Sunday, January 26, 2020

Get FREE Printable Apostles' Creed Copywork in Cursive and Printing


Have you been looking for a free Apostles' Creed copywork printable?


Training Happy Hearts


I was doing so earlier today as I prepared lessons for the coming weeks.

When I could not find one, I decided to make a simple one myself and am sharing it with you here.


The printable includes a cursive model:



A print model:



And a blank line sheet:



That way, your children can choose to practice printing, cursive, or both. (Just print extra blank-lined pages if they want to do both printing and cursive.)


It also has a double thick line at the base of each line to help children remember to "ground" their letters, and spaces between words on the model to help children remember to leave spaces between words.

I hope this simple sheet blesses your and yours as you work on practicing prayers and handwriting.

You can find more free, printable prayer copywork here!

May your day be blessed!

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Add This Sweet Saint Book to Your Collection!

Training Happy Hearts

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product in 
exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

As I was preparing for this week's feast days, I pulled out a favorite little saints picture book of mine - Boys Saints for Little Ones by homeschool mom and authro Kimberly Fries of My Little Nazareth - since it contains two of this week's saints: 



St. Thomas Aquinas



St. John Bosco





I also went to share an image of a review I thought I had written about the book on Facebook to remind others who have it to pull it out this week and to suggest to those who don't that they consider adding it to their collection.

Sadly, when I went to do this, I realized I had never finished writing and posting a review of the book after author Kimberly Fries so kindly sent me it for review.

What?!

I was quite upset with myself, because I love author Kimberly Fries and illustrator Sue Kouma Johnson's work and did not mean to be so long in sharing it about it.

So, with no further ado, let me set the record straight: Boy Saints for Little Ones is one fabulous little saint book that is perfect for more than just little ones!

Why do I say this? Because my children are now 9, 12, and 14, and I find myself pulling out Boys Saints for Little Ones often.


What I Love About Boy Saints for Little Ones




Boys Saints for Little Ones provides a simple, beautiful introduction to (or review of) 12 inspiring male saints through a short biography, quote, vibrant illustration, and explanation of symbols for each saint.

Although the brief biographies in 
Boys Saints for Little Ones are written simply, they are not oversimplified. Rather, they are easy, short explanations that key into things children can grasp, retain, and relate to, such dreaming of becoming a knight, helping others, persevering through hard things, and more.

Not too detailed nor esoteric, nor too simplistic and dull, I have found the short biographies in 
Boys Saints for Little Ones perfect for reading to little ones who visit, offering my dyslexic child to read for practice, and reading to all ages when celebrating saint days.



The quotes at the end of each biography are well-chosen, such as "The greatest kindness one can render to any man is leading him to truth." - St. Augustine. These quotes can be used for memory work, copywork, or just to inspire!

Likewise, the bright and engaging painted illustrations in the book can inspire children to remember things about the saints and to connect with Catholic art.




Each illustration contains a special symbol that children can associate with the saints, such as the traditional symbols of St. Francis of Assisi's stigmata and the dragon that St. George slays, or the original symbols of a light-blue halo around St. John Bosco's head and musical notes surrounding St. Gregory. These symbols can help children recall details about the saints while also inspiring them to look for the rich symbolism inherit in other Catholic art. 





For a 30-page book meant for little ones, Boys Saints for Little Ones packs in enough to make the book in purpose as children grow - first engaging with bright illustrations, then inspiring with well-written text, then offering opportunities for copywork, memory, and art study. Plus, since the book is slender and has full-page illustrations, it is ideal for slipping into a bag to bring to saint day celebrations where it can be read aloud and then decorate a feast day table!

My Children's Thoughts

Each of my children has read 
Boys Saints for Little Ones on their own and has revisited the book when we have used it on feast days.

Some of the things my children said when I asked them about the book are:

"I like how they just have a short blurb about each saint - not a whole, long, big story - just enough to get you interested."
"I really like how every saint has an illustration and how the illustrations are big and painted. Some of them I really like, such as the one on the cover and the St. Thomas Aquinas one."


"I like the simpleness of the illustrations, but how good they look, too with the color schemes."
"I also like how they give a quote for each saint."


"I also like how it has some of the more popular saints - like St. Patrick and St. Francis of Assisi - and some less popular saints like St. Gregory."
"My favorite part was about St. George." 


"They tell about the symbols and colors in the paintings to help you search for meaning. What a great way to engage younger children." 


"The amount of white space on the page and large font make it easy to read." 
"I like the big print. It helps you read."

Obviously, kids appreciate this book!


Learn More

Boys Saints for Little Ones is available on Amazon for $12.99.


Since the book contains short biographies of 12 saints, it makes a perfect read on their feast days. A listing of each saint's feast day is the only thing I think the book lacks, so I will add one here for easy reference:

  • St. Thomas Aquinas - January 28
  • St. John Bosco - January 31
  • St. George - April 23
  • St. Patrick  - March 17
  • St. Ignatius - July 31
  • St. John Vianney - August 4
  • St. Maximilian - August 14
  • St. Augustine - August 28
  • St. Gregory - September 3
  • St. Pio - September 23
  • Blessed (now Saint) John Henry Newman - September 24
  • St. Francis of Assisi - October 4


Boys Saints for Little Ones can also be a great resource for:


  • All Saints Day, since you could base a game on each saint in the book or use the symbol ideas to create easy and unique costumes.
  • copywork, since there is a quote at the end of each biography.
  • practice with narration. The biographies are short and can provide brief, pointed practice with listening then narrating details back.
  • writing. Older children can note how the author picked and chose interesting, relatable, and/or inspirational details to share about each saint's life and can use the examples of the biographies in the book when writing biographies of their own.
  • seeking inspiration for art projects. The paintings in the book are vibrant and text boxes draw attention to symbolism in art. These could inspire children to create their own Catholic artworks rich in symbolism.
  • introducing or reviewing saints. Since the biographies are brief, they can quickly spark further research and/or act as a catalyst for children to remember more that they have previously learned about the saints.
  • reading practice. One of my children has dyslexia and appreciated the large font, ample white space, and simple language used in this book which made reading this book easier than reading some others.
  • gift giving. Simple, beautiful, and inspiring, Boys Saints for Little Ones would make a wonderful gift for Baptism, First Holy Communion, Christmas, or Easter.

Boys Saints for Little Ones certainly can inspire children to deepen their faith and follow in the footsteps of the saints!



Image may contain: 3 people
Image from My Little Nazareth

My Little Nazareth publishes a host of other wonderful faith-focused books, too, including plenty more gems for little (and bigger!) ones and a prayer book for women.

I encourage you to check out there ever-expanding line of Catholic books!

Watch the book trailer on YouTube:


Connect with
My Little Nazareth

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Easy Eats for St. Angela of Merici's Feast Day

Want an easy meal addition for January 27?




Buy grapes.


Yes, grapes!

According to ST. ANGELA MERICI (1474 - 1540) FEAST DAY - JANUARY 27THgrapes symbolize:


  1. the Eucharistic blood of Christ.
  2. St. Angela de Merici's family vineyard.
  3. the cluster of women St. Angela of Merici drew together as the first teaching congregation of women in the Church, the Company of Saint Ursula.

Thus, grapes can become a simple addition to your feast day table that offer an opportunity to discuss St. Angela de Merici's love for Christ, her family history, and the fact that she founded the first "secular institute of religious women" who lived at home, had no special habit, and took no formal vows, but still practiced virginity, poverty, and obedience..

For a bit more feast day table fun and culinary history exploration, 
since St. Angela of Merici was born in Northern Italy in the 1400's and died in the 1500's, you might add some 15th and 16th century Italian dishes to your table as well.





Our family did this last year, choosing to try Fungi di Monte (Mountain Mushrooms), which was only a hit with my husband and me...




...and Menestra d'herbette (Herb Soup / Pottage of Greens), which only three out of five of us here liked.





Thus, it looks like I will be browsing the collection of authentic recipes at Medieval Cuisine once more this year to find new inspiration! 

I will also, once again, be browsing my own past collection of ideas at Answering a Request for St. Angela of Merici Activities.

That post includes more ideas and links than I used last year with my children, so it will be worth me revisiting and could be helpful for you, too.

Among the ideas from the post that I put into practice last year were:



Saint Angela,
you were not afraid of change.
You did not let stereotypes keep you from serving.
Help us to overcome our fear of change in order to follow God's call and allow others to follow theirs.
Amen.

  • watching a brief video from Catholic Online that offers a quick overview of St. Angela Merici's life:



  • enjoying a virtual sightseeing tour while learning about St. Angela Merici:



This, of course, led my crew into discussing and looking up incorrupt saints after dinner, which may or may not be something you wish to unfold depending on your family's sensitivities.



Any which way - no matter what else you choose to do to celebrate - grapes make an easy and meaningful addition to your table when introducing or learning more about St. Angela of Merici.  Might I suggest, then, that you put some on your shopping list this week?



St. Angela of Merici, pray for us.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Simple Meals with the Saints: Our Lady of Banneux



Have you done your meal planning for the upcoming week yet?  If not, might I suggest putting Belgium waffles on the menu?


Image may contain: Martianne Stanger, smiling, sitting, food and indoor

January 15 is the feast day of Our Lady of Banneux, an apparition of Mary that appeared to young girl named Mariette Beco in Banneux, Belgium between January 15 and March 2, 1933, saying "I come to relieve suffering," and "Believe in me and I will believe in you."



No photo description available.

Thus, it seems an ideal day to put a white lace or blue tablecloth on the table (since Our Lady's traditional colors are blue and white and Belgium is famous for lace) and, then, to enjoy some
 Belgian hot chocolate and Liege waffles while reading, praying, and chatting about Our Lady of Banneux. 


Image may contain: 3 people, including Martianne Stanger, people smiling, people sitting, table and indoor

(Or, if you are trying to reduce s
alt, oil, and sugar like I am, you could make 2-Ingredient Waffles an Oatmeal waffles.)



Image may contain: fruit and food

Along with these, be sure to have some water.

Why?

It will can remind you that o
n January 18, 1933, when the Virgin appeared to Mariette a second time, she led her from her house to a spring which she said would bring healing to all nations. 




After grace and before eating, you might also want to pray the following prayers, which appears along with others on the the Banneux Notre Dame site:


Prayer of the International Union of Prayer
Mary Virgin of the Poor,
You lead us to Jesus, source of grace, and you come to alleviate our suffering.
We implore you with confidence:
Help us follow your Son with generosity, and to belong to Him unreservedly.
Help us to welcome the Holy Spirit Who guides and sanctify us.
Obtain us the grace to look like Jesus everyday more, so that our life will glorify the Father and contribute to the salvation of our Brothers.


{Some links which follow may be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases}


Source: Amazon


You could also read a copy of the Our Lady of Banneux Coloring Book if you have one, and, if not, you could read about Our Lady of the Poor and the apparitions online.

For more ideas about celebrating and learning with Our Lady of Banneux in mind, see 
15 Ways to Celebrate Our Lady of Banneux's Day.


 Get more ideas!
Get More Ideas!

Image may contain: food


Our Lady of Banneux, pray for us!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Such a Handy Homeschool Resource for a Harried Mom! {A SchoolhouseTeachers.com Review & Discount Code}



Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in 
exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

We have been members o
SchoolhouseTeachers.com for a number of years now, so I have had the opportunity to see how it just keeps getting better.  This year, we received the Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership which provides a full scope and sequence curriculum for Pre-K-12th grade studies for together homeschool parents and can be a fantastic go-to, pick-and-choose resource for harried eclectic homeschoolers like me.

Seriously! I planned to be calm and organized this school year, not overpacking my family's schedule and leaving room for slow, steady learning and fun. But, it just didn't happen.

So, as I received our one year subscription to the 
Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership
 for review, I was super happy to remember what a helpful and complete resource SchoolhouseTeachers.com is. Print resources. Video Resources. Core curriculum. Electives. Stuff for moms. It's all there - and all easily searchable and well-organized.

That meant that when my children and I had to stop doing the DVD Spanish lessons I had been doing with them because our DVD player was not working correctly, I could quickly search for Spanish 1 lessons on 
SchoolhouseTeachers.com.




From there, I could easily download audio and pdf files in order pivot our studies to a DVD-free resource that is working for us. Thank you, SchoolhouseTeachers.com!





Likewise, it also meant that when my son decided to change the topic of his informative speech for an upcoming tournament to King Alfred the Great, while we awaited some library books we put on hold to come in, we could search Alfred the Great on SchoolhouseTeachers.com and, immediately, find a lesson that provided my son with thoughts and fodder for his speech.





The rest of the Leaders in History course looks interesting, too. When my son gets through his Speech and Debate tournament and has more time, he may dive into the rest of the course more!




It also meant that I could start looking at resources to use throughout the remainder of the winter and spring - art, poetry, photography, film, drama, and so much more! (Of course, all the "meat" is there, too - language arts, math, science, social studies, etc.)

Oh, and did I mention that the membership comes with access to over 450+ videos across several academic areas as well as kids' entertainment, Bible study, marriage and parenting, and more?

Get a DISCOUNT CODE!



Until the end of January you can join SchoolhouseTeachers.com for $99/year by using discount coupon code: ONLY99 or $12/month using the discount coupon code: ONLY12.

Also, there are currently two membership options with no per-child fees nor textbooks needed.
  • Ultimate Membership – PreK – 12th Grade – Access to Every Course
  • Standard Membership – PreK – 8th Grade – Access to Hundreds of Courses.
Payment options include annual, monthly or quarterly automatic payments.
Membership Has So Many Benefits

Your membership comes with a ton, including:
  • One membership for the entire family!
  • No extra fees and no limits on the number of courses you and yours can take.
  • 460+ courses and growing
  • 14,000+ individual lessons
  • Different lesson styles for different needs - video, downloadable, print, etc.
  • Courses for all major academic subjects
  • Courses for all grade levels and parents, too
  • Scope and Sequence for each grade level
  • Lesson plans for each course
  • Printable games and activities
  • Self-paced courses
  • Flexibility
  • Applecore Recordingkeeping System
  • 10 libraries of World Books Online
  • Encouraging articles for moms
  • Customer service ready to help you decide what's best for your child.
  • Updates and enhancements to courses so as more interactive courses become available, they are automatically added to your membership
It is also all from a Christian worldview.

Whatever you are looking for to flesh out your school year - and lots that you didn't even know you wanted - can be found at SchoolhouseTeachers.com.  So, if you, like me, are a harried homeschool mom looking for a one-stop source to fill on holes, pivot lessons, extend learning, and explore more with, this is it.  Or, if you are ultra-organized and on-point, this can be it, too. Every lesson is well organized, easy to preview, and, from what I've seen and experienced, well presented.

I recommend any Christian homeschooler looking for core subjects or electives take a peek at 
Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership. It truly is amazing what is offered there for one low price that serves everyone in a family.

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Check Out All the Reviews


Read the reviews!

Want to see just how amazing the Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership  is at meeting the needs of homeschoolers with all different styles and ages of children? Over one hundred Homeschool Review Crew families have been trying the membership out.  Click on through to the reviews!


Sunday, January 5, 2020

5 Quick Questions to Help You over a Hump

A little honesty here. As I write this, I am sitting here crying after yet another difficult morning and afternoon with my family, and, to be more honest, I don't really have time to cry nor time to write, but I am.

Why?

Because when I called out to God to help me stop being swept away by energy-zapping emotion and to guide me back to doing what I need to do for the rest of this day and the days to come, "5 x 5" came into mind. Then, as I walked myself through the quick and easy five questions about 5's, I realized you, too, might be sitting in overwhelm unable to move through your own emotion and distraction in order to get back to priorities and God-centered living.

Thus, I felt called to take a moment to share a simple exercise that sometimes helps me move over a hump in life - even when that hump seems mountainous!

Things Don't Always Go As Planned


We've all heard it before: Life does not always go as planned. In fact, sometimes, it veers off course and you begin to get stuck in the mire of myriad challenges, unexpected pitfalls, ill choices, and bad behaviors.

Things go wrong. Tasks pile up. Important matters get lost among urgent ones. People lose all sense of kindness, charity, and self control. Sleep seems like a luxury that you cannot afford. And, life becomes,well, an ideal breeding ground for the evil one to begin to whisper - even shout - lies that you and yours, unfortunately, start believing.

So, what do you do when this happens?  What recourse is there when frustration and foils mount up and everyone starts acting out with vice?

Might I suggest that you simply stop? That's right. Stop. JUST STOP!  Stop long enough to pray, Gold help me, and then, to think: 5x5.

What is 5 x 5 ?

When overwhelm, emotions, and distraction seem to be at an apex, think: Ask yourself: Will this matter in five minutes? Five days? Five weeks? Five months? Five years? 

Most often, at least one your answers will be, "no" and, knowing that makes it so much easier to put things into perspective, move away from exacerbating emotion, and move back to priorities with purpose, practicality, and prayer.

Seriously, if something won't matter in five minutes, let it go. 

If it won't matter in five days, go ahead, give it a little energy if you must, but, then, give over to God. 

If it won't matter in five months or five years, how much do you really need to focus on it right now?

And if it will matter in five year - or even longer - why will it matter and what you can you do about it? Get onto doing what you can and give the rest over to God.


Recognize that it is what it is, and you only have so much control over things. If something is important, give it energy and focus and, then wait on God to do the rest.

And, remember: most things don't matter in the long run besides making good and God-centered choices and practicing virtues. 


Respond with Perspective
Remember, too: It is okay to cry. It's okay to feel. It's okay to make mistakes. It's okay when other people make mistakes. And, without question,
 struggles in life - big ones and small - are inevitable. What is optional is defeat.

It's pretty obvious that you cannot always choose what happens to you nor to those around you. You cannot control what other people say and do. Sometimes, you cannot even choose your feelings. Emotions just well up inside of you.

But, you can choose how you look at things, how you prioritize, how express yourself, react, and respond.

You can face challenges without spiraling into destructive mindsets born from letting emotion and distraction be a breeding ground for vice.

You can ask, what WILL matter in five years? Five months? Five weeks? Five days? Five minutes?

Your next choice.

My friend, whatever you do, whatever you say, is going to move your closer or further from how you are called to live.

As long as it will move you closer, act on that choice.

Recenter yourself on what matters and don't let distraction nor overwhelming emotion do you and yours in.

You've got this, and, even if you don't, God does.

Offer it up. Give it over. Trust. And get on with what matters.

May God grant you peace, mercy, and grace!

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Did You Miss any of Our Top 10 Faith Posts for 2019?

As we wind down 2019, I pray that it has been a blessed year for you and your are looking forward to a faith-filled 2020! 

If you're planning ahead for ways to celebrate faith as a family this year, perhaps scrolling through our Top 10 Faith Posts from 2019 will inspire you.





This year, when I took a peek at Analytics to see what my top 20 posts shared in 2010 were, I discovered that a large portion of them were faith-related posts. (There were a few popular review /giveaways ones, too.)  So, today, I thought I would share our Top 10 Faith Posts from 2019 so that if you've forgotten an old favorite, your memory might be jogged, and, if you missed a popular post, you might discover it now.

I pray that as you scroll through our 2020 Top 10 Faith Posts, you will find inspiration to continue to live and grow in faith with your family in 2020.  



~10~


I love sharing lesson ideas, inspiration, and plans, especially when they combine our Catholic faith with outdoor time like this one for a Blind Listening Walk to remember the Holy Spirit.

If you're ever looking to connect lessons or outdoor activities to liturgical year, please just contact me through a comment here, or on our Facebook page and I'll be happy to see if I can help!


~9~

We are hit and miss with copywork here, so I sometimes try to fire us up again by making free copywork printables as I did with this St. Andrew Novena coppwork.

If you're ever looking for copywork to go along with a specific feast day, just let me know and I will whip up a printable if I can as a blessing to your children, my own, and whoever else stops by to download it.


~8~


I was surprised to see that a quick reflection I shared on truth, beauty, and goodness was one of the more popular faith posts that I wrote in 2019.  It warmed my heart to see that a reflective memory post was appreciated by others, since sometimes, although I started this blog in part as a place to journal family homeschool memories, I wonder if anyone ever really cares about such things.

I am delighted to see some still like to simply walk the journey together.


~7~



Our family continues to enjoy exploring art, music, and poetry with friends during once or twice a month AMP Club meet ups, and I am even happier when our meet ups dovetail with celebrating the liturgical year. Amplifying my delight even more is when I can share forward, as I did with our St. Francis of Assisi AMP plans, which, I now see, many of you appreciated, too.  Hoorah!


~6~

I have a confession to make: Using the free 3-2-1 Examen printable that I shared here did not become a journaling habit for my children as I had hoped. However, we do still do an oral 3-2-1 Examen more nights than not, and I am glad to see that folks reading here are interested in Examen resources, too. 

~5~




We have so enjoyed celebrating St. Joseph's Day with friends through the years and sharing about it here!

This year, we shared 4 Simple Steps to Planning a St. Joseph Table and, it seems, many were interested in those. I would love to hear about or to see pictures of your celebrations if you used inspiration from here. 


~4~

It appears that we're not the only ones seeking Catholic community since the 3 Truths of Building Catholic Communities was high on our Top 10 Faith posts of 2019.

I pray your Catholic community is thriving! Please let me know if I can ever be of help with providing tips, resources, or ideas specific to your needs.

~3~


My children are already growing out of some of our yearly traditions, but one Lenten tradition they still love is going egging on Spy Wednesday using a free printable that they helped design. Perhaps your children would enjoy doing the same!


~2~

Saints for Kids St. Josephine Bakhita

My children and I did not get to all the ideas I put together for celebrating St. Jospehine Bakhita, so I will be looking up my own post for reference come February. I hope you find some inspirational liturgical ideas there, too.


~1~


How perfect that as I share this Top 10 Faith Posts of 2019 collection right before the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, the top post is 31 Ways to Celebrate Our Lady! I pray some of the ideas inspire you as you head into the new year while honoring Our Holy Mother Mary.

We pray you have a wonderfully blessed New Year and that, as you move forward with celebrating it, you are not shy about sharing requests and suggestions with us. 
For, as always, we have more ideas and things happening here than we have time to write, so we'd love to spend the time we do have for blogging sharing whatever might bless you most. Do let us know which posts you've enjoyed and what you'd like to see in the future. 

May God bless you a your 2020 unfolds.

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