Monday, February 27, 2012

Penance Printable Cupcake Toppers or Stickers

I have two kiddos receiving their First Penance and First Communion this year! (Plus one receiving her Confirmation! It's a busy year!) My 4th and 5th born were blessed to receive First Confesstion this past Saturday! It was a wonderful time! While Joshua (age 9) just went through the ceremony and into the confessional like an old pro, Elizabeth (age 8) needed a lot of sweet talking and hugs to calm her fears, but she came skipping out of the confessional with a grin on her face that just beamed and stretched for one ear to the other!!

So for a special treat I made white cupcakes with white icing to symbolize their clean souls! I added a topper to each cupcake like this:
I just taped a toothpick to the back and stuck one into each cupcake.
Or you could make stickers for those kids who have just made a Reconciliation to wear!!
Stickers for the kids who have received Reconciliation could be nice for any age! Teachers could give them to the kids who choose to go to confession in the time allowed during school! Perhaps his could add a bit of "advertising" to the other kids who choose not to go?!?! ;-)

To read more or for the link to the free printable click here
God Bless!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Lenten Journey for Kids

I posted EGG-straordinary Lenten Rosary Project for your Family - a tutorial for a Lenten activity for families - over at Catholic Sistas. As I was revamping this post from one I did last year, I came across many great additions. While I won't go into the specifics of the Easter Egg Rosary Project here, I will show you the booklet that evolved from it's transformation from a post that was original to Designs by Birgit last year. I simply used links to various ideas for coloring pages, Stations of the Cross carousels, and other ideas and created a Lenten Journey Book for Kids.

My links are here: My Lenten Journey for Kids

Monday, February 20, 2012

Celebrating Lent in the Domestic Church

Advent and Christmas have only just come and gone, but believe it or not Lent is only a few days away! I have been in planning mode since just a bit after Christmas, trying to order my home and make lessons to ensure that the season is really lived and savored. While I do have a few new traditions I hope to add to our family this year, (like the Lenten Book Basket and 40 Bags in 40 Days), here is a look at what helped to make the season memorable for our family last year. My hope is that they will bless you and your family as we approach the penitential season and await the resurrection of the Lord!


Already have plans in mind for the Lenten season? Share how you will Keep a Holy Lent with all of us in the comments!



Holly resides in the Deep South where you are sure to find at least one monkey jumping on the bed. You can find her at Three Sided Wheel, Facebook, and Twitter, where she blogs about home education and creating Catholic culture in the heart of her home.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Artisan bread - only 4 ingredients

The Lord’s Prayer, as taught to us by our Savior, seems simplistic on the surface – yet is profound and multi-faceted in its message. One of the petitioning lines of this prayer has always intrigued me: ‘Give us this day, our daily bread’. Although this sentence of supplication speaks to our daily, physical needs, it has a connotation of so much more. 

Read the complete post and the recipe for Artisan Bread by going to Designs by Birgit

Unschooling and Catholicism - Yes, it's possible! :)

I don't define myself strictly as an unschooler since we've been attempting to use a curriculum lately, but during the earlier days of homeschooling, I didn't realize that we were actually unschooling in a way. Now, for those of you who may be thinking: "Huh? What in the world is UNSCHOOLING?," you may find the links on this page useful.
Image source here. (Disclaimer: The blogger whose site I got this from says she's a "free thinker," so I don't know if she believes in God. Just being clear that I'm not "advocating" free thinker-ism [if there's such a term, LOL]. Of course, God loves ALL people and it's up to Him to make the final judgment.)
Actually, come to think of it, what we've been doing these days could be classified as unschooling too, especially since I still haven't been able to "land" my dream "job" of becoming a fulltime stay-at-home mom. It's been a real struggle for me to plan our lessons and implement them, and most days I end up letting the kids play to their hearts' content, and make up for the seeming "lack of lessons" by reading more books as usual during bedtime. ;-)

In this light though, I am really grateful that I've stumbled upon the Unschooling Catholics blog and have even joined their yahoogroup. (Though right now, I'm more of a silent member, hehe!)

Homeschooling our children is still one of my top priorities now, and I find it really exciting that God is showing me different ways of how my fellow Catholic moms and our fellow Catholic families make it work. ;-) At least I know that there are lots of options out there for us who feel and believe that we are called to homeschool our kids - thank You, Lord! ;-)

So if you're interested to see how unschooling and Catholicism work out for the family's best, try going over to the Unschooling Catholics blog! ;-) They have a list of Catholic unschoolers' blogs on the right sidebar of the blog page, which you may want to explore too. ;-)

Here's to Catholic homeschooling, whatever "form" or "style"! ;-) + AMDG +

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Family ~ A Little Bit of Heaven ~ Art Project!

This is an art project for an individual to create or for a large group to make together:
It's fun and simple!
Perfect for families and groups of school kids!

Here's an example of one on paper:

Here's a bulletin board: 

For the complete instructions and printables visit here.

Monday, February 13, 2012

HAPPY SAINT Valentine's Day!

When Victor (another Catholic Blogger!) from Happy Saints graciously gave me permission to use his awesome saint pictures in a craft, I was so excited!  I just love this company and their adorable saint pictures!

These made an awesome matching game to help my 5 year old learn more about the saints...

...and she's handing out her SAINT Valentine cards tomorrow...what a nice Catholic change from Barbie and Buzz Lightyear!

Check out the whole blog post for HAPPY SAINT Valentine's
at Equipping Catholic Families.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lovable, Capable, Valuable Plate

A special plate I made when our family was just beginning.

A friend shared the idea that although you could buy a "special" plate for birthdays this could be about more.

And so it marks life's celebrations and even life's disappointments with the reminder that in good times and in bad when this plate appears at your place in our family table....

You are loved....You are valued...You are capable.

Allison blogs at Totus Tuus & Catholic Homeschool

Our Lady of Lourdes ~ A Few Crafts and Activities

Our Lady of Lourdes Felt Doll/Statue ~ Craft
Here is another felt doll/statue! It's Our Lady of Lourdes and she's perfect to make and/or display on her feast day- Feb 11th. This doll/statue is a project that will require some assistance from older crafters who can use a hot glue gun to add the gold trim to Mary's veil.  Or if you sew, you could sew it on, too!
For the instructions click here.

Our Lady of Lourdes Chocolate Grotto
I made this for my kids so we could celebrate
 Our Lady of Lourdes feast day (Feb 11).
It's made with a paper picture of Our Lady of Lourdes, a half sheet of black construction paper, a bunch of clothe roses,  and a batch of "No Bake Chocolate Cookies"!  YUM! These were my favorite cookies when I was a child and all of my kids LOVE them, too!  For the instructions and recipe click here.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Free Family Tree for Ordinary Time

Ordinary Time is a great time to launch some family traditions with
family culture-building crafts!
Here's a simple way to get started making a family tree...and it's a free printable!
It's a new mini-Craft Kit, extracted from our Faith Journal
Hand in Hand with Jesus

There are two templates included with instructions. 
"My Roots" offers an opportunity for more info about each family member,
while "The Family Tree" offers a bigger picture of where all the relatives fit!
Download it at Equipping Catholic Families for free!

Host a Card Shower for a Priest!

Our parish priests put forth so much effort for us! They have a life of sacrifice, stress, and heartache with very little appreciation from we parishioners. We need to show these devout men that we are thankful for their sacrifice and living witness. 
Host a Card Shower!
For those who don't know what a card shower is....It's when a large group of people join together to send cards to someone. Each individual should take a few minutes to send a store bought card or a hand-made card to the your parish rectory. Normally, the time frame for this would be over the course of a week or month. 
As the host you simply need to get the word out!!

This is a perfect activity to do during February for Valentines day!!!
After all they don't get a card from a wife!

To learn more or for free printable fliers Click here

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Teaching Reading: What are Sight Words?

I havea little secret, something I haven't written much about but want to start focusing on more.  I love to teach reading and it really comes as second nature to me.  I learned this around 1998-1999 when I was helping a neighborhood kids in the 5th grade.  Tony was reading at a 2nd grade reading level and his teacher and school was threatening to retain him.  Smart boy but had never been properly taught to read as a small child, unfortunately he is one of those quiet good kids that get left behind by teachers when they have too many students to tend to (this was his specific case).  I took him to help him how to read and write better and learned that Tony was VERY proficient in Phonics but not in sight word recognition.  So I started with that with him and viola!  he was reading away real quick!  This led to me going back to school to get a Masters in Reading was so much fun!  I actually miss being in college learning about the art of teaching reading! ;)

This past week I've had a lot of on the road time traveling to see family and I realized that I haven't writtern about that which I love so much!  So I will be posting things about teaching reading in hopes that I can help someone out there that is having trouble or just starting out and could benefit from these posts.

If you are teaching reading to your little one or have a child who is having trouble reading, then it is vital that they become proficient in sight words. Why? Well because sight words are about 87% of all the words that children read in their trade books. Words like "the" "in", "a", "it", and "is" are all part of this very important list.  These words are phonetically irregular words, meaning you cannot use phonics to decode them so they must be learned by sight.  Knowing sight words is one of the basic building blocks when learning how to read and one that should not be ignored.

What happens if the Reading or Phonics program you selected does not include the teaching of sight words?  I suggest that you do it on your own and it is quit simple.  Am I saying that you shouldn't teach Phonics? NO!  Never!  Phonics is important or just as important as teaching sight words.  Many programs fail to intergrate both of these in their reading programs, which is unfortunate but important for homeschooling moms to know.  For the purpose of this post, I'm going to focus on sight words.

There are two lists but most of the words overlap.  Dolch Sight Words and Fry Sight Words are the two lists you can work from.  In the 1940s, Dr. Edward William Dolch created the  list by using 220 phonetically irregular words and 95 common nouns to create his Dolch Sight Word List.  He chose words that were most often used in children’s reading books during the 1920s and 30s.  In the 1990s, Dr. Edward Fry took the Dolch researched list and created 1,000 most frequently used words and he put them in order of frequency.  Children should be repeatedly exposed to these words so that they learn them quickly.  This bolsters their reading self-esteem, which in turn makes them want to read more.  You would be so surprised how your little Joseph or little Mary is going to want to start reading and selecting books at the library!

Each list is arranged by levels of difficulty advancing in it and the levels of infrequency, well at least the Fry list is.  Dr. Dolch created his lists to be mastered by the third grade while Dr. Fry's list is separated by grade levels and goes up to the fifth or sixth grade.  Each list is separated by 100 words so the first 100 words are called pre-premer words and should be learned by kindergarten the next words are learned in increments of 100 but I suggest should only be taught 5-10 at a time until mastered.  Once those 10 are mastered you teach another 5-10 but always exposing them to the previous ones either by games or flash cards and with exposing them to easy reader texts.

Here are the list of words for your use in PDF format:

First Hundred
Second Hundred
Third Hundred
Fourth Hundred
Fifth Hundred

Depending on your child's ability is when you should start.  For example, my six year old son is brilliant in Math but not in reading whereas my five year old daughter is the opposite so she is in kinder and he is in first and this is what we are doing this year:

Trimester 1:  Words 1-150
Trimester 2: Words 151-300
Trimester 3: Words 301-500

Now this is the plan and yes I do have high expectations for them but its because of how they learn and what they can do.  So far so good.  There are several ways to teach sight words.  Here are some examples:

1.  flash cards
2. memory games
3.  practice tracing the words
4.  use tactile things like playdough mats or any multi-sensory way to create the words
5.  create a power point of the words
6.  use the words to create sentences (include vocabulary from either your Science or History lessons).
7.  teach the shape of the word
8.  Sight word games

Repetition is important in learning these words by sight but it can be boring so it is vital that you make this as fun of an experience as possible!  :)