Thursday, March 25, 2010

Holy Week

The Pieta by Giovanni Battista (Baciccio)

Holy Week begins this upcoming week. I attempt to make our home this week as quiet and relaxed as possible, with the mood being reflective on Holy Thursday, somber on Good Friday, excited on Holy Saturday and celebratory on Easter Sunday. Here are some ideas for sharing this week with your family.
Prayer Holy Thursday It is tradition to read the story of the first Passover from the Bible (Exodus 12:1-20) before dinner. Then read the New Testament reading about the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist from either Matt 26:17:30; Mark 14:12-26 or Luke 22:7-20. Good Friday Jesus suffered greatly for us. Think of His wounds, His pain, His last breath. Be with Jesus today. Pray the Stations of the Cross
Children can pray the Stations of the Cross with the Glory Stories Passion for Children
Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary (this is an online rosary with images from the Holy Land), Litany of the Passion
In the hours before and especially at 3:00pm which is "the hour" He died,
be especially quiet and reflective.
Holy Saturday
Attend Easter Vigil Mass or if this is not possible watch the The Holy Father celebrate The Solemn Easter Vigil Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, airing at 3 p.m. ET, Saturday, April 3 on EWTN Easter Sunday
Attend Mass
1. Jesus Rises From the Dead (Matthew 28:1-7) 2. The Disciples Find the Tomb Empty (John 20:1-9) 3. The Risen Lord Appears to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18) 4. The Risen Lord Appears to Two Disciples on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-27) 5. The Risen Lord Is Recognized at the Breaking of Bread (Luke 24:28-35) 6. The Risen Lord Appears to His Disciples (Luke 24:36-43) 7. The Lord Gives the Power to Forgive Sins (John 20:19-23) 8. The Lord Confirms the Faith of Thomas (John 20:24-29) 9. The Risen Lord Meets His Disciples on the Shore of Lake Tiberias (John 21:1-13) 10. The Risen Lord Confers the Primacy on Peter (John 21:15-17) 11. The Risen Lord Entrusts to His Disciples the Mission to the World (Matthew 28:16-20) 12. The Risen Lord Ascends to the Father (Acts 1:6-11) 13. Waiting for the Holy Spirit With Mary, the Mother of Jesus (Acts 1:12-14) 14. The Risen Lord Sends the Holy Spirit Promised to the Disciples (Acts 2:1-13)
Reading & Learning

Various children's books below to read anytime during Lent, Holy Week or the Easter Season.

The Story of Easter by Patricia Pingry

Catholic Babies First Easter by Isaac Wise

The Story of Easter by Aileen Fisher The Easter Story and Celebrating Lent by Jude Winkler The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Dubose Heyward Benjamin's Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs by Melody Carlson Legend of the Easter Egg by Lori VandenBosch

The Easter Story by Gennady Spirin

The Very First Easter by Paul J. Maier Stations of the Cross and St. Joseph Catholic Children's Bible by Father Lawrence Lovasik

Jesus and The Easter Story by Brian Wildsmith

The Jesus Garden: An Easter Legend by Antoinette Bosco Easter Eggs for Anya: A Ukrainian Celebration of New Life in Christ by Virginia Kroll

Rechenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco First Easter Bunny by Fricch Lewandowski

The Golden Egg Book by Margaret Wise Brown

Petook by Caryll Houselander

The Egg Tree by Katherine Milhous

Crafts & Activities

Holy Thursday

Color these Stations of the Cross coloring pages

Good Friday

Adults watch Passion of the Christ

Crayon "Stained Glass" Cross Craft Have your child cut two identical cross shapes from waxed paper. Using old or broken crayons and a dull kitchen knife, scrape the crayons to create shavings of various colors. Spread the crayons on one of the pieces of waxed paper in a desired pattern. Then place the second waxed paper cross over the top of the first cross and the shavings. An adult should complete the following step: Using a warm iron, press the two pieces of waxed paper together. Holy Saturday

Decorate foam Easter eggs with religious stickers and hang them as a garland

Decorate Easter Eggs

Color coloring pages from the Coloring Book About Easter by Paul Bianca

Here are some other cute Easter crafts Food & Treats Holy Thursday Make a special meal to remember Jesus' Last Supper serving foods reflective of some of the foods Jesus would have eaten or symbolic of Jesus. Catholic Cuisine has a wonderful post with ideas for such a meal, explaining the historical and religious significance of these foods. Here is a possible meal for our family: meatloaf shaped like a lamb because we don't really like leg of lamb to symbolize Christ as the lamb of God spinach salad as a reminder of the bitter herbs eaten at Passover homemade artisan bread with a cross on it served with apple butter as a reminder of the Charoses, the Unleavened Bread, the Eucharist, Jesus as the bread of life and Jesus' sacrifice on the cross grapes for the kids and wine for the parents as a reminder of the wine of the Last Supper which becomes the Blood of Christ

For more Holy Thursday food ideas, visit Catholic Cuisine Good Friday

Make Hot Cross Buns as this is tradition for Good Friday. Catholic Cuisine has a wonderful recipe.

For other Good Friday food ideas, visit Catholic Cuisine Holy Saturday

Make Resurrection Rolls using the below recipe, Bible readings and analogies as a creative way to explain Jesus' Resurrection to young children.
Resurrection Rolls
1 package Crescent Rolls, divided into triangles Butter, melted 8 large Marshmallows Cinnamon/Sugar mixture Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Give each child a triangle of crescent rolls. The crescent roll represents the tomb and the cloth that Jesus was wrapped in . Read Matthew 27:57-61 Give each child a marshmallow. This represents Jesus. Dip the marshmallow in the melted butter and roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture. This represents the oils and spices the body was anointed with upon burial. Lay the marshmallow on the dough and carefully wrap it around the marshmallow. Make sure all seams are pinched together well. (Otherwise the marshmallow will "ooze" out of the seams.)This represents the wrapping of Jesus' body after His death. Bake on a greased cookie sheet in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. The oven represents the tomb and the cooking time the three days from Good Friday to Easter. Read Matthew 28:5-8 When the rolls have cooled slightly, the children can open their rolls (cloth) and discover that Jesus is no longer there, HE IS RISEN! The rolls will be hollow because the marshmallow melted. While the children enjoy the rolls, explain that knowing Jesus is alive and He loves us feels so good, like the rolls taste good and sweet.

Easter Sunday

Monkey Bread Cross (this a family favorite)

for other Easter food ideas, visit Catholic Cuisine Hope you have a blessed and reflective Holy Week and a joyous Easter.

Palm Sunday

"Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" Mark 11:9 This Sunday is Palm Sunday, and below are some ideas for celebrating this day with your family. Crafts & Activities
Make Palm Crosses (click link for directions)
Color this or this picture of Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem
Click here for an assortment of creative crafts for children for Palm Sunday. Food & Treats
Palm Sunday is also known as "Fig Sunday" because it is believed that Christ ate figs after his entrance into Jerusalem.
Make Fig Newton ice cream sundaes.
For other fig ideas, visit Catholic Cuisine and Catholic Culture.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Passion of Christ in Lego

I posted this last year, and with Holy Week approaching, I thought it was a good time to post it again. Two young boys built and shot this to teach the Gospel to their younger siblings. This is Part One of Five. You can view the other parts by following the links below. Very creative and so wonderful for children.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Feast of the Annunciation

"Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Lk 1:38
Wednesday, March 25th is the Feast of the Annunciation, celebrating the incarnation of Jesus in the womb of Mary, and falls exactly nine months before Christmas Day. The Annunciation is described in the first chapter of Luke, and it is in those verses that we are given the words to the "Hail Mary."
- Pray the Hail Mary - Pray the Angelus. This is a video of the prayers chanted by the Daughters of Mary.

- Pray the Magnificat, also called the Canticle of Mary, which is Mary's response (1:46-55) to her cousin Elizabeth's greeting (Luke 1: 41-45). This is the Magnificat by J.S. Bach.
Reading & Learning
Mary the Mother of Jesus by Tomis dePaola Angel in the Waters by Regina Doman
Crafts & Activities
- Have your children color this or this picture of the Annunciation
- Have you children fill out this fill-in-the-blank sheet of the Hail Mary
- Make a "Mary's Candle" using a fat pillar white or blue candle. Carve a niche in the wax large enough to fit a small baby doll or a small image of the Infant Jesus. Fasten a "curtain" of white cloth, over the opening with pins pushed into the wax. The candle represents the purity of the Virgin. The Baby is "hidden" within the body of the candle. Light the candle when you say the Hail Mary, Angelus, or Rosary on this Feast. The same candle can be saved to be used on other feast days and solemnities of the Blessed Virgin (Assumption, Immaculate Conception). On Christmas open the little curtain to reveal the infant Jesus.
- Decorate the dining table with baby's breath flowers
Food & Treats
- Make "Annunciation Waffles" for breakfast or dinner using frozen, homemade or this recipe for Swedish waffles below as waffles are the traditional food eaten on the Feast of the Annunciation in Sweden. Visit Catholic Cuisine for a detailed history of this tradition or for more food ideas for the Annunciation.
Swedish Waffles 1 3/4 cups heavy cream, well-chilled 1 1/3 cups flour 1-2 tablespoons sugar Pinch of salt 1/2 cup cold water 3 tablespoons melted sweet butter Whip the cream until stiff. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Stir in the water to make a smooth batter. Fold the whipped cream into the batter. Stir in the melted butter. Heat the waffle iron. (If it is well seasoned, it will not need to be greased.) Fill the grid surface about two-thirds full of batter. Bake until golden brown. Place on a rack to keep crisp while you make the rest of the waffles. Yield: about 8 waffles recipe from A Continual Feast by Evelyn's Vitz
- Make or buy angel food cake and serve with blueberries on top or iced with blue frosting, as blue is the traditional color of Mary's mantle.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Happy Moment

It's a beautiful, sunny day. The daffodils have bloomed. I'm wearing a skirt and sandals for the first time this year. I'm holding my sweet newborn baby. My Peaches is napping upstairs. My husband is snuggling with our oldest who is transitioning from nap time to quiet time. I'm tired and have loads of laundry to do, but I am happy. And I was savoring the moment, and then I read this... so I kissed a sweet newborn forehead and savored the moment some more.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Long Overdue Thank You

Baptism Portriat, 2-13-10
This post should have been written a month ago, as Sweet Pea is now just over two months old. But life with a newborn and two other little ones always leaves me wondering where the time goes. It really is true that sometimes the minutes and hours can pass so slowly and the days and weeks just fly by. But I have been thinking about this post and wanting so badly to put into words the gratitude I feel in my heart for all the friends who have shown us such love and kindness for our Sweet Pea (gosh sometimes I wish so badly that I could share her real name on this blog, it's really beautiful I promise). Anyhow, I am about two thirds through mailing written thank you notes, so this needs to be written too.
One Month Portrait, 2-12-10
I want to thank all of you, you know who you are, who sent sweet cards and gifts for our little newborn angel. Another and in many cases duplicate thank you to those of you who made delicious meals for our family. They were all so delicious and greatly appreciated, and we were in awe of the number of people in our community who gifted us in this way.
Cozy Knit Hat, 1-16-10
In keeping with the tradition of the Catholic blogging community I am overjoyed to be a part of, I must thank some wonderful blogging friends who sent sweet gifts for our little girl. Thank you Charlotte and her sweet daughter for knitting Sweet Pea this adorable hat. She is growing so fast that it just barely fits her now, but I am so glad she has worn it so often for many cold days outside these last couple months. That picture above is her daddy holding her while she is wearing your hat. Thank you Jessica for the cute outfit. I look forwrad to watching our baby girls who are barely a month apart grow. I don't have a picture of the little rosy cheeks outfit yet because she will be growing into in the next month or so. I'll be sure to post a picture then.
Ten Minutes Old, 1-12-10
Thank you again to Ruth for the Our Lady of Fatima rosary you gave me following my surgery during the very beginning of Sweet Pea's pregnancy when we were not sure if she had survived. It brought me such comfort the entire pregnancy and during her delivery. It will someday be a special gift I give her. This is a picture of her barely ten minutes old with the rosary. All three of you inspiring women have been such a joy to befriend even though we have never met. I love reading about your lives and watching your children grow.
First Smiling Picture, 3-5-10
Finally, I want to thank my new "blogging" friend, Kelly, who was first a dear friend in person. She gave Sweet Pea this beautiful pink blanket in the background, and it is the blanket I take to mass for her every Sunday. You must check out her blog, My Life With Boys. Her little stories about raising five boys are as hilarious as her witty Facebook updates.
Saint Patrick's Day, 3-17-10
Thank you again to all my dear friends near and far. I am so blessed in so many ways.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Feast of Saint Joseph

The Feast of Saint Joseph is celebrated on March 19th. Saint Joseph, foster-father of Jesus and the husband of the Virgin Mother, is a patron saint of families and children. Here are some ideas for celebrating this feast day with your family. Prayer
Pray the Prayer to Saint Joseph
Prayer to St. Joseph O glorious St. Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, obtain for me a pure, humble and charitable mind, and perfect resignation in the Divine Will. Be my guide, father and model through life that I may merit to die as thou didst, in the arms of Jesus and Mary. Amen.
Continue or start the Novena to St. Joseph Reading & Learning

Good Saint Joseph by Lawrence Lovasik Read your children this book about the legend of the swallows - "las golondrinas" - returning to the Mission of Capistrano on St. Joseph's Day

The Song of the Swallows by Leo Politi Bold

Crafts & Activities Color this or one of other Saint Joseph coloring pages

Create a mini 3d Virtual St. Joseph's Altar like the one pictured above by completing instructions included on the pdf download from the Virtual St. Joseph Altar.

Honor Fathers by making dad breakfast, cards, or a cake for when he gets home from work. Take father and child photos.

Jessica made some wonderful Saint Joseph Memory Match Playing Cards with various images of saint Joseph that you can print out here and here. Food

Italians have celebrated this feast day since the Middle Ages since it was believed that prayers to St. Joseph saved Sicily from a major drought. Italians have traditionally worn red on this feast day and created a big altar called a "St. Joseph's Table" (like the one pictured above from the Virtual Saint Joseph Altar) adorned with St. Joseph statues, flowers, candles, breads, traditional foods for the day:
pasta with breadcrumbs (breadcrumbs symbolize the sawdust on St. Joseph's floor from his work as a carpenter)
Sfinge di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph's Cream Puffs)
fava beans (which was one of few food plants to survive the drought)
"decorative" breads (in the shape of a cross, staff, the shape of carpenter's tools)
There are recipes for many of these items at the Virtual St. Joseph Altar and at Catholic Cuisine. Since we are still in newborn mode with limited fancy cooking, we will be having a some simple spaghetti with breadcrumbs on top. I'll probably also get a roll of Pillsbury dough and mold it into the shape of a staff and brush it with butter and garlic. For dessert, I'll probably buy some cream puffs from our local bakery or at the grocery store. I'll try to remember to take pictures this year.

Make homemade pretzels and teach your children the history of pretzels and their association with Lent and St. Joseph's feast day (one of many recipes below). They can say the below pretzel prayer to reinforce the significance of prayer and fasting during. The pretzel represents the shape of the penitent's crossed arms, and was a traditional Lenten food in central European towns. Pretzels are traditionally eaten throughout Lent, and in some places are especially associated with Saint Joseph's Day which usually falls within Lent. "According to pretzel maker Snyder’s of Hanover, a young monk in the early 600s in Italy was preparing a special Lenten bread of water, flour and salt. To remind his brother monks that Lent was a time of prayer, he rolled the bread dough in strips and then shaped each strip in the form of crossed arms, mimicking the then popular prayer position of folding one’s arms over each other on the chest. The bread was then baked as a soft bread, just like the big soft pretzels one can find today. Because these breads were shaped into the form of crossed arms, they were called bracellae, the Latin word for "little arms." From this word, the Germans derived the word bretzel which has since mutated to the familiar word pretzel." (from CERC). Pretzel Prayer Heavenly Father, we ask you to bless these little breads. Each time we eat them, may we be reminded of the special season of prayer and fasting that we are keeping. May they remind us of our need to come closer to you in prayer. May they remind us of those in need. Keep your loving arms around us, O Father, to protect us always, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Soft, Hot Pretzel Recipe (from Women for Faith & Family) Combine in a mixing bowl: 1 cup warm water 1 package (1 1/2 T) active dry yeast 1 tsp sugar Add and beat at least 3 minutes: 1 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour 2 Tbsp soft butter 1/2 tsp Tbsp sugar Stir in 1 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour and knead until the dough loses its stickiness. Let the dough rise in a covered greased bowl until it is doubled in bulk (this is called "proofing" the dough). Punch down and divide it into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope and form it into a pretzel shape. Place the pretzels on a greased baking sheet and let them rise until almost doubled in bulk. Preheat oven to 475°F. In a large non aluminum kettle, prepare a boiling solution of 4 cups water 5 tsp baking soda With a slotted spoon, carefully lower the pretzels into the water and boil about 1 minute or until they float to the top. Return them to the greased sheet. Sprinkle them with coarse salt. (Sea salt or Kosher salt.) Bake the pretzels until they are nicely browned, about 10-12 minutes. Pretzels are best when eaten while still warm, but they may be stored in an air tight container for up to a week, or frozen. (Makes twelve 6 inch pretzels) Make St. Joseph cream puffs (Sfinge di San Giuseppe). Use this recipe at Catholic Cuisine.

Flying Through Ireland

Take a flying tour of Ireland...

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Feast of Saint Patrick

The Feast of Saint Patrick is on March 17th. Below are a few ideas for celebrating the feast day of the patron saint of Ireland with your family.
Prayer Breastplate of Saint Patrick Christ shield me this day Christ be with me, Christ within me Christ behind me, Christ before me Christ beside me, Christ to win me Christ to comfort me and restore me. Christ beneath me, Christ above me Christ in quiet, Christ in danger Christ in hearts of all that love me Christ in mouth of friend or stranger. Prayer of Saint Patrick for the Faithful May the Strength of God guide us. May the Power of God preserve us. May the Wisdom of God instruct us. May the Hand of God protect us. May the Way of God direct us. May the Shield of God defend us. May the Angels of God guard us, Against the snares of the evil one. May Christ be with us! May Christ be before us! May Christ be in us, Christ be over all! May Thy Grace, Lord, Always be ours, This day, O Lord, and forevermore. Amen. Reading & Learning The Story of Saint Patrick's Day by Patricia A. Pingry Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie de Paola Patrick: Saint of Ireland by Joyce Denham St. Patrick's Day by Gail Gibbons St. Patrick's Day in the Morning by Eve Bunting
Saint Patrick by Ann Tompert Saint Patrick by Father Lovasik Explain to your children how Saint Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish people and that is why shamrocks are associated with Saint Patrick and the Irish people. Crafts & Activities Color this picture of Saint Patrick or this picture of a cross and shamrock
Watch Patrick - Brave Shepherd of the Emerald Isle DVD Food & Treats Breakfast
Green Milk and green scrambled eggs with green french toast (make by adding a few drops of green food coloring to your egg mixture)
Guinness Beef Irish Stew from Catholic Cuisine (we made this last year and it was delicious) Traditional Irish corned beef and cabbage
Irish Soda Bread ( I just saw this recipe on Cottage Blessings and will hopefully get to try it this year) Desserts & Treats
Jello Shamrocks
Make green jello using Jello Jigglers recipe.
2-1/2 cups boiling water (Do not add cold water.)
2 pkg. (8-serving size each) green JELL-O Gelatin
Stir boiling water into dry gelatin mix in large bowl
at least 3 minutes until completely dissolved. Pour into 13x9-inch pan. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or until firm. Dip bottom of pan in warm water 15 sec.
Use shamrock cookie cutter to cute into shamrocks, being careful to cut
all the way through gelatin to bottom of pan. Lift shamrocks from pan. Add a few drops of green food coloring to cool whip. Pipe Cool Whip onto Jello shamrocks
(by putting in sandwich bag and cutting a small hole in one bottom corner).
Add green and white or shamrock sprinkles.
Chocolate Dipped Oreos with Shamrock Sprinkles
Shamrock Crispy Rice Treats Green mint chocolate chip ice cream or lime sherbet for dessert After the kids go to bed, make an Irish coffee and share an Irish toast.
May your blessings outnumber The shamrocks that grow, And may trouble avoid you Wherever you go. Slainte!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Quack, Quack Affair

A recent Saturday was all quack-quack and waddle-waddle at our house as we had Peaches' Ducky 2nd Birthday Party. There are few things I love more than planning a child's party, so I adored every minute of putting of putting this together for her. Peaches really loves ducks and she was so happy. Here are some highlights. This is her two year birthday picture in her ducky birthday dress.
A very excited birthday girl checking out the goodies table
Everyone dressed in yellow and ducks
Decorations & Activities
The entrance was set with yellow balloons and streamers and a "Waddle On In" sign. Then there was a kiddie pool filled with blue cellophane and bubble wrap with little rubber duckies "swimming" in it. Orange cut out duck foot prints on the floor and wall brought you into the kitchen where there were stuffed ducks and toys all over, children's books featuring ducks in them (Jemima Puddle Duck, Angus and the Ducks, The Story About Ping, and more), and of course the cake which was a 3D duck swimming in the water.
"Pin the Beak on the Duck"
For activities, the children jumped in the ducky pond popping the bubble wrap, played at tables with lots of yellow play-doh, colored ducky coloring pages with yellow crayons, danced to ducky children's songs (Six Little Ducks, The Duck Dance, Rubber Ducky, Ducks Dance Too and Quack, Quack, Quack), and finally a cute game of pin the beak on the duck.
Duck "foot prints"
Duck Pond with rubber duckies floating in it with blue cellophane for water and bubble wrap for bubbles
Duck Coloring pages table. There were also a couple tables with yellow play-doh and toys.
Duck Children's Books. Other decorations were stuffed ducks all over the place.
Food & Favors
For snacks before lunch, there were "Quackers" and Cheese, "Quack" Mix, Yellow Cream Oreos, Yellow Duck Butter Mints, and "Duck Feed" (also known as Chex Muddy Buddies or Puppy Chow).
For the children's lunch, there was "Quacker Butter and Jelly Sandwiches" cut into the shape of a duck, organic ducky crackers, yellow duck marshmallow Peeps, and lemonade in cute ducky straw cups to take home. For dessert we had ice cream and ducky cake, which was white cake with yellow cream Oreos crushed inside.
In addition to the duck straw cups, each child took home a yellow rubber ducky toy and a precious duck lollipop (graciously made by my mother-in-law, oh and she made the cute duck mints too).
Duck Lollipop Favors
Can you believe I found these bottles of wine, which more decoration than drink since it was a morning children's party.
Ducky Crackers (my local grocery store has these as their organic store brand of goldfish crackers)
These were "Quacker butter & Jam Sandwiches" for the children were PB&J sandwiches cut into the shape of a duck with a cookie cutter. Adults ate pizza which just happened to be delivered in yellow pizza boxes.
Trail mix in one of many cute ducky themed serving dishes
"Quackers & Cheese"
Adorable ducky butter mints made my my mother-in-law. I wish I had a better picture of the actual mints in the shape of little ducks. They were precious.
These are muddy-buddies or puppy chow (whatever you grew up calling it), but for this party it was called "Duck Feed"
My mom found these cute straw cups which we served yellow lemonade in and then gave one to each child as a favor.
Of course the party ended eating this yummy duck cake.
Happy Quackday Peaches!!

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