essential handbook for anyone wanting to incorporate that Parisian je ne sais quoi into her daily life.

Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic: Lessons in Everyday Elegance and At Home with Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life look great too! I discovered this series while browsing books at Our Lady of Victory Homeschool's bookstore. 

A Catholic Woman's Guide to Happiness
What if we held Heaven to be the destination of a lifetime? That super, spectacular, epic place that we want to get to so badly that we'd be willing to do endure anything to make it? In this amazing Catholic book, author Rose Sweet will share her story about how she learned not to let life's ups and downs rob her of joy. Inside: Practical, easy to follow steps and reflection questions that relate to our own day and times. Tips for how to recognize what you may need to reach more for, and what you might be holding onto too tightly. What hidden fears may be sapping your happiness? And how to dig them up! What can the holy friends of God and the mystics teach us about the interior life?

Come Rack, Come Rope
Come Rack, Come Rope is a gripping historical novel which takes place during Queen Elizabeth I’s persecution of English Catholics. Based on the real sufferings of a real Catholic family in particular, and Catholics across the country, Robert Hugh Benson’s classic novel is one of tragedy and loss, but also heroism and human and divine love.  The novel follows Robin and Margaret, a young couple in love who forgo their affection when Margaret realizes Robin is called to the priesthood. Both play a critical role in caring physically and spiritually for their fellow Catholics during this time of terror.  Discover their heroism, love, and sacrifice, and be inspired to live it out in our own frightful times in Come Rack, Come Rope.

The Incorruptibles: A Study of the Incorruption of the Bodies of Various Catholic Saints and Beati
Continuously popular since it first appeared in 1977, TheIncorruptibles remains the acknowledged classic on the bodies of saints that did not undergo decomposition after death. Many remained fresh and flexible for years, or even centuries. After explaining both natural and artificial mummification, the author shows that the incorruption of the saints' bodies fits neither category but rather constitutes a much greater phenomenon that is unexplained by modern science to this day. The author presents 102 canonized saints, beati, and venerables, summarizing their lives, the discovery of their incorruption, and investigations by Church and medical authorities. The incorruptible bodies of saints are a consoling sign of Christ s victory over death, a confirmation of the dogma of the Resurrection of the Body, a sign that the Saints are still with us in the Mystical Body of Christ, and proof of the truth of the Catholic Faith—for only in the Catholic Church do we find this phenomenon.

Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church
Real Music by Anthony Esolen (with accompanying CD of 18 hymns recorded by the St. Cecilia Choir of St. John Cantius Church in Chicago) is a comprehensive and delightful guide to the great traditional hymnody of the Church. In an age when sacred hymns of the past have either been "modernized" or utterly rejected as irrelevant, Real Music restores to us to a treasure trove, the vast heritage of glorious sacred music for congregations and choirs. In it, Professor Esolen masterfully illustrates how the traditional hymns combine elegant poetry with sound doctrine and music composed and arranged by great masters. With the Church and Her precepts under assault from all sides, we need now, perhaps more than ever before, to contemplate the beauty and truth that these fine hymns proclaim. 



.: Chiquita - Age 15 :.


The New Roman Missal by Father Lasance
Beautiful reproduction of the original 1945 text of the immortal Latin Tridentine Mass, according to the Council of Trent, with complete Latin and English text for the Ordinary and Prospers of the Mass. There are no revisions, but additions made according to the Papal decrees dating from 1945 to the end of Pope Pius XII’s reign include the Mass Propers and the Divine Praise of the Assumption. The binding is sewn with black leatherette covers and gold lettering. The pages have rounded corners and golden edges. Complete with 6 colored ribbon dividers.  Also available from the FSSP bookstore

The girls have and use their Blessed Be God prayer books, but it's time to get them a daily missal. We debated and debated on which to choose, but they ultimately settled on choosing this one. They will also be getting custom missal covers to protect their new missals!  

The Archer's Cup
A Green Ember Archer story set in the midst of the buildup to the last battles for Natalia. In this sequel to The Last Archer and The First Fowler, Jo Shanks is charged with aiding Emma on her mission to unite the secret citadels in their fight against the Preylord slavers. Alongside Cole and Heyna Blackstar, Jo and Emma must enter into the heart of a community in confusion.

She might be getting a little old for this series, but she has been reading and collecting them since they were first published so I couldn't resist getting her the latest addition to the series.  

Song At The Scaffold
July 17, 1794: French Revolutionaries are out to crush the Catholic Church in their nation, and the latest targets of their brutality are the Carmelites of the convent of Compiègne. Sentenced to death for their faith, they kneel at the foot of the guillotine, renew their vows, and begin chanting Veni, Creator Spiritus, while each one mounts the scaffold to be beheaded. The Song at the Scaffold is a historical novella based on the gripping story of these brave heroines who offered their lives as a witness to Christ. Written for adults, this 1931 classic has been supplemented with extensive study aids that make it suitable as well for high school students, including footnotes, questions for literary analysis, a glossary, a historical timeline, and an author biography.

The young adult group at our parish put on a play of this story last Christmas and did an incredible job. So inspiring! The next play will be "Joan the Maid" and three of my teens just auditioned.

The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila presents a remarkable description of the entire spiritual life from the first release from mortal sin into Sanctifying Grace through the Mystical Marriage of the soul with Christ as a journey through what she called The Interior Castle. She sees the soul as a magnificent castle full of spacious and well-lit rooms or mansions each of which leads deeper into the heart of the castle to the seat of the King. However, St. Teresa laments that most people give all their attention to the outer wall of the castle the body ignoring the beauty of the soul within. St. Teresa gives practical advice regarding the early struggles and the temptations to turn back which beset the beginner. She describes each of the seven mansions and urges us forward to love and serve the Divine Majesty, imparting her absolute conviction that progress toward God through prayer is worth vastly more than all the treasures of this earth.

Heroic Catholic Chaplains: Stories of the Brave and Holy men Who Dodged Bullets Whiiel Saving Souls
Heroic Catholic Chaplains brings to the fore the stories of remarkable priests, most of whom have been overlooked by both military and Catholic historians. Their sacrifice and courage are difficult to imagine. They served so that our servicemen and women would not be without comfort, or without a friend, or be deprived of the Mass and the sacraments; so they would not fall into despair. These chaplains deserve to be remembered, their stories told, and their memories honored. Heroic Catholic Chaplains spotlights the stories of these courageous, selfless, holy priests who volunteered to bring the Mass and the sacraments to American troops, while also offering them their friendship and spiritual counsel.

The year is 1941. War is raging overseas, but it seems far, far away to the close-knit Szaszak family who wants nothing more than to work hard, enjoy their friends, and live together in peace. But they find that each of them has a part to play in this great worldwide endeavor, from their comfortable little spot in Pennsylvania to the deserts of Africa, the shores of Italy and beyond to the mud of shell-blasted Europe. The endurance of those on the home front poignantly complements the exploits of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment in this captivating Catholic novel of World War II.

I had a hard time deciding which of my teens would receive this book. They will all be so excited to read this first book my Mary-Rose Kadar-Kallen. I'll be hosting an Instagram giveaway for a copy soon! It's also available direct from Quis Ut Deus Press complete with an inscription by the author! 



.: Snuggles - Age 13 :.

In this life, all of us invariably meet with obstacles and problems. To overcome these difficulties can seem like an impossible task, especially if one has not developed habits of self-discipline, positive thinking and perseverance in faith. Written during the early years of World War II, as a way to give hope to a world overshadowed with despair and uncertainty, this book seeks to anchor the reader in time-tested methods of self-discipline rooted in scripture and prayer. Filled with good advice and reflections, this little booklet is an ideal introduction to the spiritual life for young people as well as adults.

Lafayette! (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales #8)
Meet French nobleman and American Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de Lafayette in this installment of the New York Times bestselling graphic novel series! Gilbert du Motier became the Marquis de Lafayette at a young age, but he was not satisfied with the comforts of French nobility—he wanted adventure! A captain at eighteen and a major general by nineteen, he was eager to prove himself in battle. When he heard about the Revolution going on in America, he went overseas and fought alongside Alexander Hamilton and George Washington for America’s independence. Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales are graphic novels that tell the thrilling, shocking, gruesome, and TRUE stories of American history. Read them all—if you dare!

Irish military chaplain Fr. Willie Doyle, S.J., died in action during the Battle of Passchendaele on August 16, 1917, having been hit by a German shell while rushing to the aid of wounded soldiers trapped in No Man's Land. In To Raise the Fallen, Patrick Kenny introduces readers to this remarkable man, whose faith, heroic courage and generosity in the trenches of World War I continues to inspire Christians and non-Christians alike.

The Catholic Book of Character & Success
Here is a complete guide to mature, responsible, even noble behavior in our complex modern society. Written in the 1930s by a wise Jesuit priest and steeped in the wisdom of the ages, these pages teach the timeless principles that have led countless souls to true success and lasting happiness. Here is a good man's canny advice on how to deal with the practical problems faced by all those who strive to live their lives nobly and well. Learn how to discipline your imagination so it won't lead you astray; how to tell the critical difference between pleasure and happiness; and how to strengthen your will to ensure that you always choose the good. Without condescension, Fr. Garesché shows how to maintain a healthy mind, resist temptations, grow temperate, practice fortitude, think kindly of others, and choose worthwhile amusements. He even explains how to accept criticism graciously and how to develop the kind of confidence that is not rooted in pride, but is the necessary foundation for any life that will be productive and holy. Once you assimilate the wisdom here, you'll know how to find genuine success the success that transcends money, fame, and pleasure.

Eucharistic Miracles and Eucharistic Phenomena in the Lives of the Saints
Eucharistic Miracles is a superb compilation of God's visible testimony of the truth of the Catholic Faith, proving the reality of one of its loftiest mysteries — the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

101 Surprising Facts About Church History
Think you really know Church History? Think Again. The Catholic Church is the longest-standing and the most universal of all institutions. The contributions made by Catholic men and women over the past 2000 years are most impressive, from a properly functioning calendar to the inventions of many things that we all take for granted today. In 101 Surprising Facts About Church History, Fr. Meconi, SJ walks readers through the most amazing achievements of Christ's Body on earth. From economic and mercantile developments to scientific and astronomical advances, from the cataloging of zoological and botanical species to the cherishing of beautiful music and fine arts, Fr. Meconi shows you why the Catholic Church stands as the greatest promoter of human culture and knowledge.



.: Rose - Age 11 :.


Blessed Be God
"A Complete Catholic Prayer Book" Compiled by Frs. Charles J. Callan, OP & John A. McHugh, OP We've reprinted the 1960 edition of America’s favorite Catholic prayer book according to its original premier deluxe specifications! Made in the USA and no skimping on quality! This book includes such hi-quality features as a bonded leather softcover, rounded corners, sewn binding, gilded page edges, a marking ribbon and more; but you’re probably wondering what’s inside. This pocket-size prayer book is not only packed with tons of favorite traditional Catholic prayers, but also includes for the traditional Latin Tridentine Rite: * the Ordinary Mass texts (Latin/English), * Sunday Epistles & Gospels (English only), * Propers for the Requiem & Nuptial Mass (Latin/English), * Sunday Vespers, * other sacramental rites such as Baptism & Extreme Unction (in English), * Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, * and much, much more! It's so versatile, we've nicknamed it the "Swiss Army Knife of Prayer Books".

This is a favorite prayer book of mine and also my older daughters, excited to give our 11 year old her own copy this year! 

The St. Therese of Lisieux Prayer Book
The wisdom of St. Thérèse of Lisieux—for all who want to pray. How did this saint’s precious—even precocious—childhood devotion to God develop into such wisdom? Thérèse Martin entered a Carmelite convent at age 15 and died of tuberculosis at age 24. In that short time, her “little flower” of a life came into vibrant, spiritual bloom.

Rose saw this book on the shelves of a local bookstore and was it's been on her little wishlist ever since. 
This newest book in the very popular Vision Books series of saints lives for young people presents the inspiring story of the first married couple ever canonized together in the Church, Louis and Zelie Martin, who lived in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It tells about their beautiful family of ninechildren, that includes the most popular saint of modern times, St. Therese of Lisieux. While their main focus and devotion was on their marriage, children, and their Catholic faith, Louis and Zelie were able to continue their professions as a watchmaker and lace maker. The Martin household was full of love and joy,even amidst many sorrows and challenges, and they always showed great charity toward their neighbor and anyone in need. The secret to their happiness was an unfailing love made possible by their boundless faith in God. All the challenges the Martins faced, great and small, were met with a profound trust in Divine Providence.

Excited to see this brand new addition to the Vision Books series! 

Jane Austen's Emma (Awesomely Austen)
A fresh, funny and accessible retelling of Jane Austen's classic story, with witty black and white illustrations throughout. Emma Woodhouse is pretty, clever and rich, and sees no reason why she would ever need to get married. But she loves matchmaking for her neighbours, despite the advice of her friend Mr Knightley, who warns her against meddling. Her latest success - the wedding of her governess - makes her certain that she can find the right match for anyone. Can Emma's lucky streak continue? Or will best laid plans unravel... as they always seem to do?

Our Lady's Picture Book
In this charming sequel to his bestselling book, Our Lady's Wardrobe, Anthony DeStefano introduces Catholic children to more well-known images of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Only this time, he doesn't use Our Lady's clothes to teach children about the Mother of God, but rather, he gives kids a peek into her own personal picture book.  Over the centuries, Our Lady has been the subject of thousands of works of art that depict her as an advocate of sinners, a protector from harm, and a powerful intercessor with her Son. Our Lady's Picture Book highlights Mary's unique role in salvation history by explaining some of her most famous titles of honor, including: Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Our Lady of Loreto, Our Lady of the Assumption, Our Lady, Star of the Sea, Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady, Mother of Mercy, Our Lady, Queen of Peace, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
'Twas the morning of Easter, before the sun rose, Two guards on a hillside were trying to doze. 
Now Jesus had died, only three days before, A huge stone was in place, sealed over the door.

A follow-up to the popular 'Twas the Evening of Christmas from beloved author Glenys Nellist. 'Twas the Morning of Easter tells the story of the resurrection of Jesus in a fresh way, with a familiar rhythm and rhyme that children will love, following the pattern of Clement Moore's iconic "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."




.: Bud - Age 9 :.


Interior Castle, A Boy's Journey Into the Riches of Prayer
Based on Saint Teresa of Avila's spiritual classic, this book is enchantingly adapted for children 7yrs. and up about a boy's journey into the riches of prayer. Sure to captivate and inspire readers of all ages, The Interior Castle brings to life the soul's progress through prayer. Judith Bouilloc's engaging story is beautifully illustrated by award-winner Éric Puybaret, and promises a journey its readers will never forget! A book that wonderfully combines an enchanting story with rich spirituality and gorgeous illustrations that will appeal to all ages.

The Phantom of the Coliseum
The Phantom of the Colosseum is the first volume of the gripping new series for 10 yr. olds and up titled In the Shadows of Rome (5 books total). Being a Christian in ancient Rome was very dangerous. To spread the faith and stay alive, you had to live in the shadows . . . Now that Blandula's master has been arrested for being a Christian, what will she do? Little does she know that she is about to meet three boys who will help her to find the answer: Maximus, the son of a senator; his slave Aghiles; and Titus, who never goes anywhere without his pet monkey. Follow their adventures as Blandula and her new companions forge priceless friendships--and discover the many secrets lurking in the shadows of the Colosseum.

A Lion for the Emperor
A Lion for the Emperor is the second volume of the gripping new series for 10 yr. olds and up titled In the Shadows of Rome (5 books total). Being a Christian in ancient Rome was very dangerous. To spread the faith and stay alive, you had to live in the shadows . . . Maximus and Aghiles join their friend Titus on his father's expedition to capture a magnificent lion in the forests of North Africa. After surviving the dangers of the hunt, the three friends face a perilous voyage back to Rome. Their mission: present Emperor Diocletian with a priceless beast that will be used to satisfy the pagan appetite for violence during games in the Colosseum. Follow their adventures as they forge priceless friendships&;and discover the many secrets lurking in the shadows of the Rome.

The Adventures of Loupio: Vol 5. The Cave
In the exciting days of chivalrous knights and wandering troubadours, a young orphaned poet and musician named Loupio travels throughout Italy experiencing many daring adventures. Befriended by Francis of Assisi and accompanied by the wolf tamed by this saintly guide, Loupio's often dangerous encounters help him and young readers learn lessons of faith, hope, and charity. In The Cave, volume 5 of this best-selling series, Loupio encounters prejudice and burglary while learning that mercy and forgiveness are offered to all who sincerely repent and seek God.

Explore the Grand Canyon with John Wesley Powell in the New York Times bestselling graphic novel series! John Wesley Powell always had the spirit of adventure in him. As a young man, he traveled all over the United States exploring. When the Civil War began, Powell went to fight for the Union, and even after he lost most of his right arm, he continued to fight until the war was over. In 1869, he embarked with the Colorado River Exploring Expedition—ten men in four boats—to float through the Grand Canyon. Over the course of three months, the explorers lost their boats and supplies, nearly drowned, and were in peril on multiple occasions. Ten explorers went in, but only six came out. Powell would come to be known as one of the most epic explorers in history! Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales are graphic novels that tell the thrilling, shocking, gruesome, and TRUE stories of American history. Read them all—if you dare!

The Thief Who Stole Heaven
Just in time for the Lent/Easter season, comes The Thief Who Stole Heaven, the follow up story to The Spider Who Saved Christmas. Once again, bestselling author and broadcaster, Raymond Arroyo provides readers with a cinematic, adventurous holiday story based on ancient legends filled with deeper themes. The Thief Who Stole Heaven introduces audiences to the largely hidden character of The Good Thief. Bridging the gap between Christmas and Easter, this unique story brings to life a compelling redemption story that is destined to be treasured and revisited year after year.






.: Grace - Age 3 :.


Children's Missal
Help your child connect with the mystery of the Mass and feel like an “official” Mass-goer with this smart-looking, insightful missal. With its sharp black cover, gilt lettering, and white satin bookmark, this Children’s Missal looks great in any young Catholic’s hands, and its sturdy hardcover and pocket-size ensure that it will also withstand stand long, devoted usage. Its 137 full-color illustrations and engaging text are sure to keep your child’s attention focused on following the Mass through each of its steps.
Another copy of an old favorite! 

This includes the stories of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, the Sacrifice of Isaac, Jacob wrestling with the Angel, Moses and the Israelites overcoming the Amalekites, and the Brazen Serpent.

Old Testament Stories: Joshua, Ruth, David, Daniel
This includes the stories of the spies who scouted out the land of Canaan, Samson and the Lion, Ruth, David and Goliath, Elijah and the Ravens, and Daniel in the Lions Den.

Part of the Bible Stories for Baby Hands series. Our review with pictures can be found here.

In Where is Jesus Hidden?, award-winning author Maura Roan McKeegan points to the many places and ways Jesus can be found. With a series of clues from Scripture to guide them, young children will learn that if they search for Jesus, he is never far.

Jesus, I Adore You
Jesus, I Adore You teaches children what Eucharistic Adoration is, the ways they can practice Adoration, and suggestions for lovely prayers and words to use in Adoration. It draws on beautiful words from Scripture, and the inspiring words from various saints on prayer.

Saved by the Lamb: Moses and Jesus
In Saved by the Lamb, the fourth book in the Old and New series, author Maura Roan McKeegan tells the story of two baby boys who were born to save their people. Just as Moses grew to deliver his people from slavery in Egypt, Jesus came to rescue all people from sin. Together, their stories reveal God's plan not just for the people of ancient Israel, but for us today. See biblical typology—the Old Testament people, symbols, and events the foreshadow the New Testament—come to life in Saved by the Lamb. 

Check out this brand new release by Maura Roan McKeegan! You all know how much I LOVE the other books (The Old and New Series) she has written. So excited to add this new release to our home library too! 




.: Joy - Age 1 :.


Babies
A charming first look at the soft and sweet world of babies.

Baby Animals
Chubby puppies, furry kittens, fuzzy chicks, downy ducklings: Gyo Fujikawa’s lovable baby animals will captivate children. They’re big (elephants) and small (mice), plump (piglets), and playful (lambs). With each picture, kids learn a little bit about the animal—the sound it makes, how soft it might feel, and what it can do. Plus, they’ll discover something else very important: that very young creatures have to be petted, snuggled, and hugged very gently…just like the children themselves.

A lovely new book in the "My First Words" series for toddlers. "Hello Jesus, I do not see you, but you are here. Very softly, deep in my heart, I talk to you. You are my friend." A beautiful book full of tenderness for children, with windows that open to reveal features of the delightful illustrations. Simple words like hello, thank you, sorry, please, and I love you help you teach a child the essence of prayer, while giving him his first words to pray to God. Combining faith, lovely illustrations, and sweet prayers, this is the perfect gift book for all occasions!

Jane Austen (Little People, Big Dreams) 
Discover the remarkable life of Jane Austen, the great British novelist, in this book from the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series.  Little Jane was born into a large family with seven brothers and sisters. She grew up reading and writing stories in the English countryside. As an adult, she wrote witty commentaries about landed gentry in a way that no one had ever done before, portraying young women who bravely made their own choices. These novels made Jane one of the most loved British writers of all time. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical images and a detailed profile of the author's life.

This includes the Annunciation, the Nativity, the Presentation in the Temple, the visit of the Magi, and the flight into Egypt. Several of the beautiful prophecies of Isaiah and Zechariah regarding the Messiah are also found in this book.

New Testament Stories: Jesus Teaches Us
This includes Jesus among the Doctors in the Temple, Nicodemus, Jesus blessing the little children, the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son, and the Sermon on the Mount.

This includes the stories of the Samaritan Woman at the well, Peter walking on water, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, the Crucifixion, His appearance to the disciples on the way to Emmaus, and the Ascension.

Our review with pictures can be found here



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.: Giveaway :.


Prize #1: The Thief Who Stole HeavenOur Lady's Wardrobe and Our Lady's Picture Book sponsored by Sophia Institute Press  (retail value $50.85) 



sponsored by St. Augustine Academy Press  (retail value $32.95) 




sponsored by Harvey House Publishing (retail value $24.90) 
**Order directly from the author/publisher for free shipping and inscription!**



sponsored Emmaus Road Publishing  (retail value $17.95)

Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter box below:
(The five winners will be announced day after Palm Sunday!) 



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You can find links to all my other book lists here and our past Easter posts in the archives including our 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 20182019, and 2020 Baskets of Books for Easter

 

One of these years I'll make an updated gift guide... In the meantime:


Scroll through all past Easter Baskets here...

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Where is Jesus Hidden?

In addition to the new Bible Stories for Baby Hands, another book which will be making its way into one of our children's Easter Baskets this year is author Maura Roan McKeegan's recently published picture book Where is Jesus Hidden?

Jesus has a face like yours,
With eyes and nose and ears—
But sometimes we can't see Him
Even though He's very near.

Sometimes He is hidden,
Or He's wearing a disguise,
But we can learn to find Him
If our hearts will help our eyes.

- excerpt from Where is Jesus Hidden?



"In Where is Jesus Hidden?, award-winning author Maura Roan McKeegan points to the many places and ways Jesus can be found. With a series of clues from Scripture to guide them, young children will learn that if they search for Jesus, he is never far."




Where is Jesus Hidden? by Maura Roan McKeegan
(Also available directly from the publisher here.)

I'm currently gifting away two copies over at Instagram


Maura Roan McKeegan is also the author of some of my very favorite Catholic picture books for children, the "Old and New" series reverently illustrated by Ted Schluenderfritz. You can find our links and reviews in the archives for the first three books in the series: The End of the Fiery Sword: Adam & Eve and Jesus & MaryInto the Sea, Out of the Tomb: Jonah and Jesus and Building the Way to Heaven: The Tower of Babel and Pentecost

The fourth book in the series, Saved by the Lamb: Moses and Jesus, is available for pre-order! I can't wait to see it and hope to have it in time to add it to an Easter Basket this year too!  

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Bible Stories for Baby Hands


This past week I had an unexpected package arrive from St. Augustine Academy Press and was absolutely delighted when I opened it up and discovered this gorgeous brand new set of Bible Stories for Baby Hands. These board books will make a perfect addition to our little ones Easter Baskets next month and I wanted to share them with you all right away so you can order them for your family too. Filled with traditional religious art, these beautiful board books will truly inspire our children! 
 



Each book is available separately for just $7.95 each, or save 15% by purchasing the whole set


"The color lithographs on each page are based on engravings by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld for his 1860 Bible in Pictures. Each one is meant to dramatically encapsulate the story it represents, so that by simply pointing to elements in the picture, an adult can easily tell the story to the child. Therefore, for the youngest children, the pictures alone suffice.

However, we have not neglected to add text. Beneath each illustration is a quote from scripture that pertains to the story that is depicted above. Then, as the child gets older, the full story behind each picture is provided."




"For the Old Testament books, the original scripture passages were usually far too long, so we did our best to write them in language that fit with the others; however, we tried to include quotes and phraseology from scripture where possible. Many of these Old Testament stories include prefigurements of Christ, so we wove this into the text, mentioning how these characters tell us something about Jesus."


"For the New Testament books, we chose to take the text directly from scripture. Sometimes this required paraphrasing portions in order to fit the full story. We smoothed the vocabulary and syntax in a few places, only where necessary to make it understandable for younger ears; otherwise we allowed the power of the original text to shine through."




Click over to St. Augustine Academy Press to see more and to order a set of your own


.: Giveaway :. 


St. Augustine Academy Press has generously offered a few sets for me to give away, one to a commenter on this blog post, another over on Instagram (be sure to keep an eye out for it), and one in my upcoming annual Baskets of Books for Easter post! To enter here on the blog for this first set, simply leave a comment on this post and claim your entry through the Rafflecopter box below. Share this post with a friend and/or on your social media account for a bonus entry. Thank you for helping spread the word about this new series!