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Ready for the new year?

Michele Quigley has updated her beautiful and FREE, printable 2014 -2015 Liturgical Calendars. They’re available in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms. She even has one that you can color and label yourself. Thanks, Michele!

Litcals

Activities for Holy Week

Chocolate Crown of Thorns
Our family favorite!

Palm Weaving Tutorials
There are 5 to choose from: braid, cone, cross, crown of thorns, and rosebud. Each tutorial contains step by step instructions and visuals and rates the difficulty level for each project.

Illuminated Ink’s Passion Play Cut ‘n Color Kit
Two years ago, I purchased this kit at our Catholic Homeschool Conference. This was a fun project for the whole family and has held up nicely. Kit includes 4 ready to color 3D scenes, detailed instructions, 3 mini booklets, and plastic character stands. Will be setting ours up again on Palm Sunday.

Unleavened Bread
Julie Kelemen’s Lent is for children is a little book that I have had for many years. It has been helpful with my younger children. There is a simple recipe for unleavened bread that we plan to make on Holy Thursday, in observance of the Last Supper.

Ukranian Easter Eggs
The Ukranian Easter Egg Coloring Book is another gem I’ve used for many years. Every Easter we make copies of the egg pages and everyone colors at least one egg. There are 16 different designs to choose from. I display them somewhere in the house. Even the big kids still enjoy this one.

Face to face with Christ
The Shroud of Turin is a fascinating glimpse into the crucifixtion of Christ.

The Passion
One Holy Week tradition we never miss is for the entire family to watch Mel Gibson’s The Passion. We usually watch on Good Friday.

Divine Mercy Novena & JPII Beatification
The Divine Mercy Novena starts on Good Friday and ends Sunday May 1. In 2000 Pope John Paul II declared that the Sunday after Easter would henceforth be known as “Divine Mercy Sunday.” It is fitting that the beatification of Pope John Paul II will take place on Divine Mercy Sunday 2011. Get all the details on the beatification at the Vatican’s official JPII 1/5/2011 site.

For more great Holy Week ideas, head over to Catholic Icing for The Ultimate Guide for Celebrating Holy Week With Kids!

Annunciation: a day to celebrate, not fast

According to a letter from the Office of Sacred Worship to Priests and Deacons of the Archdiocese of St. Louis:

The Office of Worship would just like to remind you that Friday March 25th is the Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord. This day is celebrated as a solemnity, and thus, in accordance with canon 1251 the penitential practice of abstinence is not to be observed on this particular day.

Canon 1251 reads: Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

This is a day meant for celebration and not fasting. We hope you all enjoy this special feast.

A recap of our Feast of St. Joseph

The 2nd Annual St. Joseph Altar blog fest has nine altar links so far. Make a visit — you will be amazed at the creativity that has gone into these family altars. Each one a unique homage to St. Joseph. Linking will remain open till the end of March, so if your family erected an altar this year we want to see it!

The Virtual St. Joseph Altar had over 6000 visitors and 106 offerings. Many general prayer requests and prayers for the dead were submitted. Although the Altar is now closed for offerings, you can still visit,  pray, and learn even more about St. Joseph and the Altar tradition.

I was thrilled to be interviewed twice this year about St. Joseph Altars:

Thanks to all who visited, commented, and spread the word! The long-awaited feast day has come and gone, but we should remember to keep St. Joseph top of mind all year long.

Unfailing Petition

Holy St. Joseph, spouse of Mary,
be mindful of me, pray for me, watch over me.
Guardian of the paradise of the new Adam,
provide for my temporal wants.
Faithful guardian of the most precious of all treasures,
I beseech thee to bring this matter to a happy end,
if it be for the glory of God and the good of my soul.
Amen.

Our 2011 St. Joseph Altar

This post is part of the 2nd Annual St. Joseph Altar Blog Fest. To be included, make a blog post about your St. Joseph Altar, including details and pics, then link it here. Linking has begun and will continue till the end of March. Head over to the Virtual St. Joseph Altar blog for all the details!

As in years past, our upright piano is the base of our Altar. By strategically placing a couple of sturdy boxes, turned upside down, I add a few more levels. One of our school desks is used for the front of the Altar. Here is the base of our Altar before any tablecloths have been added:

altar levels

Here is our finished Altar:

altar

Some details:

altar altar

altar altar

altar altar

altar

Viva San Guiseppe!

Lenten high point approaching!

The penitential season of Lent is well underway. A highlight in our Lenten journey is the March 19 Feast of St. Joseph. Each year, we prepare a small Altar in our dining room. Today, I stole my son’s school table for our Altar, which consists of an upright piano and the school table. Set up has begun.

As with any tradition, our St. Joseph Altar has evolved and gathered life from each member of our family. Everyone gets involved by preparing something for the Altar. Audrey is planning on making a cake. Ida usually makes cookies. The others are still deciding. I’m happy about the feast day falling on a Saturday this year. No conflicts with homeschool, co-op, or dance classes.

St. Joseph is our good friend. He has answered our prayers many times and we are confident that he will continue to do so. Viva San Giuseppe!

Helpful St. Joseph Altar links:

Virtual St. Joseph Altar
Virtual St. Joseph Altar blog

2nd Annual St. Joseph Altar Blog Fest

1st Annual St. Joseph Altar Blog Fest

Lovely Blogs

I just discovered this morning that I’ve been listed by Raising (& Teaching) Little Saints as a Lovely Blog! The blog has several contributors, so thank you to Erika, Christina, and Kristy.

Check out their lovely blog which focuses on homeschooling and the liturgical year, and don’t miss their Lovely Blogs list. I am in very good company!

Our Lady of Guadalupe thanks you!

A big thank you to everyone who joined in the 2010 O+L+G Feast Day Link Up. What an amazing collection of posts — 23 of them in all!  So many wonderful ideas and lovely stories, Our Lady must have been overjoyed.

For easy future access, I have placed a permanent link to the Link Up in the Advent section of my Liturgical Year page.

Enjoy, and make the most of, what is left of this Advent season!

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe!

I encourage you to visit the O+L+G Feast Day Link Up. So far, there are 14 wonderful and creative entries. I love these link ups! It’s an overload of wonderful ideas to pick and choose from. I have also updated the post with some pics of our own preparations.

¡Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!

O+L+G Feast Day Link Up

Welcome to the 2010 O+L+G feast-day link up!

I am looking forward to seeing what everyone has planned for this special feast day. Share with us your crafts, recipes, favorite books, prayers, or reflections on Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Use the linky tool at the bottom of this post to add your post to the link up. Linking will continue through December 15. This will allow us to share some ideas before the Feast Day and then report on our celebrations after.

Here is our “Guadalupe” story. Originally posted a couple of years ago, it explains our personal connection to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

rose

O+L+GThe first year we were married, way back in 1986, my Mom gave us a beautiful wooden carved statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She is very special to us and has always held a very special place in our home. In 2002 we discovered how special we are to her.

After months of unemployment it was getting harder and harder for this family of eight to make ends meet. My husband lost his job right after 9-11 and things were bad all over. But, every month something would come through. An unexpected freelance job, or a gift from a friend or relative would get us through one more month. But how long could this go on?

One day in the summer of 2002, my husband was in the front of our house checking the mail and a lady pulled into our driveway. I’ll have to explain a few things. We live on a fairly busy street and never hang out in front, and our driveway is very large and folks are always using it to turn around. We also have a metal sign covering our mailbox on the curb and we post messages on it using magnetic letters. Our sign is well known and folks are always amazed when they meet us and find out we live in the house with the mailbox sign. My husband watches as the lady gets out of her car. “What does she want?” he wonders.

She introduces herself and begins to comment on how she always reads the sign when she passes by. After some chit chat she launches into the real reason for stopping. One rainy day, exactly one month previous, she was passing our house. There was a bit of traffic and cars were moving slowly. She glanced at our house and saw a very large, two-story, image of Our Lady of Guadalupe right in front of our house, tucked in between two very large fir trees. She kept going and thought, “Wow, they have a really big banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe!” She was on her way to adoration and couldn’t stop thinking about the “banner.” That evening, on her way home, she again passed our house. No, there was no banner.

Now, she can’t stop thinking about this vision. What was Our Lady trying to tell her? One evening she goes to a prayer group and tells the others what she saw. After some discussion, someone in the prayer group told her, “I don’t think she appeared for you, but for them, the people in that house.” She immediately knew it was true. But how would she tell them?

So, exactly one month after seeing Our Lady of Guadalupe, she was passing by our house and there was my husband. I wasn’t home, so they exchanged phone numbers. When I got home, he began to tell me the story. “She didn’t seem like a nut,” he said. The phone rang, it was her. She went through the entire story with me. Goosebumps, awe, wonder. I cried. Our prayers were being heard. Our Lady of Guadalupe was taking care of us.

The lady was manager at a nearby restaurant/bakery where each night, bags of bread are thrown away. She began bringing us these large bags of bread. We kept a lot of it and passed on what we didn’t need to other homeschool families. Homeschoolers are a hungry bunch. Even when the dad is employed, a big bag of bread is greatly appreciated. The bread exchange went on for years and helped us get through some very slim times.

We pray with confidence: Our Lady of Guadalupe, continue to watch over us.

roseOur celebrations plans:

We will have finished our novena Saturday evening. Since our celebrations always revolve around food, I’m planning to make a giant batch of hot tamales. I’ll be using a recipe for Manuel’s Hot Tamales from Cooking Up a Storm, one of my favorite New Orleans cookbooks. There will be a dessert of some kind — I’m waiting for some ideas, hint, hint! There will be a Guadalupe craft and lots of Guadalupe decorating. You’ll just have to wait for the pics!

rose

Favorite O+L+G links:

  • Truths of the Image is a beautiful site by the Knights of Columbus. Be sure to click through to the “Guadalupe Story,” an artistically presented historical timeline of everything relating to the apparition and the tilma.
  • Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse, Wisconsin is open for virtual visits.
  • Secrets of the Image is the corresponding website for the book Our Lady of Guadalupe — Mother of the Civilization of Love by Carl Anderson and Eduardo Chavez. Read my  review of this wonderful book.
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe: Protectress of the Unborn by Father Paul Marx, Founder of Human Life International.
  • Paper Dali has the complete Guadalupan cast of characters in paper dolls. These paper dolls are so much fun!
  • Sancta, devoted to the Patroness of the Americas, has images to download, special prayers, and a nice page on the life of St. Juan Diego.
  • Women for Faith & Family has several prayers to Our Lady of Guadalupe and celebration ideas for the family.
  • Send a special Guadalupe e-card.

rose

Who likes to color?

  • Start with the original. Download and print free high res copies of the original image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
  • Paper Dali’s Guadalupan cast makes for excellent coloring pages as well as paper dolls.
  • Waltzing Matilda has a beautiful OLG coloring page.
  • Catholic Heritage Curricula has a free how-to-draw printable activity using Our Lady of Guadalupe.
  • Loyola Press has another free printable coloring page of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
  • This bold decal also makes a very nice coloring page.

Don’t forget to check back for updates and be sure to visit all the participating blogs!

rose

Feast Day Update:

We began our Feast Day celebration last night with a Mexican dinner celebrating Isabel’s 18th birthday. Tamales and a black bean and corn casserole were followed by birthday cake and cheescake. The tamales were delicious, the casserole was okay.

Here is the tamale recipe. I substituted ground turkey for the ground beef.

Hot Tamales

Sauce:

  • 1 (8ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 tspn ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • salt
  • pepper


Tamales:

  • 1 tspns garlic powder
  • 2 tspns cayenne
  • 1/2 tspn black pepper
  • 4 tspns salt
  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • 1 (8ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 4 medium onions
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tspm ground cumin
  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 100 tamale papers


For the sauce: Combine tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the tamales: Combine everything except meat and cornmeal in a food processor till onions are chopped fine. In a large mixing bowl, combine tomato/spice mixture with meat. Mix well by hand.

Spread cornmeal in a shallow dish. Soak tamale papers in large bowl of water.

Roll about 1 tablespoon of meat mixture into oblong shape, then roll it in the cornmeal, and wrap in tamale paper. Very similar to rolling grape leaves. Continue till all meat is rolled.

Stack tamales in large pot. I used 2 pots. Cover with water and pour your prepared sauce over the tamales. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. Add water as needed to keep tamales covered.

This fed 8 people with about half the tamales left over. Enjoy!

Here’s a glimpse at our dining table set up for the feast day. The rose colored banner hangs in our entry way always.

table banner

I rescued this quite large statue from, of all places, Wal-Mart! She also is always in our entryway. For this special day she is arrounded by poinsettias and some poinsettia christmas lights. She will stay this way throught the Christmas season.

olg


Celebrate!

As Catholic homeschoolers it’s our responsibility to teach the faith to our children. There’s no better way than by celebrating the liturgical year of the Church. This Advent week was full of wonderful feast days: St. Nicholas; The Immaculate Conception; St. Juan Diego; and on Sunday, Our Lady of Guadalupe. For this week’s Helpful Homeschool Hints I am sharing all the wonderful posts that are participating in my O+L+G Feast Day Link Up. You’ll find everything Guadalupe! Coloring pages, recipes, crafts, inspirational stories, prayers, reading recommendations, and more. And, if you get the urge, join in, link up, and celebrate!

hhhHelpful Homeschool Hints is a place to share great homeschooling tips, ideas, projects, or even just how to stay sane when things get busy. So, hop over to Many Little Blessings, host of this weekly link up, to join in the fun and see all the other great posts for this week!

Pleasing to the Lord

It’s a feast-filled week of Advent!

Thanks to Jen at Family in Feast and Feria, here is a lovely coloring page of the Miraculous Medal.

Prayer to Our Lady Immaculate

Most holy Virgin, who wast pleasing to the Lord and became His Mother, immaculate in body and spirit, in faith and in love, look kindly on the wretched who implore thy powerful patronage. The wicked serpent, against whom was hurled the first curse, continues fiercely to attack and ensnare the unhappy children of Eve. Do thou, then, O Blessed Mother, our queen and advocate, who from the first instant of thy conception didst crush the head of the enemy, receive the prayers which, united with thee in our single heart, we implore thee to present at the throne of God, that we may never fall into the snares which are laid out for us, and may all arrive at the port of salvation; and, in so many dangers, may the Church and Christian society sing once again the hymn of deliverance and of victory and of peace. Amen.

In Thy conception, O Virgin Mary, thou wast immaculate; pray for us to the Father, Whose Son, Jesus Christ conceived of the Holy Ghost, thou didst bring forth.

– from Blessed Be God, Complete Catholic Prayerbook

Join the fiesta for Bl. Miguel Pro

bl miguel pro link-upMy good friend, Vee, of Paper Dali fame, is hosting a Bl. Miguel feast day link-up. The party, or shall we say fiesta, begins on November 23. Linking will actually begin on November 19, so we can plan our feast day celebrations. I don’t know much at all about Blessed Miguel Pro, so I am going to use this as an opportunity to get to know him.

Get all the details at Paper Dali!

Our All Saints pennant banner

saint pennant banner

saint pennant banner

This is a slight twist on our paper-saint parade from last year.

Last week, when I was printing my saints from Paper Dali, there were some technical difficulties with the downloads. So, not having any patience to wait for the problem to be solved, I did what Vee tells everyone not to do. I simply printed the jpgs from within her posts. This gave me smaller saints, but I had an idea!

I trimmed each saint sheet and gave them to my kids to color them. Then I stapled the colored saints onto a long ribbon. The result is something like gas station pennants! A good idea for next time would be to print on a light colored paper, instead of plain white.

Our finished saints pennant banner is now hanging on the fireplace mantle. Enjoy, and Happy All Saints Day!

saint pennant banner

Special thanks to Vee for all her wonderful paper dalis!

All Saints Day Link Up Party

There’s a new blog event in the sidebar today. Lacy, over at Catholic Icing, decided to have a spur-of-the-moment All Saints Day Link Up Party. What a great idea!

Head to Catholic Icing and link your All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day ideas, including costumes, games, decorations, party ideas, food, celebration ideas, and more.

Here are three of my posts from previous years. Enjoy!

saints parade

Our 2009 All Saints' Day paper-saint parade