Jul 22, 2014

St. Bridget of Sweden Craft {Liturgical Ornament}

We celebrate the feast of St. Bridget of Sweden on July 23. (Her traditional feast day is on Oct. 8th.) She married around the age of 14 and had 8 children. (Including St. Catherine of Sweden). St. Bridget was a visionary and after her husband died she worked hard trying to restore the Church. She is the founder of the Brigettine nuns, and the patron saint of Sweden, Europe, and widows.  The symbols on the ornament which we created for her includes a "pilgrim's" staff,  because she took MANY pilgrimages. The staff is accompanied by a book - another common symbol of her's. 
Read more about her HERE and HERE.

We used gray, dark brown, maroon, and white felt to create this ornament. We glued the staff onto a white oval for stability (we used hot glue). The book was created using a gray rectangle (the cover) and thee small white rectangles (the pages). It was all glued (hot glue) together at the book's "binding"; so it will partly open. Then the book was glued onto the oval with the staff. A silver threaded loop was added so it could be hung on our Liturgical tree.  

Note: St. Bridget of Sweden is also known as St. Brigit, St. Birgitta, or Birgitta of Vadstena.
She is commonly confused with St. Bridget of Ireland, whose feast day is Feb 1.

St. Bridget of Sweden, pray for us!
May you all have a blessed day!

See all the Liturgical Ornaments HERE

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Jul 21, 2014

St. Mary Magdalene Craft {Liturgical Ornament}

St. Mary Magdalene's feast day is July 22 (New and Traditional calendars) The story from John 12:1-8 tells us how Mary Magdalene anointed the feet of Jesus with expensive perfume. So for her liturgical ornament Elizabeth and I decided to make a perfume bottle (an older style).
We used light blue felt, and a light blue permanent marker. We folded a 2x3 inch rectangular piece of light blue felt in half and cut half a perfume bottle shape from it so that it could be opened into a full bottle. Then we added a light blue marker outline and glass-glare. The shaded-outline really makes it "pop"! A silver threaded loop was added to hang it on our Liturgical Tree. 

If you missed the first posts about our ornament crafts -CLICK HERE 

St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us!
God bless.

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Jul 15, 2014

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Craft {Liturgical Ornament}

Elizabeth is hoping to create ornaments at the speed of light! She twisted my arm (she's a strong girl -lol!) and begged me to help her make 5 this morning! Here is the ornament for Our Lady of Mount Carmel's Feast day, July 16 (for the new and traditional calendars). I'll post the others later when I have more time. 
For this ornament, we wanted to make the brown scapular the main focus, and we added a simple image of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts. 

If you missed the first post about our ornament crafts -CLICK HERE 
That post also shows the first three ornaments, too!

To make it we used: dark brown felt, light brown felt, white felt, brown embroidery string, and hot glue. 
We used silver thread to add the string so we could hang it on our liturgical tree.
The hearts were added with permanent sharpie markers: yellow, orange, red, brown, and black. 

It turned out to be so cute! Well, I like miniatures so a tiny scapular is just my style! 

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us!
God bless you all!

See more ideas to celebrate Our Lady of Mt. Carmel - HERE
See all the Liturgical Ornaments - HERE

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Jul 14, 2014

Liturgical Ornaments {Simple and Easy Mini Crafts}

Summer is in full swing and my 10 year old daughter, Elizabeth, has been complaining that she is "bored". Elizabeth is a very creative young lady, but it's her creativity that often feeds her feeling of boredom. If she doesn't have something creative to do she just looks lost and kind-of wonders around. So I decided to give her something to spark her creative juices.
I asked Elizabeth if she wanted to make little ornaments that centered around the liturgical year. We have a "tree" in our house which we decorate throughout the year. The changing decorations include: Saint MedalsMary flowersSt. Valentine Hearts, Catholic SnowflakesLenten Jesus TreeAssumption decorand more! I thought it would be nice if the kids had an ornament to hang on the tree after we talked about the saint of the day. I told Elizabeth that she could use the stuff in my craft box which is over flowing with chenille stems (A.K.A pipe cleaner), pom-poms, felt, sequins, beads, etc.! That was almost too exciting for her to handle! She couldn't wait to begin.
Each of the ornaments that she (and I - if she needs help) will create will have a liturgical centered meaning. Most will be symbols of saints. Here are the first three she and I made. I did help her with these first few. She seemed to need a little help getting her creativity going. Now that she has an idea of what I was asking for, I'm sure she'll be doing most of them on her own. But ether way it's a great mom and daughter bonding time! ;-)
St. Veronica
READ MORE about this ornament...

Sts. Benedict and Scholastica
Read more HERE

St. Kateri Tekakwitha

All the ornaments will be added to this page:

I'll post about our new ornaments as she/we make them.
I'm not sure how often she/we will make one of these ornaments, but I'm hoping for at least 2 a month or even one a week -but no pressure. You can't force creativity! It just has to happen on it's own. 
I'm hoping to get future ornaments posted *before* the saint's feast day, but life is a bit crazy sometimes. (I'm sure that will be especially true once school starts again.) I'll do my best to keep posting! 
God Bless.

What do your bored kids do during summer break?

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St. Kateri Tekakwitha Craft {Liturgical Ornament}

St. Kateri Tekakwitha is a new saint who's feast day is July 14th. Elizabeth had a hard time coming up with a symbol for this beautiful saint. So I helped with the design. 
To create this ornament, we used dark brown felt, off-white felt, a black permanent sharpie marker, thread, small Indian beads, and glue. (We used hot glue, but high quality craft glue will work.) 
Two strips of brown felt formed a cross and two feather shapes with black marker detailing were the decoration on the cross. We glued all the parts together. Then, using thread, we made a few beaded dangles and threaded them onto the feathers.
To give the feathers more of a feather look we cut slits in the sides. Just don't cut all the way through! 
It's just a small tribute to such a wonderful saint!
St. Kateri, pray for us!

Till later,

See all the other Liturgical Ornaments HERE.

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Sts. Benedict and Scholastica Craft {Liturgical Ornaments}

The second ornament Elizabeth and I made was for the feast of St. Benedict, whos feast day is celebrated on July 11 (in the NEW calendar). His traditional feast is March 21.  Scholastica's feast day is celebrated on Feb 10.  These two saints are twins, so we just kept them together. 
This ornament was made with maroon and off-white felt, black and brown permanent sharpie markers, half of a gold pipe cleaner, and a small plastic dove (optional). All the parts were glued together. Hot glue or a good quality craft glue will work. (I prefer the hot glue - it lasts longer and it's quicker.)
The book was decorated with the brown and black markers. Dots were all that was needed to make the "writing" on the book. Marker details add a lot! The dove was a nice touch, but not necessary. The dove is really the symbol for St. Scholastica - not so much St. Benedict. 

See all the other Liturgical ornaments HERE.
God Bless.

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St. Veronica Craft {Liturgical Ornaments}

For our first Liturgical Saint Ornament we created St. Veronica's veil. This was a nice easy one to start with! St. Veronica's feast day is July 12 (That's her historical feast day.)
This ornament was created with only a small piece of off-white felt, black and brown permanent sharpie markers, and a needle & tread to hang it (We used gold thread.). 
Elizabeth created most of this one.

Next we created an ornament for Sts. Benedict and Scholastica 
CLICK HERE to see all ornaments.
God Bless.

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Jul 8, 2014

Music Class without the Big Cost {Free Notebooking Pages}

Some days I feel like my kids are second-class homeschoolers. Almost every other homeschooling family I know is paying to put their kids in some kind of music class.  Weather it's piano, guitar, viola, or flute, they are paying for these super expensive music lessons. Sadly, our family is unable to pay for music lessons for all 9 of our kids. So I signed-up our kids for our parish's children's choir. Unfortunately, since our kids were the only ones to join, the choir soon disbanded.

I was in the choir as a teen and I've been told I'm a good singer, so my husband and I asked our parish priest for a few extra music books like those we had at the church. We started singing Mass songs each evening with the kids. My oldest became quite good at singing a capella  and I've been very pleased with her growing talent - especially since she learned from an amateur vocal teacher (me).

 Singing church music is a great way to teach kids a few basics, but I was looking for another way to teach music that would help them to understand music history, vocabulary, as well as, learn a little about how important music is. Many of the early composers played their music in Catholic Churches and they built the foundation of the music which the Catholic Church uses today. I thought it would be interesting to learn about the lives of these composers.
The Great Musicians Series has a number of books about these early church composers, as well as many other famous composers. I tried one of these book sets out last year. For our first year we choose Bach.

The main book is a story book which tells all about Sebastian Bach. The story is cute and draws you into Bach's world. It tells about his childhood, his family, and his career.
I also bought the companion CD which has samples of his music. These samples are meant to be played during many different parts of the book. The CD not only includes the MP3 music samples, it also includes printable coloring pages and sheet music (not that my kids can use the sheet music!).
The study guide was also a great help. It gave a short synopsis of the reader, discussion questions, a timeline, plus, some other interesting facts.
I used this set it for all my elementary level (grades 2 - 7) kids.  It was an easy read for the older kids and too hard for the youngest, but understandable as a whole.

When I first introduced this book and CD to my kids they were very unhappy with the idea. They seemed to think that it was going to be "boring elevator music", but by the end of the book they were sad it was over. I've seen a change in their attitude about music. It opened their ears to hearing the heart and soul of the sounds that these composers put together. It's even more uplifting when one of the kids gets excited and points to the name of a familiar composer in the Mass music book at church! :-)

Here are a few notebooking pages which I created to accompany this book and the music:

Music Appreciation: Listening to Music
This is a free worksheet which allows kids to write down the background information (e.g.: the composer, type, year composed) of a piece of music which they are listening to. Their is also space for the children to write down their thoughts about the music. It can be used along with the Great Musicians Series or along with ANY music appreciation program.
Note: If we couldn't find a exact date that the piece was written we just wrote the years of the composers life spanned.

Download it in our FREE member's area

Music Vocabulary Worksheets
My kids used this sheet to write down any music related words they didn't understand. Usually, they were unfamiliar words which were in the story about the composer. Once we finished reading the chapter or paragraph we looked them up and wrote down the definition. The kids drew a picture of the idea/item if they could. 

Download it in our FREE member's area

This year I plan to have my kids read about Joseph Haydn and Beethoven.  There are many different composers to choose from:
Sebastian Bach ....... (Reader) (CD) (Study Guide)
Motzart ................... (Reader) (CD) (Study Guide)
Joseph Haydn ......... (Reader) (CD) (Study Guide)
Beethoven ............... (Reader) (CD) (Study Guide)
Franz Schubert .........(Reader) (CD) (Study Guide)
Johannes Brahms ... (Reader) (CD) (Study Guide)
Check out all the other music books by Opal Wheeler : HERE

No, these books are not the same as learning to play an instrument, but they are great books to teach music history. And I plan to use them until the day we can actually afford to pay for guitar or piano lessons. Then, on that day, we can stop searching YouTube for free lessons! :-)  Hey, YouTube is a great resource for free lessons. Just don't expect to get professional results!

How do you teach music to your kids?

Till Later, God Bless,

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Jun 24, 2014

St. Joseph and Home Selling Miracles {Plus, To Bury or not to bury?}

I grew up a farmer's daughter. My family moved onto a 60 acre farm when I was only 3 weeks old (not that I remember). My father was a hard working man who worked 2 full time jobs - as a farmer and an electrician. He needed both jobs so he could afford to put his 5 kids into a Catholic school. That old farm was the only place I lived and loved for the first 14 years of my life. The Gettysburg Civil War era farm house was always in need of repair, but it felt like home. 

When I turned 14 years old my father made a smart, life-changing decision.  He decided to give up farming and to focus on being an electrician and a dad. The only problem was selling the farm. Sadly, selling a farm is never easy. After all, most people are not interested in working a farm, especially a 60 acre farm with over 2,000 turkeys and 30 cows. The realtor said it could be many years before a buyer would show interest. That information was heartbreaking to our family. If you have ever decided to move or sell a house you might understand how upsetting it can be to hear that you may need to wait several years before being able to finally move. 

After hearing the news, we put our trust in St. Joseph. We prayed each night for St. Joseph's intersection. To make our prayers feel more special, my mom placed our 18 inch tall St. Joseph's statue in a prominent spot in the front window of our old house. To the shock of the realtor and us, we sold the farm in less than 3 months! The 60 acre turkey farm was bought by a lovely young couple who were just married. In fact, they are still there today - 23 years later. (Now you have enough information to calculate my age!)

Yes it was a shock and an obvious blessing from God. But what happened next only made this everyday miracle even more interesting. When the big moving day came, lots of relatives (who owned trucks), came to help us move. In all the shuffle of packing boxes and loading trucks, the large St. Joseph statue sitting in the front window was respectfully over-looked and left to be packed till last. 

The caravan of trucks was about to head down the road, so I climbed into the font seat of my dad's truck. As I waited anxiously to get going, my mom handed me the statue. I held St. Joseph on my lap as the parade of trucks drove toward the new house. Around each curve and over each bump I held him and protected him, till we pulled into the driveway of the new house.  My dad opened the truck door and took the statue from me so I could climb out of the truck. Then, he turned around, opened the door to our new house, and walked in holding the statue which was now cradled in his arm. He placed St. Joseph on the kitchen counter - right in the heart of the house. 

The awesomeness of that moment didn't dawn on us till later in the day. It seemed so fitting that the St. Joseph statue was the first item to enter the new house. After all it was St. Joesph, our intercessor in heaven, who helped to make the move possible! Our family has had a deep devotion to St. Joseph since that day. We have had many everyday miracles occur because of his intercession, but his intercession in buying and selling homes has been the most relevant in our everyday lives. My husband and I have bought and sold houses 3 times since we have been married. Each time we prayed to St. Joseph for help, and each time we were totally amazed at how quickly our houses sold.  

If you are selling or planning to sell your home, pray to St. Joseph. He may or may not be able to help (God has a reason for all things), but I'm sure he will help if he can.

About St. Joseph Home Selling Kits 
You may have heard about the St. Joseph home selling kits. Some of those kits bother me. They tell you to bury a St Joseph statue upside-down in the ground till he finds you a buyer. The prayer that accompanies this kit states: "...I am going to place you (St. Joseph) in a difficult position with your head in darkness and you will suffer as our Lord suffered, until this [house/property] is sold..." -- Yikes! I don't know about you all, but that seems very superstitious, strange, and downright disrespectful!

Placing the statue in a place of honor worked perfectly for my parents, as well as, my husband and I. You don't need to bury the statue. St. Joseph - in heaven- will hear your prayer whether or not a statue of him is buried in the ground. After all, the most important part of asking St. Joseph for his intersession is PRAYER!!  But if you feel you should do some thing with a statue, that's okay - after all, it is a physical way of praying and that's good - *but* I recommend creating a special place of honor for the statue (as you would the real saint.). It is a more respectful way of asking for help. 
Once your home sells be sure to hold St. Joseph in a place of honor in your new home, too. Maybe make plans that a statue of him is the first item to enter the new home and plan a special family event to thank this wonderful saint for his help! 

All those who are selling a home, take heart. I'm sure St. Joseph will do his best. So, pray, pray, pray!
May God bless you and all those who live with you in your home. ~Jennifer

Prayers to St. Joseph:
Thirty Days' Prayer to Saint Joseph ~ For any Special Intention
Memorare to St. Joseph & Act of Consecration to St. Joseph
Novena to St. Joseph
Devotion to St. Joseph

Did you have a home selling experience that you'd like to share?
How do you feel about burying a St. Joseph statue?
How has St. Joseph interceded for you?
How do you honor St. Joseph in your home?

Photo Credit: here; here; here and here

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Jun 15, 2014

Sacred and Immaculate Hearts Dessert {Edible Art}

With the hot summer months now upon us in the Northeast, this cool, edible craft is just right for the feasts of the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart. The fun, jiggly jello and the cool, juicy peaches, are a nice mix. My kids enjoyed creating them just as much as eating them! It's a great way to satisfy your child's spiritual and snack needs. 

You will need:
  • 1 box of red Jello - 6 oz box - whatever flavor you like - cherry, strawberry, or punch
  • can of peaches - we used a 29 oz can but that was more than we needed - slice them thin
  • chocolate sprinkles
  • flower sprinkles
  • pretzel sticks - you only need a handful or two
  • heart shaped cookie cutter (if possible)
  • flat, un-slotted spatula/turner (or whatever you call it; the name depends on where you live) 
  • plates to put the jello hearts on - so the kids can decorate them

Make your jello ahead and pour the liquid into two 13x9 inch pans. Chill till it's that fun solid-jiggly texture. Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut hearts into the jello. Use the spatula/turner to gently remove the hearts from the pan and place two hearts side-by-side on a plate. (This is the hardest part.) The key is to gently tap the spatula against the plate as you slide the heart off the spatula.
Now cut the peaches into small, thin slivers. Place them at the top of the heart.
Try to make them flare out so they look like flames. I let my older kids (8 and up) help with this part.
Then all the kids added their own chocolate sprinkles to one of their hearts to create a "crown of thrones" and they added flower sprinkles to the other to make the "crown of flowers".
 They used a whole pretzel stick and a half stick to make a cross on top of the heart with chocolate sprinkles.
All the kids had a fun, jiggly, and giggly time creating these treats!
Although, Caleb thought the best part was eating the jello!

Don't have a heart shaped cookie cutter?
If you don't have a cookie cutter, try smashing up the jello and spoon some onto a plate to form the two hearts. It's not as clean of a look, but my girls liked the "gem" look that these have. I made the ones pictured above with the leftover "scraps" of jello that were around the cookie cutter shapes.
Waste not; want not! :-) 

Till later, God bless.

Don't forget these fun projects:

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Jun 11, 2014

St Peter's Fishing Game {Free Patterns}

Become "fishers of men" anytime or place! (Except in the rain or in the pool - the game is made of cardboard-  it would get soggy! lol!) This cute game is not only fun, it's also a great way to get kids to remember some key ideas of life. This fishing game is an old favorite for my kids! We made several different fishing boxes over the last 10 years and each have been well loved! In the past, we have played this game at our All Saint's Day parties, and it's also been a fun activity on rainy days (in-doors, not outdoors - again soggy!). It's fun for toddlers who are learning the letter "F" and you might like to have this as a fun activity for the kids to play on St. Peter's Feast days! It can be a great surprise! 
This game was made using a cardboard box, which was decorated to look like fish in water. Don't use real water it might get -- ya that's right-- soggy! :-D 

The box we used is 1.5' x 2' x 9''. We painted this box with a medium-blue acrylic paint, but we have also made this in the past using blue construction paper or plain blue wrapping paper. 
Then I used wavy strips of light blue paper to make "watery-waves".  I glued these onto the blue box. Then I added half-circles and  half-ovals of brown paper to the bottom to make the "ground". 
I printed out the fish and seaweed patterns and colored them with marker. 
Download this from the Member's Area.
It's available on the "St. Peter" page.
 Look under the section titled "Saints" on the Members page. 
(Membership is free!)

After cutting out the fish and seaweed I glued them onto the box.
Wide Lines for Easy Coloring and Cutting
All of the fish and seaweed patterns have extra wide black lines for easy cutting. Just freely cut anywhere in the middle of the black area.  The wide lines help give it a clean look! 
Then, print and cut out a few sets of fish to catch.  These are best printed on stock paper, but will work with regular paper. (We used colored stock paper) I have two sets of patterns for these fish. 
One set has virtuous actions and virtues written on them: Share, Be kind, Go to Mass, Pray, etc.
The other pattern has plain fish, so you can write your own ideas on the fish. You can add anything you want the kids to learn. 
Download these from the Member's Area.
It's available on the "St. Peter" page.
 Look under the section titled "Saints" on the Members page. 
(Membership is free!)

After you have written on the fish (if needed). Tape a paper clip to the back.
Then create a fishing rod. We made our's with a piece of bamboo, a string, and a magnet. 
The magnet on the end of the string will "catch" the fish!
Make sure it's a strong enough magnet to attract the paper clip.
How to play:
The younger kids can simply "catch" a fish and someone older can read aloud what the fish has written on it. For older kids: Add two or more sets of fish -so each fish has at least one match. The kids should fish till they found a match to the first fish they caught.

Fishy Art Work
(Use these patterns to make an under water scene.)
When learning the letter "F" with my young kids we also used the fish and seaweed pattern to create a fishy scene! My other art-love'n kids enjoyed making these scenes, too!
Here are a few of the pictures that they made:
Hannah  (Water Colors)
Hope you all enjoy this fun game and art project!
God Bless!

St. Peter, Pray for us!

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Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect. ~Romans 12:2

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