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Construction Zone Party

We have been following the construction progress of our local library as it under goes a renovation. When I take the kids to return our books, they are excited to watch the builders. Their anticipation grew when they noticed the walls and roof one morning. "Wow Mama, they're almost done!"

Along with the excitement for our new library, our little boy turned two this year! He has been entertaining himself (and his sisters) by making exuberant "Vroom, VrOOM!" noises with everything he holds, whether that's the carrot he is eating for lunch or the tea cup from the play kitchen. How could we NOT  make this boy a construction theme birthday?

I challenged myself with making this party as low cost as possible. It was a fun challenge and I think I did pretty good! Total cost of decorations/props was under $20. Not bad for having only 11 days to plan. These birthday parties creep on me sometimes.  Caution Cones ($2 Dollar Store)Caution Tape ($3.99 Home Depot)Twelve Po…
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Honoring Our Lady

"Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did." - St. Maximilian Kolbe
April brought several snow showers to WI this year, prolonging the cold and wet days and delaying any hope of growth for the frozen grass and flowers. But that didn't stop us from welcoming spring into our home. The girls and I made paper hyacinths and daffodils to cheer up our dining room. Seeing the bright and lively blooms on our walls helped remind us that spring was on it's way!

We made a mini grotto, complete with foliage and fauna during the month of May in honor of Our Lady. It was a quick and easy activity that we finished in one afternoon. You can find the free "Mary diorama" at the Catholic Sistas blog. We used crayons instead of watercolors and a tissue box (in place of a shoe box) for the grotto. All the pieces fit together nicely. The girls were excited to look for the perfect spot to place our grotto in the backyard.


Thunder Cake

It's been rainy, wet and cold. Low, gray clouds covered the sky for most of the week. As the storms rolled in, we watched and listened to the rumblings of the thunder. Come to think of it, my kids aren't afraid of storms. I've always told them that God sends the rain (and the lighting) to help the plants, flowers and trees grow big and strong. The day after a storm, they like run out to inspect our yard. What do they find? The grass is a brilliant green, flowers have pushed through the dirt and the trees are sprouting leaf buds! Oh, and a worm or two stranded on the pavement. It's such an exciting time for them, watching things grow!

My favorite rainy day book is Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco. I promised the girls we would make this delicious cake next time it stormed, and so we did!

Babushka's Thunder Cake recipe is written at the back of the book. I used a slightly different recipe for our cake. Unfortunately, it sat in the oven a bit too long and came out on …

Saints on the Go!

Fast or slow, high or low, saints are always on the go!
This brightly colored book, "Saints on the Go", by Chantal Baros from Shining Light Dolls company, is filled with stories of the saints and their modes of transportation. Short rhymes retell the stories of thirteen saints. From horse drawn carriages and buckboard wagons to trolleys and steam engines, the saints sure did know how to get around! This book has a fun "easter egg"-- hidden on each page is an ichthus (Jesus fish symbol). Our kids try to race each other to be the first to find the fish.

I was excited to see that this book included saints, such as St. Katharine Drexel, St. Maximillian Kolbe, and St. Josemaria Escriva who are written about less frequently in children's books.

Also published by Shining Light Dolls, is the delightful board book, "The Virgin Mary Around the World".  Just like "Saints on the Go", this book is vibrant with color and explains our faith in a fun and p…

Observing Lent with Kids

"O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day. In union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. In reparation for my sins and for the intentions offered this month by our Holy Father." - Daily Offering Prayer

My intention this lent was to bring our family closer to the cross, closer to the sufferings of Jesus through His Mother Mary.

Last year, I made a Stations of the Cross for Toddlers. The girls loved having something to hold while we sat and prayed together. It kept their little hands busy and squiggly bodies occupied.

Recognizing their fascination with the hands-on stations, I wanted to incorporate more visuals and tactile items this year. A crown of thorns, woven palms, nails, purple cloth; having these things around our home at little arms' reach helped our children reflect and meditate on the Passion of Our Lord.  Their young hearts were ready to learn and their love was pure and…

St. John Marie Vianney: The Holy Curé of Ars

The plan was to write this book review after Easter, but I just couldn't resist. As soon as it arrived in my mailbox, I eagerly revealed the "quiet time surprise" to my four year old and we found a warm, sunny spot on the couch and read the story together.

It's a challenge to find good, solid, children's books that are rich with the traditions of our faith. Unfortunately, a large majority of material out there is watered down, the content simplified or vague, and the artwork is terrible. How can we expect our kids to get excited about the Communion of Saints and the Mysteries of our faith if all they see is hippie Jesus walking with the butterflies?

The good news is that, in the past eights years, there's been a revival of catholic picture books. These books portray the Church in all it's beauty and wonder.

This book, John Mary Vianney: The Holy Curé of Ars is from the series "The Life of a Saint" published by Ignatius Press. We have another boo…

Feast of St. Valentine 2018

Coincidentally,  St. Valentine's Day falls on Ash Wednesday this year so we moved our valentine feasting and sweet eating to Fat Tuesday.  It has not been our custom to take the kids to Mass on Ash Wednesday, since it's not considered a holy day of obligation. However, we do try to keep things low key and prayerful to help us enter into the season of Lent.

Our children have not reached the age requirement for fasting and abstaining, but we encourage them to offer up little sacrifices (ex. going to bed without a stuffed animal for one night, letting a sibling pick which Netflix show to watch, or skipping the Mc D's fries when out and about running errands.) So far, so good! They have willingly (no whining or pouting) given up their favorites, their treasures, and their comforts for Our Lord. What pure hearts, those children have. If only we could learn to love as a child loves!

Since Ash Wednesday holds precedence over the feast of St. Valentine, we focused on making crafts…