Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ideas for Celebrating the Catholic Season of Christmas

Here you will find ideas for the Church Christmas season (December 25th-Epiphany). If you are looking for pre-Christmas ideas, check out the Advent post!


Christmas Stable Name Cards

Holly Napkin Ring Holders (Check out the post for it's Christian symbolism)

Christmas Stars



An Easy Birthday Cake for Jesus

Baby Jesus Rolls


12 Days of Christmas



Crown Craft

Don't forget to bless you door!

  • Make a little gift or birthday card for Jesus and place it by the manger at your Church today.
  • Watch The Star of Bethlehem on YouTube. Older kids will find it fascinating and it makes for a great discussion.
  • Head to Catholic Online for several ideas, including blessings, scripts for plays, and more!
  • Books
Be saints, it's worth it!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Ideas for Classically Catholic Memory: Gamma Year: Week 7

Classically Catholic Memory: Gamma Year: Week 7
I'm blogging my way through our four year curriculum program so I don't forget everything that worked for us! Please feel free to use what works for your family and share in the comments anything you would add. For more on Classically Catholic Memory go here.


Lesson 1
I found a word jumble for the spiritual works of mercy here. While the kids did their worksheets we listened to some Angel Food sermons on praying for the souls in purgatory. These are the same stories I suggested for week 5, so pick one you haven't listened to yet, or listen to them again :).
Lesson 2
Here is what Family Catechism has on this topic.

While we don't own it, EWTN's My Little Angels has a whole show on the spiritual works of mercy and you can download a Works of Mercy Lapbook from Emmanuel Books for $10.00. Maybe I'll buy those in four years?

We are learning the Sanctus by watching and listening to this version on youtube.

For history this week Kevin opted to teach a lesson on different types of government because so many were mentioned in the memory work. To do this he took everything to the whiteboard and basically just had a discussion with the kids. I wish I had more to tell you on this, but I don't, which is why he teaches history and I don't. 


Lesson 1: Mixtures
Here is what we used for our first science lesson on mixtures:

First we mixed things like rocks and sticks into a glass of water and then we mixed sugar into another glass and talked about what made the two glasses mixtures.

Next we mixed oil, butter, vinegar and apple juice in various combinations to see if the liquids would mix or not. The instructions for both of these first two activities are in your CCM Teacher Text.

Then we did the classic water-and-baby-oil-sea-in-a-bottle, because it's just too fun. This is not in the Teacher Text, but you can find instructions here.

Finally I introduced the concept of separating mixtures, which is heavily covered in the second lesson. To do this we separated marshmallows out of Lucky Charms. The Teacher Text suggests separating raisins out of Raisin Bran. Good for them, they suggested something healthy... and we ignored it.

Lesson 2: Filtration, Evaporation, and Chromatography
For our second lesson we did an experiment for each of the different ways to separate mixtures. Supplies for this lesson included:

1st Filtration: Pretty easy folks. Take a glass of water with rocks, filter the water from the rocks with a colander. Rock-et science.

2nd Evaporation: For this experiment we mixed water and salt, painted the mixture on black paper, and baked the picture at 170 degrees for 5 minutes to evaporate out the water and separate it from the salt. Tip: Warm the water to help the salt integrate into the water.

Bean's salt painted nativity scene.

Chromatography: Place a dot of green food coloring 2 inches from the bottom of a strip of paper towel. Place the very bottom of the paper towel in some water, being careful to not let the dot become emerged in the water. This will allow the paper towel to soak up the water and in the process... (head to the next picture)
I've had this sweet letters and numbers stencil ruler since I was in grade school. Tell me you also have supplies in your home from when you were in grade school.
the blue and yellow from the green dye will be separated. So pretty.


Lesson 1
I taped the multiples of 8 to the floor this week and the kids hopped their way through them. Use card stock and tape each corner!

Lesson 2
The kids played multiples of 8 Fruit Shoot at Sheppard Software. It's like Fruit Ninja, but not nearly as cool.


Lesson 1

This week's timeline game consisted of placing each card in a paper lunch bag, then having the kids alternate turns trying to find the cards in order. Once a card was found we removed the bag from the line and started looking for the next card. I did not tell them the order, rather once they found the card that they thought was next they checked the back of the card's number to see if they were right. If they were wrong, they had to pick a new card to start looking for until they found the correct card.

Lesson 2
More pictures went into our timeline book this week!

Since May we have been studying one state per week to go along with our study of North American geography. Here are the states I've blogged about so far. You could pick one thing from each lesson or just do something fun about a few states each week. I'll keep linking to the state studies as we move through our Journey Across America!

North Carolina
South Carolina

Great Words I
I couldn't find this week's poem by Hilaire Belloc anywhere! And, no it's not in Cautionary Tales for Children. So, I guess you'll just have to memorize it, but you could do a fun lion craft to go with it!

Be saints, it's worth it!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Journey Across America: Virginia

This post is part of a 50 state Journey Across America. For information on the basics of this project check out this post.

The Books:
We began by reading O is for Old Dominion and then Bean used the information she learned to make a notebook page for her United States scrapbook.

For our picture books this week we read The Promise Quilt and The Relatives Came. Bean also read two chapter books: Misty of Chincoteague and Boxcar Children's The Mystery in Washington, D.C. (I know D.C. is not really in Virginia, but it is kind of.) You can also read American Girl's Felicity series, as Felicity lived in Virginia.

Last suggestion, although it's not a book... Episode 11 of Liberty's Kids is on Virginia born George Washington and you can watch it on youtube!

Finally, we taught the kids about Virginia using the Our United States of America: Catholic Social Studies textbook.

The Food:
In the back of The Mystery in Washington, D.C. there was a recipe for Apple-y Ever After Pancakes. Bean was so thrilled about the idea that we had to use it for our Virginia food and I'm so glad we did because it was simple and so delicious! I would compare it to apple pie, but WAY less work!

Here is the recipe:

The Craft:
The Flowering Dogwood is both Virginia's state tree and flower, so we used this template from Catholic Inspired to make a Dogwood flower craft. The post explains the legend of the Dogwood and how it relates to our faith!

We are headed to New York next!

Be saints, it's worth it!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Feast of St. Nicholas

Just popping in with a few pictures from St. Nicholas' Feast Day! It's been very busy around here because this week has been all things The Nutcracker! Bean is performing as an Angel in four shows this weekend. I hope to post some pictures that a friend of ours took from the dress rehearsal one of these days.

I know that typically people leave out their shoes for this feast day, but I like to use the kids' stockings, I'm not sure why that is. Maybe it's because it gives me more room. Maybe it's because I don't like the idea of putting edible things inside shoes. Maybe it's because I like my sparkly stocking that I bought 10 of several years ago because I hoped our family would grow and I knew I would never get around to making homemade stockings for everyone.

In the stockings were some gold coins, a candy cane, and a chocolate orange. My kids like oranges, but they don't seem feast dayish enough, so I opted for the chocolate version this year. Pal was very confused.

In front of the fireplace I put a few non-food treats. Wait, there goes my theory about using stockings because they give me more room for gifts. The kiddos each got a pair of slippers that I grabbed from Target, a Saints sticker book (the kind with a shadow of the sticker and the kids match the real sticker with the shadow), and an 1,000 piece nativity puzzle. Pal has been obsessed with big puzzles ever since this summer, so I thought this would be a great way to pass the cold days of Advent.

The puzzle is HUGE...

In the afternoon the kids drank hot cocoa and ate some of there chocolate while watching Veggie Tales' St. Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving. One of the characters is a nun, so that's pretty cool.

I hope your celebration was blessed!

Be saints, it's worth it!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Catholic Christmas Gift Ideas

Are you working on your Christmas shopping? Yes, yes you are. (Unless if you are really on top of things and finished shopping before Advent began.) So, I've put together the links to various Catholic Christmas gift ideas that I've posted over the years to give you something to help in the creative process. P.S. There are no paid endorsements here.

Creative Catholic Christmas Gifts 2012
Here you'll find a post from the FOCUS blog with gift ideas for anyone on your list. Favorites include Mystic Monk coffee with a Happy Saints mug, or a Catholic Movie with Prayerfully Popped Popcorn.

Creative Catholic Christmas Gifts 2013
This year's FOCUS blog list includes saint packs for the kiddos, a host of Catholic subscriptions so you can give a gift that keeps on giving, and a few FOCUS missionary Etsy shops!

Homemade Catholic Christmas Gifts
This list is from my achieves and has several DIY gift ideas. You'll find tutorials for holy medal wine charmers, a saints matching game, Christmas coasters, family board game pieces, felt bags and flower headbands at the link.

Not on the link above are tutorials for wooden saint dolls and a saint doll cathedral, which make excellent Christmas gifts!

And for a fun and easy teachers' gift check out my hot chocolate cones tutorial. We've been making these as presents for several years now!

Blessings on your shopping adventures!

Be saints, it's worth it!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ideas for Classically Catholic Memory: Gamma Year: Week 6

Classically Catholic Memory: Gamma Year: Week 6
I'm blogging my way through our four year curriculum program so I don't forget everything that worked for us! Please feel free to use what works for your family and share in the comments anything you would add. For more on Classically Catholic Memory go here.


Lesson 1
For this week's lesson we listened to Angel Food's A surprise for a King, which is on what we can do to love God.

Lesson 2
You can also check out Family Catechism's lesson on loving others.

We are learning the Salve Regina by watching and listening to this version on youtube. I like this one because it has both Latin and English subtitles, as well as beautiful art.


Lesson 1: Shakespeare
We began our history lesson on William Shakespeare by reading Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare. We followed that up with making our own Globe Theatre using a printout from Paper Toys. No, this was not an easy project. Yes, it is very small. Yes, my children think it is the coolest. They added their own flag to fly on days when the theatre is open.

Bean also read several Shakespeare Can Be Fun! books. She liked the comedies the best.

Finally, it would have been really cool to make this free Shakespeare lapbook from Homeschool Helper Online, but I'm thinking I'll save that for when Bean does Gamma Year again in 6th grade.

Lesson 2: Roanoke
For our lesson on Roanoke we began by reading Roanoke: The Lost Colony

Kevin and the kids then brainstormed what they would need if they were to start their own colony. After a very animated and passionate brainstorm, which included things like "friendly indians" and "beer and wine", they mapped out their colony.

We lumped science into one lesson this week because you use multiple materials multiples times and I didn't want to drag them out again.

Here are the many supplies you'll need. (P.S. This is a really fun lesson.)

This lesson is broken up into three stations.

At the first station the kids use red and blue litmus paper to find out if a substance is an acid or a base. Instead of using multiple paper cups like suggested, we used a Styrofoam egg carton for the different substances and then charted our results.

At the second station the kids used red cabbage juice to determine if a substance is an acid or a base. You can either make your own juice, which apparently doesn't work as well as the alternative of purchasing jiffy juice powder for $20.00 (after shipping) on Amazon. 

BUT here's what I suggest... buy the My First Mind Blowing Science kit from Amazon for $15.00 (it's Prime eligible) or at Michael's with a 40% off coupon, it comes with a small pouch of jiffy juice powder and a whole host of other stuff for experiments. Smart, right? I mixed a small amount of the powder with a cup of water, basically until the juice was a deep red, and there is still plenty of it for other experiments from the kit.

The kids used a pipet to mix the juice with substances because pipets are fun.

Finally, at the third station, the kids used pH indicators to determine pH levels.

Be careful when buying your strips because many of them only test from level 4.5-9, or something limited like that. You want to get strips that run the full range from 1-14.

When we finished with the things we were asked to test, I let the kids pick out one item from the fridge to test. Bean picked syrup and Paul went for ketchup. It made for quite the colorful egg carton when we were done.

After we completed the experiments we took our graphed results and made a... um... thing for our chemistry lapbooks that we are slowly collecting... things for.

We wrote the memory work on the front and the corresponding results behind the flap.


Lesson 1
To review the multiples of 7 we played a version of paper football.

The kids flicked the football to the end zone and if it made it into the marked off rectangle then they scored 7 points. We didn't include field goals to keep things simple. Each player got 4 downs (3 tries) to try to score. If they did not score we marked 0 points and the player had to turn the ball over to another player.

Chefs = Chiefs. Bean is not the first to make the Chefs mistake. Great googly-moogly.

Lesson 2

For our second lesson I had the kids cover all of the numbers on the chart BUT the multiples of 7. You can download the chart, and several other worksheets for learning the multiples, at Currclick.


Lesson 1

This week was a great week to play Timeline Pictionary because the cards are very easy to illustrate. Here is Bean's rendition of the nativity. She was having so much fun with the pictures I just let her keep going.

Lesson 2

Putting the pictures into our timeline book this week was quite interesting because all of the events happened in rapid succession, so above is what we came up with.

Since May we have been studying one state per week to go along with our study of North American geography. Here are the states I've blogged about so far. You could pick one thing from each lesson or just do something fun about a few states each week. I'll keep linking to the state studies as we move through our Journey Across America!

New York
New Jersey
West Virginia

Great Words I
We finished off our memorization of The Moon by Robert Louis Stevenson this week using this cute picture book by Tracey Campbell Pearson!

Be saints, it's worth it!