Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lenten Season


The Lenten season is about to begin and although I am still behind on where I would like to be in my preparations...we are still so excited about it! The past few years we have tried out a few new traditions and our activities will include...

Lenten Calendar
Inspired by Shower of Roses
 
Burying the Alleluia
Sacrifice Beans
Give Alms Box
Operation Rice Bowl
Personal Lenten Sacrifices
Family Stations of the Cross on Fridays
Family Rosary

My biggest goal today is to have everything ready before I take my children to Mass this evening. What kind of activities do you with your families for lent? I love the small simple things that make this time of prayer and contemplation so meaningful. This year has been full of new beginnings for us as a family and I really want to feel the deep cleansing of my soul during this lent. We do have many extracurricular activities going on right now including Little Man's first season of Little League, I returned to school and we are still working on potty training for Squishy. Are there special activities you complete during the Lenten Season? I have done some fun Holy Week activities but I would like to incorporate some pretzel baking, visit a nursing home and maybe a few other ideas I am tossing around.

To start of Lenten Journey today...
  • Attend Mass after school.
  • Give the boys their Lenten folders that will include a small Lenten calendar on the front and include the printables from the Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure
  • We will "bury" our Alleluia banner today
  • Place a canned good in our Alms Giving Box
  • Enjoy a Lenten meal (still deciding between Three Bean Soup or shrimp)
  • Family Prayer time to include our Rosary and Lenten Devotions
I am so lucky that we don't have any extra curricular activities today so that I can enjoy the quietness of this Ash Wednesday with my family.

Please keep my family in your Lenten prayers that we can be diligent in our efforts to increase our Praying, fasting and alms giving.

Have a Blessed Ash Wednesday!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Saint Blaise and Start your Novena!

Today is the Feast of Saint Blaise!It was a short feast for us today. We celebrated with delicious taquitos for dinner! Taquitos look like candles right? We needed something quick and easy for our Monday night. I am working on some reorganization in our home and it has been a real slow work in progress. We are going to extend our Saint Blaise and Candlemas celebrations into tomorrow with coloring pages and creating some Liturgical Binders for Little Man and Squishy. Come check out my blog for some updates in the next couple of days!

Saint Blaise, pray for us!

I will also start planning our Lenten activities so we can be prepared in March. 
I have a special devotion to Saint Bernadette, She was my Confirmation Saint, and in conjunction I have a deep devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes. Tonight would be a perfect night to start your Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes, whose feast day is February 11th! I have written out the Novena below:

NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF LOURDES

DAY ONE
O Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, virgin and mother, queen of heaven, chosen from all eternity to be the Mother of the Eternal Word and in virtue of this title preserved from original sin, we kneel before you as did little Bernadette at Lourdes and pray with childlike trust in you that as we contemplate your glorious appearance at Lourdes, you will look with mercy on our present petition and secure for us a favorable answer to the request for which we are making this novena.

(make your request)
O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette, pray for us.


DAY TWO
Be blessed, O most pure Virgin, for having vouchsafed to manifest yourself shining with light, sweetness and beauty, in the Grotto of Lourdes, saying to the child Saint Bernadette: "I am the Immaculate Conception!" O Mary Immaculate, inflame our hearts with one ray of the burning love of your pure heart Let them be consumed with love for Jesus and for you, in order that we may merit one day to enjoy your glorious eternity. O dispenser of His graces here below, take into your keeping and present to your Divine Son the petition for which we are making this novena.

(make your request)
O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your  assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette, pray for us.
DAY THREE
"You are all fair, O Mary, and there is in you no stain of original sin." O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. O brilliant star of sanctity, as on that lovely day, upon a rough rock in Lourdes you spoke to the child Bernadette and a fountain broke from the plain earth and miracles happened and the great shrine of Lourdes began, so now I beseech you to hear our fervent prayer and do, we beseech you, grant us the petition we now so earnestly seek.
(make your request)
O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious  in your assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette, pray for us.


DAY FOUR
O Immaculate Queen of Heaven, we your wayward, erring children, join our unworthy prayers of praise and thanksgiving to those of the angels and saints and your own-the One, Holy, and Undivided Trinity may be glorified in heaven and on earth. Our Lady of Lourdes, as you looked down with love and mercy upon Bernadette as she prayed her rosary in the grotto, look down now, we beseech you, with love and mercy upon us. From the abundance of graces granted you by your Divine Son, sweet Mother of God, give to each of us all that your motherly heart sees we need and at this moment look with special favor on the grace we seek in this novena.
(make your request)
O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your  assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette, pray for us.
DAY FIVE
O Mary Immaculate, Mother of God and our mother, from the heights of your dignity look down mercifully upon us while we, full of confidence in your unbounded goodness and confident that your Divine Son will look favorably upon any request you make of Him in our behalf, we beseech you to come to our aid and secure for us the favor we seek in this novena.
(make your request)
O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your  assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette, pray for us.


DAY SIX
O glorious Mother of God, so powerful under your special title of Our Lady of Lourdes, to you we raise our hearts and hands to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the gracious Heart of Jesus all the helps and graces necessary for our spiritual and temporal welfare a
nd for the special favor we so earnestly seek in this novena.
(make your request)
O Lady of Bernadette, with the stars of heaven in your hair and the roses of earth at your feet, look with compassion upon us today as you did so long ago on Bernadette in the Grotto of Lourdes.
O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious  in your assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette, pray for us.
 
DAY SEVEN
O Almighty God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary did prepare a worthy dwelling place for your Son, we humbly beseech you that as we contemplate the apparition of Our Lady in the Grotto of Lourdes, we may be blessed with health of mind and body.  O most gracious Mother Mary, beloved Mother of Our Lord and Redeemer, look with favor upon us as you did that day on Bernadette and intercede with him for us that the favor we now so earnestly seek may be granted to us.
(make your request)
O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your  assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette, pray for us.


DAY EIGHT
O Immaculate Mother of God, from heaven itself you came to appear to the little Bernadette in the rough Grotto of Lourdes! And as Bernadette knelt at your feet and the miraculous  spring burst forth and as multitudes have knelt ever since before your shrine, O Mother of God, we kneel before you today to ask that in your mercy you plead with your Divine Son to grant the special favor we seek in this novena.
(make your request)
O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette, pray for us.


DAY NINE
  O glorious Mother of God, to you we raise our hearts and hands to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the benign Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for our spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly for the grace of a happy death. O Mother of our Divine Lord, as we conclude this novena for the special favor we seek at this time.
(make your request)
 
We feel animated with confidence that your prayers in our behalf will be graciously heard. O Mother of My Lord, through the love you bear to Jesus Christ and for the glory of His Name, hear our prayers and obtain our petitions.
O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your  assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette, pray for us.



Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Feast of Saint Brigid of Ireland


Today is the Feast of Saint Brigid! Yesterday was the Feast of John Bosco too but we were unable to do more than a coloring page and read a few stories in his honor.

As a side note, I would really like to watch Saint John Bosco: Mission to Love and Don Bosco! I have heard amazing things about these movies but have not been lucky to find somewhere to rent them.

On the Eve of Saint Brigid (Saint John Bosco's Feast Day) there is a tradition in Ireland to tie a piece of cloth and leave a piece of oaten bread in the shape of a cross outside for Saint Brigid. The story says that Brigid will bless the cloth (becoming Brigid's Mantle) and her red eared cow will enjoy the bread during their journey. I really wanted to start this special tradition but had to work with the materials I had available for the cloth outside I used leftover red ribbon. I tied it to the mailbox. We also did not have the ingredients to make oaten bread so I used one of the extra not iced cupcakes from our Baptism Anniversary and drew a cross on top and placed it on the porch.

In the morning, Little Man checked the front yard after I woke up to check and see if Saint Brigid had come with her cow. It was so cute, Squishy ran after him and said "WOW! Mommy, where'd it go?!" The cupcake was gone and the ribbon had been untied and placed in our mailbox. I was surprised myself but I know this will have to become a regular custom on the Eve of Saint Brigid. Next year I'd like to bake some oaten bread!

Today we also went Goofy golfing with some great friends! Squishy did such a good job following the rules and taking turns! After two rounds of golf we ended our visit with Root beer floats and headed home to make our Saint Brigid Crosses and color our coloring pages.

At some point, I would like to make Saint Brigid's crosses to pass out at a Nursing home or at the Hospital too. Saint Brigid had such love for the poor and elderly and I think would make the boys smile to see how an act of kindness can help someone, even someone they don't know. This year was my first time trying to make a Saint Brigid Cross and it was much simpler than I thought. At the top is a picture of the cross I made for my house and the one below is a picture of the one Little Man made. The pipe cleaners we used made the construction a little easier but Squishy did not have the patience to build one and fell asleep on the couch for his afternoon nap while Little Man and I worked. While we were crafting, I found the cutest youtube video with a retelling of Brigid's Cloak. I tried to find a copy at our local library but they did not have a copy so I will be purchasing it soon.

After we completed our crosses we blessed them with holy water and prayed Saint Brigid's Blessing. I still have not had the time to go grocery shopping since the bad weather so I will have to try some of the traditional Irish recipes I found another time.


 
May Brigid bless the house wherein you dwell
Bless every fireside every wall and door
Bless every heart that beats beneath its roof
Bless every hand that toils to bring it joy
Bless every foot that walks its portals through
May Brigid bless the house that shelters you.
Amen.
 
Saint Brigid, pray for us!


Little Man and Squishy's Baptism Anniversary!


January 29th is Little Man and Squishy's Baptism Anniversary!
 
We of course had to celebrate! The day my kids were baptized was one of the happiest moments of my life.

I was disappointed it took so long to get Little Man this special Sacrament but its so nice that Little Man can remember his special day just like me. It became a blessing in disguise. Father John did an amazing job explaining what was happening during the baptism to Little Man. He asked him questions and told him he was old enough to respond. There is nothing sweeter than hearing your child's sweet little voice say "Yes, I believe God!"

The picture to the left is Father John lighting Little Man and Squishy's baptism candles for the first time. I keep their candles in the boxes until their special day comes around. I take them out and display them all day and we light them for the beginning of our dinner. The boys always want me to keep them lit but I would like the candles to last for a long time.

January 29th was the second snow day that we endured and as I'm sure you guessed, changed our celebration slightly. All the roads were closed because they were iced over and we do not have salt trucks around here to help out so we were all battling cabin fever. I would have loved to have bought some picture frames and pulled out some shells to glue to the outside of the frame to display pictures from the baptism. Instead we looked at pictures on Facebook. Thank God we were blessed with power during our winter storm so we were able to access the Internet and our family.





For dinner I made ricotta stuffed shells covered in a spinach mushroom alfredo sauce and covered with Italian cheese. I loved the symbolism with the shells. Their are small shells carved into the baptism candles too. I also had leftover spinach dip from a get together we had earlier in the week that needed to be eaten as well. It was delicious!! Everyone in our home loves the everything Italian loaf as a side too. Mr. Eric made his famous garlic butter and broiled some Italian cheese on the top for everyone. For all the super special celebrations we have sparkling juice! Little Man and Squishy love drinking from their wine glasses  plastic flutes. They are so cute tapping their glasses together to "cheers"!
 


 
For dessert we made white cupcakes for the cleanness that is restored with the waters our of baptism and blue vanilla frosting to symbolize the water used to baptize us in God's name. We topped the cupcakes with blue sugar crystals because what is a celebration without sprinkles?!


Are there traditions to celebrate baptisms? I would love to hear your traditions or suggestions too! 

Our Feast on Saint Thomas Aquinas

So this post is late... sorry. I am just starting to get back into blogging. I am sure you have noticed my time away from the computer.

I am starting a Liturgical notebook in order to keep a better paper trail for myself as a planning guide for the future. Please forgive me for the lack of pictures too. The boys and I were experiencing some extreme cold weather. I don't know how it happened but I took a couple pictures and my phone created this neat "video" that looks like snow. Its really only sleet but I still like the video. We live in Florida and below freezing temperatures are not a regular occurrence. Neither are icicles, sleet, snow days and frost covering the ground making our yard look like a winter wonderland.


As I have stated before most of the time my Feast Day plans do not go as planned. On our Feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas was no different. The boys colored their coloring pages and were completely distracted from the ice outside our home. Sadly there was no star shaped cookies or quiet reading time to learn. I also was unable to buy a Saint Thomas statue to add to our homework table because every store was closing early. Little Man has had some frustration during homework time and I thought adding a statue to pray and ask Saint Thomas for homework help would ease some tensions we have during our homework time.

I also want to make some worksheets with some of Saint Thomas's quotes to help with handwriting.
Some of my favorite quotes are...

"Faith has to do with things that are not seen and hope with things that are not at hand."

"Love takes up where knowledge leaves off."

"The things that we love tell us what we are."

We ended our evening watching Rise of the Guardians, a request from Little Man. He was completely sure Jack Frost was hiding in our yard. I just love the innocence of children and the unending limits to their faith. How did you feast day plans go? and how do you keep your plans? I would love some suggestions!

Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Feast of Saint Dominic



Plans for today were rearranged completely since I wrote out a short summary a post or two ago. So far this week both boys have been to the doctor and one has gone to the Emergency Room! Squishy has an ear infection and Little Man has an infection in his gland in his throat. As you can imagine this has obviously created an exciting week of driving to and from summer camp and daycare to doctor to hospital and then to the pharmacy. I have to say my little guys are so resilient, they are both still running around like there is nothing wrong with them :o)


Before I go into detail about our special celebration today I just had to share some adorable pictures of Little Man from today's football practice. It was the first practice the kids have had in full uniforms and they all look so adorable in their little uniforms and football gear! As you can see Little Man was exhausted from such a long practice but he said he really likes his cool practice uniform. While I was trying to entertain Squishy and take pictures during practice I apparently took a video as well?? I have no idea... I guess my phone has a mind of its own at times but I somehow captured Little Man's first tackle attempt. After practice I was told Little Man has a lot of potential and listens well so maybe this will be one of the sports he pursues as he matures in his athleticism.


I love seeing both of my kids blossoming as they grow. I feel so blessed to be their mom. I am hoping we can see a high school or college football game this coming season. Little Man always asks to go watch the "professionals" play. We are big Florida Gator fans! We watch the Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs as well :o)

Getting back on topic... I was able to throw together a nice but simple celebration in honor of Saint Dominic today! I ended up throwing together a couple turkey sandwiches and imprinted them with stars to serve along our chicken and stars soup. I served dinner with some Saint Dominic's Orange Punch, which was the highlight of the meal! I put 2 scoops of Orange flavored sherbet in some glasses and topped it with some ginger ale. I love that the boys were so excited about the bubbly drink. To end our small celebration we had smores! One day I am going to try a flaming dessert but I think the boys my be too little to fully appreciate it and actually may be more afraid than excited, if they saw their food on fire. Plus with all the doctors visits we have had this week I was not willing to try my luck that everyone would keep their little fingers away. 

During dinner I talked to the boys about some cool facts about Saint Dominic. We discussed how he is the patron saint of astronomy (thus all the star symbols in our dinner), his special connection to oranges and the dream that Saint Dominic's mother had about him while she was pregnant. He was a dog carrying a torch and he lit the world on fire. 

We also we unable to do any star gazing or glow in the dark bubbles. After the kids ate and took their baths they literally passed out on the couch together. They are snuggling each other as I sit here typing. I think we will try to move our outdoor activities to tomorrow night.

As promised, I wanted to share my special story about Saint Dominic (Little Man still doesn't know this). When I was pregnant with Little Man, I had planned on giving him a different name than the one he has. One night I had a dream that I was sitting in a church and I was alone in this gorgeous room full of beautiful stained glass. I can see in the middle of this room there is a book lying on the middle of the ground. I hear someone whisper, "Read it". I pick up the book and there was tons of writing but I can only remember seeing the word DOMINIC. All of a sudden the stained glass shatters and I am awaken from my dream. I remember calling my dad the next day and telling him this story and how it touched me. I remember him laughing on the phone and saying he remembers having a dream about having a little girl named Jessica and him telling my mom about it. It is so funny how God's plan is so intricately designed and how it is perfect no matter how much we try to deviate from it. I know that God was talking to me in my dream, just like I think my dad feels the same way about his. And here we are :o) I later learned about the dream that Saint Dominic's mom had about him.

Saint Dominic, pray for us!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Football and Stargazing


Wow! Where has this summer gone?! I have to admit that I love the summer heat and everything that goes along with it. It seems like the school year just ended and we started soccer and summer camp for Little Man.

Well...Soccer officially ended two weeks ago and this is the last week of summer camp. We did end soccer on a great note! Little Man received the award for being "The most Christ-like Player" during the last game because he helped a player from the opposing team up after they fell chasing down the soccer ball. His face lit up when he found out he was being bestowed with such a great honor. In recognition of his achievement, he received a red wrist band that says "Represent". Little Man wore that wristband everyday until it was lost in the abyss that has become his room. I am hoping we can find it because it meant so much to him. We will definitely be having a serious cleaning session very shortly to prepare for the upcoming school year. I am hoping to have clothes and toys to donate to our churches thrift shop.

Approaching the fall, we are entering into a whole new world of exciting life changing milestones. For Little Man, football tryouts just ended and we will be finding out more information about his team and the upcoming season tomorrow! Not only that, but he will be starting the 1st grade at a new school, and starting his Catechism for his first Reconciliation! I am so excited for him and to see how he is going to tackle these exciting new adventures in his life.

For Squishy, which may need a new nickname soon, will be moved up into the next class in daycare and we will aggressively start potty training. I can not believe my baby is becoming a big boy already. I received notice of his transition upward this past week and it nearly brought me to tears. I am so proud of both of my boys but I wish they could stay little forever. If you don't mind could you say a small prayer for squishy too.. he is having a hard time with his molars coming in and his congestion has been flaring up even with his nebulizer treatments.
 
Even with all these new and exciting developments for the boys, I am excited to say that I will be finishing my degree and starting classes this month as well! If you think we couldn't add anymore changes and attempting new things this month you were wrong... Eric has accepted a management position and will be starting management training right around the time the new school year starts.
 
God is showering us with so many blessings and our hearts are so full of happiness and appreciation! I have to admit I am a little nervous trying to figure out how we are going to manage all these new schedules changes and additions but God never gives you more than we can handle so I am stepping aside and allowing him to lead the way.

I touched on football a little but I am really excited about star gazing this week! The Feast of Saint Dominic, which is Little Man's Baptismal patron saint, and the Feast of Saint Lawrence are fast approaching! In honor of Saint Dominic I want to throw together a Star gazing party for the boys. Saint Dominic is the patron saint of astronomers. The story is that Saint Dominic's grandmother saw a radiant light that came from Saint Dominic's forehead during his baptism and he had a great love for learning. I think it would be fun to make star headbands for everyone to decorate and wear as we star gaze together in the backyard. Another fun fact about Saint Dominic is that he has an association with orange trees because it is said that he planted an orange tree at the Convent of Saint Sabina in Rome. I was thinking about having either star shaped sandwiches with chicken and stars soup or possible a star shaped pasta dish served with an orange sherbet punch in honor of this amazing saint. I would love some suggestions if anyone has some to give! At the Catholic Culture website they suggest making Cherries Jubilee in honor of the dream Saint Dominic's mother had of a dog holding a torch that lit the world on fire. I actually have my own dream that I had many years ago that has made me have such a strong devotion to this saint but you will have to wait until August 8th! Coincidentally, I was researching some ideas for the Feast of Saint Lawrence and I feel it really is only necessary to have a barbecue in his honor. We will either have cheeseburgers, hot dogs or some sort of kabob.... like I said I am still in the planning stages. In addition to a barbecue, I found that it is a tradition to wish pray upon a star and invoke Saint Lawrence to pray along with you. I think it is pretty awesome that the next two feasts we are celebrating both incorporate the stars. It will be a nice way to help bring our busy summer to s relaxing close.

So that sums it up! I would love some input on anything anyone has to offer as we start down the new path God has brought my family to travel. Thank you for your continued prayers and God Bless!