Friday, February 27, 2015

Our Lenten Countdown and Log!!

For our Lenten countdown this year we created this lovely painted countdown
I had seen this a few years ago on The lovely Charming The Birds from the Trees and always wanted to have this beautiful and colourful countdown,
Lacking in artistic talent I asked our talented son Rogan to actually do the painting which I think he did admirably.
I made the little  butterfly to use as a marker. I added a little  blue tack to the back to stick on the actual countdown that we move along each day.
Our Lenten Log also made it's way to the table and we light a candle each night with a new Prayer for each new Sunday and the subsequent prayers for each particular, weekday. We use the Let's Say Grace book for many particular feast days.

So how do you use count down's in your Lenten preparations?

Blessings to you and your homes,

Feast Of Our Lady of Lourdes 2015

Oh my, it seems there are so many feast days to celebrate at the moment -it really is hard to keep up.
Although now we have entered the Lenten season we certainly will not have the same  opportunities for more lively celebrations till Easter.
As I really want to record it here for us I will just say we have celebrated in the same way we have before, typically Food, colouring pages and reading of the books.

Our favourites for this year were  the giant rosary made from cookies and royals and the Grotto that we love making every year.
We did make this cake  Tres Leches (Milk Cake) which was supposed to be fantastic and it was symbolically white, but  really it did not come anywhere near our Pound Cake recipe that we love.

So to end off for this post I just want to say that I really love making these Feast Days with our children and pray that they learn from these events and that the memories will be special in years to come.

Blessings to you and your homes,

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday

Oh my , Oh my!!!
A week already since we started our season of Lent and here I am just typing this up.
Oh well such is my life these days.
Our preparations for lent usually start the day before Shrove Tuesday/Fat Tuesday in what we call Madi Gras
This year we did not actually have any celebrations for Madi Gras that we participated in like we have in the past {last years post......still partially complete in drafts :) ,}  however we did get a list  prepared of what we needed to cover for Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday.
First off is always the 'Hiding of the Allelua' and reminders to the children that we do not say this again in the Mass or at home until the Easter Vigil,
A little reminder about not tricking younger siblings  or other people into saying 'the forbidden word' is reiterated too.
Traditional food for us is pancakes and bacon and eggs.
This year we also added a Trim Healthy Mama desert for those of us who are eating this way too.
Yummy chocolate Strawberry Trifle.
Next up is the making of our Crown of Thorns for those sacrifices and extra prayers we do during Lent to draw us closer to Christ.
This is usually an activity for at least one of our little ones as they love putting in the 'thorns' just prior to baking.
Of course we tend to have a large number of 'thorn pulling' activities in the next few days as the excitement of this activity takes place.
Ash Wednesday begins with Fasting and Abstinence from meat as we start the Lenten season. It is especially poignant after the celebrations of the day before in which we indulge in lots of food and excitable celebrations.

 Each year we try to burn our Palm Crosses from previous years. This does not always happen but we managed to complete this again this year.
Of course the beautiful Ash Wednesday Mass is the highlight of this day in which the Priest makes the sign of The Cross on our foreheads  with the blessed Ashes of last year's palm crosses.

And thus began our Lenten journey this year!
I pray your own journey ma be truly blessed and fruitful.

Blessings to you and your homes,

Monday, February 23, 2015


Sunday Morning ............
Did you just cringe? Just saying that can recall to mind many tense and stressful mornings that have been in our past, maybe even in our present and really it should not be like this at all.

Sunday is the start of a new week with the potential for many wonderful and great things to happen.
It is the day we celebrate Our Lord's resurrection and for many of us it is the time of sharing in the community of faithful in a Church near our homes.

However as joyful as it can be more often than not it can often be the cause of great stress for many families as we all struggle to get ready to attend Church on time.

There is sure to be at least one child who cannot find his shoes or as often as not if the shoes are found matching socks are no where in evidence.

Naturally the idea of hankies or tissues for noses should always be in pockets and invariably are not placed in said pockets or purse before hand.
These and other types of getting ready things can cause us to lose sight of what we really are celebrating on this day- Sunday!

So often though we get caught up in these preparations for 'going' and 'doing' that we forget to just BE in the presence of God.
To just Be still and know that wonderful love of God.
To Be still and listen to the Lord: not only in his word but in his voice.

To Be Still, as hard as it is in the busyness of our lives, is an opportunity we each have, if we decide to take it  a wonderful way to start  our week.

If our goal was to be Still and Know our God and to follow this through not only on a Sunday but all through out the week I am sure that each of us would be that much closer to living the life Our Lord has called us to.

May this Lent be a time for us all to grow in the way The Lord would have us go - by first starting our Sunday's with a still and humble heart and then to continue this through  the coming  week and the next week and the next week and.................

Blessings to you and your homes,

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Great Art Lessons For Kids (and adults too)

Art has always been part of our Learning since the time we started our home learning.
I have encouraged the children to copy those wonderful pictures from our favourite  Picture books - Elsa Beskow, Tasha Tudor, Beatrix Potter especially.
I leave art and craft materials out all over to make it easy for the children to be inspired and then  be able to use this creativity.

As well we have sporadically looked at great masters and read picture books about these great artists.
However as 'formal' as our lessons have been as mentioned in this post and this one too, we have never had any lessons from online or outside sources.

Some how and I am not sure how I found it but  in Advent last year I found this fantastic on line source that our children, and not only the younger ones but older kids too have been absolutely LOVING and so have been doing daily as part of the lessons I have prepared for them.
The lessons are from Art for Kids and the you tube lessons are really fantastic.
I have difficulty limiting the children to two lessons a day and have to make sure we have a roster system for the children so all get a turn.
I am just sharing a few of the pictures the children have drawn being from our just turned 6 year old up to our 14 year old.
I really am loving the pictures they are drawing and the important part is they are really proud of each and every drawing they have completed.

I am sure there are other great programs out there and if you know of any I would be more than happy to have you share them here with me.
The site has a wide variety of types of subject and the lovely part is the guy who shows you has one of his three children draw along side him. 

So you can see the adult (teacher) and the student both draw the same picture!!
The rapport between father and child is really inspiring too.
I do consider Art to be a significant part of our children's education and I am really happy to be able to share our latest find with you all.

So please try this site out and share with me what you think of the lessons.
Blessings to you and your homes,

Monday, February 16, 2015

Lent, Easter and all the way to Pentecost Posts (updated for 2015)

I was determined to be prepared for our Lenten Journey this year (2015) but sadly the closest I have come is to preparing is looking at this blog post and updating it.
So tonight I will be planning how we will journey along this road to the Glorious Easter Celebration.
I'm not sure what we will do as a family or even what my own private intentions on growing  closer to our Lord will be but hopefully it will be a very fruitful journey for us all.

From 2014- It has been a week since we started our Lenten journey this year and already I can say we have experienced quite a few challenges or if you prefer opportunities to grow in love for our Lord and to look to him for strength and help.

In fact we have tried to not only give up things this lent but to increase our prayer life as well and I confess that it has been a sacrifice perhaps more than we anticipated to stay strong in these areas along with the added opportunities that have come our way.

However I trust that this will be a time of refining through the fire and as such a time of much joy as we Enter into the Easter season.

As I look through the past posts I would like to share this updated view of our life as we share the Liturgical journey from Shrove Tuesday through til the celebration of Pentecost.

As I was preparing this it is apparent that some years I have been able to post more than others and I can only say this reflects my commitment here as well as the commitment to my family and as such not every year will be represented on this blog. For even though we celebrated together as a family it was not important enough or time just slipped by without ever sharing in this space and thus we have some gaps that can only be filled through my mind memories and personal photos.

However here are our memories as recorded her in this space thus far:

Lent and Easter book list
Amon's Adventure- daily read aloud for the family (2014, 2013)
The Bronze Bow (our 2015 read aloud)
March Liturgical Books
April Liturgical Books

Hiding the Alleluia 2014
Felt Mardi Gras Masks- Tutorial Part 2
Felt Madi Gras Masks - Tutorial Part 1

Shrove Tuesday/ Fat Tuesday/ Madi Gras:
Shrove Tuesday/Madi Gras 2013
Our Shrove Tuesday/Madi Gras Celebrations 2012
Perfume Eggs (Calazane Eggs)  Tutorial 2012- a traditional activity for Carnival
Our celebrations in 2011 - including cake ideas, food and activities
Shrove Tuesday 2010
Ash Wednesday 2014
Ash Wednesday: Ideas and a reflection 2011
 Ash Wednesday: 2010 and 2009 a reflection

MAKING LENT MEANINGFUL- activities and prayers
Lenten Countdown 2014 - Pockets full of Love Calender
Preparing for Lent and some Feast Days 2013
Lenten Quest 2011- our goals for  the Lenten season

Salt Dough Crown making 2013
Salt Dough Crown of Thorns - Tutorial

Preparations in the Home Post:
Including Salt Dough crown of thorns, hiding the Alleluia, Weekly Lenten Candle Log,
Stations of the Cross Box:  Simple Homemade version to be used in the Stations of The Cross for small ones each Friday

Paschal Mystery Eggs (Resurrection Eggs) - Home made version

Making a homemade Benjamin's Box based on the Book Benjamin's Box

Calvary Crosses- we make these and put them up every year. Last year they were very like.

Felt Pocket Eggs Tutorial 2012- this can be filled with a little present or chocolate eggs

'Crack me Eggs' tutorial 2012

Making a Felt  Easter Bunny  2011- Tutorial

Egg Decorating 2009
St Patrick's Day Celebrations in our home 2014
St Patrick Celebrations 2013
St Patrick Celebrations at home 2012
Happy St Patrick's Day to You 2012
St Patrick's Prayer 2011
Making Leprechauns for St Patrick's Day
St Patrick's Day 2011
St Patrick's Day 2010
St Patrick's Day Plans 2010
St Patrick's Day 2009

Solemnity of St Joseph in our Home 2014
Solemnity of St Joseph 2013
St Joseph Day 2010

Laetare Sunday Celebrations 2014
Laetare Sunday 2013
Laetare Sunday 2011
Laetare Sunday Ideas and Information
Laetare Sunday/ Mothering Sunday 2010
Passion Week 2009 :  figures for a play

Celebration Palm Sunday 2014
Celebrating Palm Sunday in our home 2012
Palm Sunday 2012

Palm Sunday Ideas and Activities 2011
Making Palm Crosses Tutorial 2011

Palm Sunday 2010 - including how we made palm crosses for our home
Palm Sunday  (no plans just image)

Holy Week Activities 2013
Spy Wednesday 2013 (In Holy Week)
Holy Week Ideas 2012
Holy Week Activities 2011- stacks and stacks of ideas for Easter in this one post
Holy Week Plans and Activities 2010
Thoughts for Holy Week 2010
Passion Sunday Celebrations 2014
Passion Week Actitivites and colouring 2014
Passion of Our Lord Videos to watch on line 2014
Maundy Thursday: Figures for  play for the younger children with hand painted apostles
Holy Thursday 2012
Last supper 2010
Last Supper Tradition or Seder Meal 2010- Script for family meal included

Holy Thursday,  Good Friday and Holy Saturday 2013-  celebrations in our home
Holy Thursday and Good Friday 2012 - celebrations in our home
Holy Thursday and Good Friday 2011 - hot cross bun recipe, Easter cookies and crack me eggs

Good Friday Information
Good Friday 2014 - Sourdough Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns recipe too (different to the one below)
Good Friday 2010 - including Hot Cross Bun recipe
Good Friday 2009 

From Mary's Point of View - a hymn
Reflection 2011

Holy Saturday and Resurrection Cookie recipe 2012
Resurrection Cookie Recipe within this post (for Holy Saturday Night)
Making a Felt  Easter Bunny  2011- Tutorial

Holy Saturday and Easter Table 2011
Christ is Risen 2011
Easter Celebrations 2011

Easter Table 2010
Easter Day 2010
Making a Lamb Cake 2010

Easter Table 2009
Easter Celebrations 2009
Our Original Plans 2009
Celebrations 2010
Plans and Scenes in our Home 2011
Updates in 2012
Actual Celebrations 2011

Celebrating in 2013
Celebrating in 2012
Celebrating in 2010
Plans for Pentecost posted in 2009

Blessings to you and your homes,

Friday, February 13, 2015

Candlemas and St Brigid Celebrations

As it happens most years for us the start of our formal learning after the Summer break happens around the time of the feast days of Candlemas and St Brigid.
This year proved to be no different for us except we had an interesting start with our Vellvin being lain up after a fall from a car and her injuries resulting from that.

This made our  start to the new year of formal learning  a little more complicated due to the trips to hospital and doctor appointments, x-rays etc as well as her care impeding our ability to follow any schedule at all to start with.

We seem to have come around though and although I haven't in the past year especially had much chance to actually share the feast days we have celebrated I am hoping to do so this year.
For we have continued to do this I just have not had time to document them.
 So we celebrated both Candlemas/The Presentation of Our Lord and St Brigid together, and not on either of those feast days but a day or two late.

Naturally we had to have a St Brigid Day display and we used our background and candle from pat years as well as our cows from various children.
 I knew we were going to have candles, of course we usually do, but this year I wanted to try them floating in water with the doves that symbolise the gifts that Mary and Joseph offered at the presentation of Jesus in the Temple around the bowl of lighted candles.
I really was happy with the result and the children loved them.
 Traditionally we do lots of colouring and word searches as I read aloud from our books and this year was no exception.
I did find a couple of new pages that I loved, but can't find the link to now sorry.
 Candlemas colouring are much harder to find but I was happy with these ones.

All the work is placed in the children's lesson books as a token of what we have learned for the days.
We consider Faith based learning a number one priority and so will 'ditch' the prepared daily plan in favour of Feast Day activities.
 I printed out this blessing for copy work. Although it is really hard to pick just one Irish blessing as they are all so wonderful.
 Naturally I could not find our copy of Brigid's Cloak this year but did read from St Brigid and the Cow's and Saint's Lives and Illuminations (St Brigid is a featured saint in this lovely book)
 After this we moved on to Candle making.
This year instead of making a whole heap of rolled candles for what ever purpose.
I proposed we each make one candle and use that as a special Birthday Candle to be lit in our Birthday Ring for each of us.
 Of course we read from the  New Catholic Picture Bible and then took turns rolling our candle and cutting out small decorations to put on the candles.
So we each have an individual and unique candle for our birthday celebrations.
 It is so lovely to see how the children really love to be part of the craft making for these days and we just love making candles.
 The small decorations we cut out with fondant cutters I had bought a little while ago. I think they were about $5 at K-mart :)
 For dinner we had a traditional soup/stew meal that we tend t eat regularly but always on St Brigid or St Patrick day.
It must be the Irish blood in us!!!!
 This feast day would not be complete without Irish Soda bread again a staple in our home and a recipe we love to use on a regular basis for our Irish Saints.
Last but not least we had a candle cake for sweets as the finale for  this double  Feast Day.
I am thankful for the help of our children always for these feast day celebrations.

Long gone are the days when I had only little children and I did all the preparations myself. These days I have lots of older helpers to prepare food and crafts if I need it, and really I think that is how it should be.

As they get older they can take a more active part in living our Liturgical Year and thus truly make celebrations of Feast Days a memory that now becomes a reality of living!

Blessings to you and your homes,

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Summer Circle Time/Morning Basket Routine

As I mentioned in my Summer reading post I have been busy trying to get ALL my planning ready for the coming Learning year.
As yet I am not quite finished but have mostly completed this task.
One of the re occuring events in our day after our Early morning routine is Circle Time/Morning Basket.
This is themed after the seasons and has many aspects within it.
We cover seasonal poems, verses, action songs as well as cover basic Faith items and virtue training, times tables and some general reading together.

Even though we are nearly finished Summer this is what we have been doing in our Summer Circle Time this year.

Circle Time Planner ~ Summer

This is what I do to start Morning Circle Time with our children:
Stock a large basket with everything needed for the day’s circle-time activities. To signal little ones to join you in the circle-time area, grab your basket and sing the following song.

Gathering Verse:
(sung to the tune of “A Tisket, a Tasket”)
A tisket, a tasket,
Mummy has her basket.
It’s time for all my little ones
To join me on the carpet.

* Good morning dear earth
Good morning dear sun
Good morning dear flowers
and fairies, every one
Good morning dear beasties
and birds in the tree
Good morning to you
Good morning to me

Come to the circle where dreams are found.
Take my hand, we’ll dance around! (Join hands and sway R and L)
Ha la ha la ha la ha la!  (Skip around the circle)
Round, and round, and round we go!  (spin around)

Opening Verse;
Light  the candle (taking turns each day) as we say the poem below

* Come out, come out this sunny day
The fields are sweet with new mown hay
The birds are singing loud and clear
For summer time once more is here
So bring your rakes and come and play
And toss and tumble in the hay
The sweet wild roses softly blow
All pink and white the roses grow
The nodding daisies in the grass
Lift up their heads to hear you pass
Upon this happy, sunny day
When you come out to make the hay.
Sunshine Fairies
*  We are the sunshine fairies
And with our sparks of light
We shimmer and glimmer in the air
Hugging flowers with colours so bright

(Begin standing in a circle, children hold out their arms at their sides and turn in place clockwise as fairies. Stop and flick fingers as sparks. Hold out arms at sides, flutter fingers, then turn in place counterclockwise; hug self and rub hands up and down over folded arms.)

Seasonal Verse:
In summer when the days are long,
The grass is cool and sweet;
I take my shoes and stockings off
And walk in just bare feet;
At night, how good the water feels
Along the bruises of your heels!
* Midsummer eve so nursie tells,
Is meant for dances and fairy spells.
It is not dark, it is not light,
But grey and tipped with glow worm light.
Then all the flowers awake.
They keep and whisper softly slow and deep,
But most of all a magic song sounds from the daisies all night long.

Seasonal Songs:
*Summer's Here: to the tune of "Are you sleeping"
Days are longer, sunshine's stronger
Summer's here, summer's here!
Let's jump through the sprinkler, let's make lemonade
Summer's here, summer's here.
Mermaid Song :  (sung to the tune of I had A little Nut Tree)
I’d like to be a mermaid,
As pretty as can be,
Sitting on a rock,
In the middle of the sea.

Combing out my hair,
In the golden sun,
And swishing my fine tail,
Oh wouldn’t it be fun!
Fairy Fairy in the Garden - sung to the tune of Mary, Mary Quite Contrary)
Fairy Fairy in the Garden,
Will you come tonight?
Dancing in the cool moonlight,
All silver sparkling white

Fairy, fairy, in the garden,
Will you come tonight?
Dancing in a little ring,
What magic will you bring?

Fairy, fairy, in the garden,
Did you come last night?
I can tell that you were here,
My little fairy dear!

*Salve Regina in Latin (using you tube)
Salve Regina, mater misericordiae:
Vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus, exsules, filii Hevae.
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia ergo, Advocata nostra,
illos tuos misericordes oculos
ad nos converte.
Et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis, post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens: O pia: O dulcis
Virgo Maria.
*The Servant Song
Will you let me be your servant
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I might have the grace
To let me be your servant too

We are pilgrims on the journey
We are brothers on the road
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load

I will hold the Christ light for you
In the night time of your fear
I will hold my hand out to you
Speak the the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping
When you laugh, I'll laugh with you
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we've seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in heaven
We shall find such harmony
Born to all we've known together
Of Christ's love and agony
Hail Queen Of Heaven The Ocean Star (In Latin too)
Hail, Queen of heaven, the ocean star
Guide of the wanderer here below,
Thrown on life's surge, we claim thy care,
Save us from peril and from woe.
Mother of Christ, O Star of the sea
Pray for the wanderer, pray for me.

O gentle, chaste, and spotless Maid,
We sinners make our prayers through thee;
Remind thy Son that He has paid
The price of our iniquity.
Virgin most pure, O star of the sea,
Pray for the sinner, pray for me.

And while to Him Who reigns above
In Godhead one, in Persons three,
The Source of life, of grace, of love,
Homage we pay on bended knee:
Do thou, bright Queen, O star of the sea,
Pray for thy children, pray for me.

Scripture Verse:
The Weekly 24 Family Ways Verse (repeated from Breakfast)

My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories – one chapter
The Mass Explained for Children
St Patrick’s Summer

*The Fairy Ring
Oh, Have you seen the fairies dance
Upon a Summers night?
And watched the gnomes and pixies peace
Where’er the moon is bright?
‘Tis splendid fun to see them run
As soon as it grows light.

One evening sister May and I
Went out soon after tea;
The moon hung like a ball on high
Above the fairy glen.
And round and round the ground
Danced fays and elfin men.

And there at dawn they leave behind
A ring of toadstools wee
(Where they have danced you’ll always find
This mark for folks to see)
Then off they fly into the sky
Just as the clock strikes three.

Action Verses/Songs:
 * A tisket, a tasket
A tisket, a tasket,
A green and yellow basket,
I sent a letter to my love,
And on the way I dropped it,
I dropped, I dropped it,
And on the way I dropped it,
A little boy picked it up,
And put it in his pocket.
Oats and Beans and Barley Grow
Oats and Beans and Barley Grow
But you or I nor anyone know,
How Oats and Beans and Barley Grow
(Hold Hands for above verse)

First the farmer sows his seed (act out each line)
Then he stands and takes his ease
Stamps his feet and claps his hands
And turns around to view the land.
*  Yes Ma’am  -Leader says first part children the  yes ma’am
Oh John the rabbit, yes ma’am
Had a mighty bad habit, yes ma’am
Of jumping in my garden, yes ma’am
He ate my tomatoes, yes ma’am
And all my sweet potatoes, yes ma’am
And he cut down all my cabbage, yes ma’am
And he ate up all my peas, yes ma’am
And if I live, yes ma’am
To see next fall, yes ma’am
I just won’t have, yes ma’am
Any garden at all. NO MA’AM!
* Shoo fly
Shoo Fly don’t bother me
Shoo Fly don’t bother me
Shoo Fly don’t bother me
For I belong to somebody
His name is Jesus Christ and he’s The Son of God
His name is Jesus Christ and He’s The Son of God
So……. (repeat)

Skip Counting/Times Tables:
10 times tables, forward and backwards and skip couting with actions
5 times tables, forward and backwards  and skip counting with actions
2 times tables, forward and backwards  and skip counting with actions
11 times tables, forwards and backwards  and skip counting with actions
4 times tables, forwards andbackwards  and skip counting with actions

* For Heavens Sake
* Enchanters End Game
*Seasonal -Tip Toes Lightly book
*Stepping Stones for little People
 *Any seasonal or liturgical stories that may fit in with the day

Closing Verse:
* Here’s a heart in my hands (hands together)
I hold it very near (bring to chest)
I share it with my family, and all I see right here (gesture open)
Today our hands were busy (hands turn over)
Tonight we all shall rest (hands to face, as in sleep)
And every day I strive (one hand up, other hand across body)
To do our very best (slowly lower raised hand)
and snuff out the candle.

'Ticka Tacky
Nicky Nacky Nu
Dear little sultana where are you?'

Props Needed:

Blessings to you and your homes,


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