Monday, December 28, 2020

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Charades {A Free Printable}

 Are you planning to celebrate Elizabeth Ann Seton's feast day this January 4th? 

If so, any alphabet-themed eats could be fun, or get ideas from Catholic Cuisine.

Then, you could read a story about St. Elizabeth Ann Seton or watching A Time for Miracles, which is free on Youtube.

Finally, you could play St. Elizabeth Ann Seton charades!

My children have been having fun with charades lately, so I put together a FREE printable St. Elizabeth Ann Seton game

To play, simply cut the 20+ cues into strips and place them face down. Have a player draw one strip and act out the large bolded word or phrase without using any words. When someone guesses the word, briefly discuss its connection to St. Elizabeth Seton. Then, have whoever guessed the word take the next turn.

Have fun.

O God, who crowned with the gift of true faith Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton's burning zeal to find you, grant by her intercession and example that we may always seek you with diligent love and find you in daily service with sincere faith. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

~The Collect

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

A Free Printable Family Game for Christmas!

Are you looking for a silly way to spend a family game night during the 12 Days of Christmas?

Perhaps the FREE Christmas Word Puzzle Cards my daughter and I just made can help you!

{Some links which follow are affiliate ones.}

The cards are modeled after the game Mad Gab from Mattel.

To use them, simply print the first sheet of cards and cut them out.

Then, break your family into two teams. Flip a timer, have a player from Team One draw and read a card, for example: "
Egg Wrist Mask Herald".

Then, have the rest of the players on Team One guess what Christmas related word or phrase the card is giving a clue to (A Christmas Carol).

If the team guesses correctly before the timer runs out, they keep the card, score a point, and go again, continuing until the timer runs out. 

When the timer runs out, the other team can have one chance to guess an unguessed card, stealing the card/point. Then, the other team goes.

Whichever team has the most cards/points at the end wins, much like in the Mattel game
 Mad Gab, which I remembered from my younger years and told my kids about today.

After I did so, my daughter wanted to see more about the game, so we watched
a Youtube video of people playing it.

We then decided it would be fun to make and try out our own cards using a Christmas theme.

So, we set to work and think you will enjoy the fruits of our fun labor and be able to solve the puzzles cards we created.

Just in case you cannot, though, we included a second sheet of cards with the solutions to each puzzle.

Have a blessed and merry Christmas and a fun family time playing!

Sunday, December 13, 2020

It's Time to Get the Donuts... for Our Donut Stable Christmas Tradition


That was my youngest son's answer when I asked my children what one food each of them would like to see on the table on Christmas day.

His answer made me smile.

For I had asked my question thinking about how different our 2020 Christmas will be in comparison to Christmases past - with so many traditions on pause since COVID-crazy will prevent us from having our usual extended family gathering, and my son had answered, unexpectedly, with one thing that could remain traditional: donuts!

Yes. Donuts.

When my children were quite young, I used to make a cake on Christmas morning - a birthday cake for baby Jesus.

We would gather, sing happy birthday to Jesus, and blow out a candle

Then, one year, the cake changed to a stable. (I think it was because one year I did not have the time to make a cake, so grabbed GFCF donuts I had hidden in the freezer as a treat and made a donut stable.

Ever since, my children have eagerly looked forward to donut stables on Christmas and Epiphany...

And a corresponding open tomb on Easter.

Simple. Traditional (for us). And the first thing that came to my youngest's mind when thinking about our table at Christmas.

A donut stable, there will be!

And a warm, happy heart there is inside of me. What a delight for a tradition to hold up even in the COVID-crazy of 2020.

Does your family have a unique-to-you tradition that helps you celebrate the joy of Christmas morning, too?

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Secretly Gift a St. Nicholas Basket {An Advent Tradition}

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

I pray you and yours had a lovely feast day.

Here, along with waking to goodies in shoes, reading "virtue letters" from St. Nicholas, and going to Mass, my children and I made time for a long-time family tradition: gifting a neighbor with a St. Nicholas basket!

If you're looking for a fun idea for encouraging secret service and neighborhood cheer, St. Nicholas neighborhood baskets are an easy and enjoyable way to do it!

We first heard about the idea six years ago when I was researching ideas for a St. Nicholas Sensing the Saints Playdate

Since then, each year, we cut out paper snowflakes...

... fill a real basket...

...or a homemade paper one...

...with goodies...

... print out The Story of St. Nicholas from the St Nicholas Center website and walk to a neighbor's house...

... to secretly spread St. Nicholas' story.

Some years, we have been delighted to see snowflakes popping up on other doorways in our neighborhood. 

Other years, we are just happy to gift some happiness to whatever family we drop a basket to whether they share forward or not. All years, we enjoy spreading some secret cheer close to home.

Perhaps you and yours will enjoy this tradition, too.

However you choose to spend your St. Nicholas Day, we pray is blessed with love and service.

Saint Nicholas, you were a kind and generous man and a special friend of children. I pray that I may always show my gratitude to people who are good to me. May I return their kindness with love and may I never hesitate to share their care with others. Amen.  

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Get a FREE Printable 3 Gifts of Christmas Wishlist Copywork / Handwriting Set

When my children were babies, my husband and I decided that we would include Santa in our Christmas traditions by having him bring just three gifts to our children - symbolic of the three gifts that the Wise Men brought Baby Jesus.

{Some links which follow may be affiliate ones.}

Source: Amazon

Of course, as our children got older, they noticed that other children sometimes receive more gifts than they do. That was when we explained to them that we asked Santa to bring them only three gifts to help us better remember the Christmas story. We talked about the symbolism of frankincense, myrrh, and gold and started asking our children if they had any wishes for things that would develop their faith and prayers lives (like frankincense), help them develop and take care of their bodies and minds (myrrh), or be something valuable or super-desired by them (gold).

We also read them the lovely picture book The Three Gifts of Christmas, focused them on giving more than receiving, but still honored that they had wishes, and, as the children became skilled enough to write themselves, developed a 3 Gifts of Christmas Wishlist template for them to use for their wish lists. and  (I also gave them the choice of writing free form letters or wish lists, but they tend to choose the template still.)

The template makes things easy. I typically print it out a week before Advent begins and ask the children to write their letters before the Friday of that week ends so that Santa can prepare a few gifts for each child while we better keep our focus on service and preparing our hearts and homes for Christmas once Advent begins (rather than on our personal wants).

Of course, some year, my children's letters get written after Advent begins and/or the "me-focus" is larger than it should be all throughout the Advent season.

It is what it is. We flow and grow as we are able...

I bet you and yours do, too.

In case our FREE 3 Gifts of Christmas Wishlist printable set can bless you and yours as you flow and go, I am sharing it here today.

Within it you will find print pages...
... cursive pages...

... and blank line pages.

Blank pages have an extra thick bottom line to hep children remember to keep their writing anchored.

Some pages have smaller fonts/lines for children who have more control when writing quite small

Others have larger fonts/lines for those that need a bit more space.

Between these two sizes, I am able to satisfy the needs of my children. Should your children need a different size, however, and should you want me to create another page with resized fonts and lines, just tell me in a comment. I am happy to do so for you.

I pray this free printable blesses you and your and that however you choose to gift on Christmas, you have a beautiful holiday filled with love and faith, and focus on Christ.

Have a blessed time as you prepare for Advent and Christmas!

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Eternal Rest Grant Unto Papa...

You rarely know when the last time you'll be able to hug someone is. 

You rarely realize how treasured an ordinary moment can become.

You often think there will be another opportunity to sit and share love all together...

Then, between one goodbye embrace...

... and another, you blink.

A year begins to turn into two, and sickness comes. Earthly goodbyes happen in person for some and at a distance for others...

The swing stands empty.

Sorrow sweeps in. 

And smiles, too.

Smiles breaking through tears.

Memories and gratitude and love.

Love with no earthly bounds.

Today, may I ask for prayers for my extended family as we mourn the loss of our beloved Papa.
A man missed - and treasured!

We are so very grateful for times together - simple times of making paper airplanes, flying kites, sitting on the swing, him waiting in the breakfast nook for us to arrive from our looooong journeys down to visit and always having food cooked up to greet us, visiting Nana at the nursing home together, going to the park, and so much more... Times of love shared from afar with phone calls and cards - oh, how the kids loved waiting and knowing a card would come from Nana and Papa.

Special times like his surprise visits here, him hearing our girl's "hummingbird" heartbeat in utero, him coming up to see "his girl" when she had a (canceled/rescheduled) surgery, him eager to give each infant grandchild sink baths, him sharing ice cream.... Oh, Papa we wish we could serve you homemade french fries...

Sit around a fire together...

Share hugs...

Hang out in the sunshine...

Sit on your lap...

And just spend time on the swing with you...

We wish such ordinary moments of last times together could be just "ordinary" again, not "last".

But you are gone now. Still, your love, your wit, you smile, your dedication, your quiet strength, your enormous impact on our lives will always be here as will our prayers that you and Nana find eternal glory in Heaven.

We are so very grateful for having known you, for having shared so many extraordinary ordinary times together, for the love you showered on us. We are blessed.

Papa, Nana, we love you.

Eternal rest, grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of Nana and Papa rest in peace. Amen.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Get Personalized Name Gifts {A CrossTimber Review}

  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.

About four year ago, I gifted my youngest a beautiful Personalized Frame Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse and accompanying bookmark from CrossTimber for his First Reconciliation. He loved these unique-for-him gifts.

Thus, recently, when I was offered an opportunity to receive 5 Name Bookmarks or Name Cards and some AmazingName Print Activity Sheets for review, I took it. 

Each of the five members of my family likes to read, and one of my godchildren will be learning the letters of his name soon. So, I new that the bookmarks and activity sheets from CrossTimber - a
 well-run family business - would be appreciated here.

Ordering Was Easy

soon as I received a code for ordering, I had each member of my family get online with me to check out the myriad designs for bookmarks that we could choose from - with each of us picking a vertical or horizontal book mark, an image, and if a quote or Bible verse was preferred. I also put in the information needed for our activity sheets.

This done, I completed our orders and awaited the arrival of our CrossTimber packages.

The wait was not long at all, and, when I opened things up, I was happy to see the 25+ pages of activities for my godchild and his siblings to do - mazes, word-searches, coloring pages, handwriting pages, and more personalized with his name

There were a good variety of activities.

With different levels of difficulty.

 I look forward to gifting him these.

I also was happy to open the bookmarks for my family. 

However, when I did, I was surprised to see that the quality of them did not match the quality of past products we have received from CrossTimber. On the bookmarks, there was a misplaced comma, some font size issues, etc.
They Care about Their Customers

I wrote to CrossTimber about these things and, immediately, received a warm response, apologies, and a new set of bookmarks sent out to me ASAP.

I was thoroughly impressed with the speedy, personal, yet professional customer service I received!

Seriously - the response came right away...

They addressed issues with punctuation, font size, etc. I had I brought up...

Plus, they extended a true human touch...

In short, the communication and follow-up made it all the more evident to me the CrossTimber is a true family run business and that the Denharts - who own and operate the business - truly care about their customers and take the time to build relationships and make things right. I love that!

We are happy with our new bookmarks, and I know my godchild and his family will enjoy the activity sheets made especially for him. I am also, as I said, impressed with CrossTimber's warm, genuine, and speedy customer service. 

My daughter suggested that the bookmarks would be great to get as confirmation gifts - with the chosen confirmation name as the name on the bookmark, and I think that is a great idea.

With all this in mind, I do not hesitate to recommend CrossTimber to you if you are looking for name gifts for your family and friends.

CrossTimber does a fantastic job researching names, offers a wide selection of designs for the personalized gifts, and stands by their work.

You can see more of the designs they offer by clicking through to the Homeschool Review Crew site to find links for 70+ blog, video, and social media reviews.

You can also find CrossTimber on social media:


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