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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…
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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…

Under the Sea Party

Birthday time! I'm excited to share another playful party with you. Get ready to dive under the sea with the mermaids and fishies!

During the weeks leading up to the party, I reserved a bunch of children's picture books from our local library about ocean life. I was excited to immerse the girls in this new topic and teach them about the wonders of the sea. They now recognize the names of several sea creatures, where they live, and what they eat. 
Our favorites include:  The Usborne Big Book of Sea Creatures,  Has large fold-out pages and realistic illustrations of the ocean life.Little Sea Turtle. A tiny finger puppet board book with a short story about the life of a sea turtle.The Secrets of the Seashore , From the "Shine a Light" series of Usborne books. The kids loved holding the pages up to the window to find the hidden creatures living in their habitats.What Will I Be? Peek under each flap to see how the butterfly, polar bear, turtle, frog, and bird develop. 

Home Holy Water Font

One of the ways our family builds and nurtures our domestic church is by teaching our children about the importance of sacramentals. Sacramentals are "sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments. They signify effects, particularly of a spiritual nature, which are obtained through the intercession of the Church. By them, men are disposed to receive the chief effect of the sacraments, and various occasions in life are rendered holy” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1667).
Our house is sprinkled with sacramentals. Rosaries are kept (at little arms reach) on our home oratory, scapulars are worn around our necks and blessed palms can be spotted tucked behind a crucifix and framed religious artwork throughout the home.
We received a beautiful white-stone holy water font featuring the Holy Family as a house warming/blessing gift when we moved into our house. It hangs next to our front door and is a reminder to us of our baptismal promise. We hung a second font at kid-…

Feast of All Saints 2017

On November 1, we celebrate the host of saints in heaven. We ask them to intercede for us so that one day we too may join the holy soul for all Eternity.

My four year old has told me many times that she wants to go to heaven to be with Mary and Jesus. This afternoon, while praying my rosary, she climbed onto my lap. She asked if she would see the apostles up there (heaven). I said yes, of course! And St. Francis, St. Maximillian, St. Nicholas, and St. Agnes! 
Isn't it amazing to think about who you could rub elbows with in heaven? I mean how cool would it be to dine with St. Lawrence and St. Martha, share a hearty laugh with St. Bernard of Clairvaux or hike the mountains with St. John Paul and Blessed Pier Giorgio? Heaven will be GREAT!

My husband and I desire our children to know and love the saints. To help them get to know their patrons, we read stories and celebrate their feast days with tasty foods and fun activities.

Our children look forward to the All Saints Day Party in l…

Double Dino Party

"We are the dinosaurs, marching, marching, we are the dinosaurs what do ya think of that?" These are the words heard on repeat over the past few weeks from little voices. I've been taking the girls to Movers and Makers at the library on Fridays and they always end the program by singing the dinosaur song. That being said, it was an easy theme to work into the birthday celebrations this month. My three-going-on-four year old was beside herself with joy when she heard I was planning a DOUBLE DINO party for her and her little brother. 

The three layered DINO cake was covered in milk chocolate frosting, drizzled with chocolate ganache and topped with crushed cookies. Picked up the big plastic dinos from Family Dollar and the mismatched smaller ones were found at garage sales this summer. 

Decorations were put up a few days before the party (and they are still up! Kids are lovin' it.) I cut out construction paper for the dinosaurs shapes and used matching balloons. My fa…