Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"This is outrageous. According to her, by "celebrating motherhood, society is creating a 'self-fulfilling cycle of discrimination.'" - Obama judicial nominee: abortion necessary to save women from ‘conscription’ into motherhood"

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Mostly Palm Sunday

I have been very remiss about posting. I have had much to post, but my camera has been broken for a month, and I dropped my phone (which has a camera) in a toilet! My husband let me use his phone this morning to snap a few pictures.

Tomorrow is Quinquagesima Sunday which is the last Sunday of Pre-Lent. I decided for Pre-Lent and Lent (until Passion and Palm Sundays) that I would alternate a Kingdom of Heaven Parable with a lesson about the Altar - reviewing geography as we have time. On Septuagesima we learned about the Good Shepherd and worked on identifying 4 bodies of water: The Dead Sea, The Jordan River, The Mediterranean Sea, and The Sea of Galilee on our Holy Land map. I did not get any pictures! I may see if my children will set up the Good Shepherd for me again. Last week for Sexagesima we began learning about the altar. Tomorrow we will learn about the Parable of the Mustard Seed. I am still finishing up my pieces for that.

I spent quite a bit of time this week preparing for Palm Sunday. When I was purchasing felt for the Mustard Tree, I spotted some gray textured felt that I thought would work well for the entry into Jerusalem.
I have been looking around for a donkey that my peg people could "ride." I took a donkey cookie cutter and cut out two sides which I then blanket stitched together. I stuffed the donkey with poly and left a hole in his back. Yes, just an unfinished place on his back that I can pop a peg person into. Then I only had 2 legs! I cut and stitched two more legs and then hot-glued them on. It actually stands upright!

I cut palm branches out of the various green felt I already had. Now I need to make cloaks; I just have not decided what shape to make them. My plan is to let the children scatter palm branches and cloaks on the path while singing the chorus "All Glory, Laud, and Honor." I hope to sing it until the littlest ones know it by the time we have our parish Palm Sunday procession.

I still need to create something to represent the walls of Jerusalem..still thinking about that.  At the end of the picture, there is a wooden structure that will double as a tomb and a Nativity cave. I thought $7 was a great price...until I was hit with the shipping!! Oh, well, it is exactly what I was looking for.

I will try harder to beg a camera for tomorrow's class, and be back with pictures!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Making Felt-and-Wood Saints

A couple of years ago there were several blogs posting ideas for making little saints out of felt and wooden "people pegs." I was very inspired even though I had no idea what Catechesis of the Good Shepherd was or how the little saints were being used. The simple faceless folks appealed to me, and I ordered beautiful felt and wool roving from Prairie Point Junction, and wooden figures from Casey's Wood Products. I made some Bible story figures, while my girls made the Narnia Pevensies.

I have pulled all my felts (including some el cheapo felt from the craft store) and wood out again to start making fresh figures for Sunday School. Unfortunately several blogs that originally inspired me are no longer available. I want to share with you how I have been making the figures as well as a couple of links still around.

I start both male and female figures with a wrap-around  "bodysuit" piece cut from a pattern found at Wee Folk Art. A pattern is included for the adult and child size. I have found that clear craft glue works fairly well for this step. I don't have a particular color scheme except blue and red for Mary, and white for Jesus (child and adult) and angels.

The next piece for the females is a cloak made from instructions at St. Thephan's Academy.
It is good to have a helper!
 A dog is not a good helper. Apparently the wooden people are irresistible.

I first glue a bit of wool roving to the "scalp," before I begin attaching the cloak. There are several ways you could fold the cloak in the back. To glue felt to felt, I have found hot glue guns work best.
The link for the pattern I used for the male cloak is no longer around, so I have improvised a bit. I take the pattern for the adult bodysuit and double the length. Then I cut out an "apron shape" and tie it on the figure over one "shoulder." I gave up on hair for the males. I really like my Zacharias figure with his hair and beard, but I had trouble with even clear glue drying like dandruff, and the hairstyles are less durable when played with.

I gave Zacharias a little incense and censer. He will probably make an appearance in the Child Jesus in the Temple presentation tomorrow. I really want to have some distinguishing marks for my 12 Apostles. I made a little bag shape with gray coins to glue on to Judas' black bodysuit. I may try and make keys for Peter and perhaps a St. Andrew's Cross to glue on St. Andrew's back. It is fun to play around with and experiment. I will post tomorrow with pictures from my Child Jesus in the Temple lesson.

Friday, January 11, 2013

She said...

My husband related a conversation to me that our 8-year old Buttercup had with a friend.

The friend apparently took the Lord's name in vain.

Buttercup: You are not supposed to take God's name in vain!

The friend: My mom is a missionary, and she says it is OK.

Buttercup: Well, my dad is a priest, and he says it is not!

I can't think who the friend could have been, but I am sure her missionary mom would be mortified to have heard that. Buttercup's priest father was grinning from ear to ear. ;)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Memory Verses

I was raised Baptist; we memorized Bible verses. Over the past 16 or so years since my conversion to Anglican Catholicism, I have been the pondering different approaches to Bible memorization. I talk to Roman Catholic friends, and they are skeptical about the "drill, baby, drill" approach to Scripture. They rightly point out that they and their children are very familiar with many passages of Scripture from hearing and singing the passages in church, as well as their private devotions. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17

The tricky bit is the "street address," as we called it then: chapter and verse. I recently had a discussion with my children about this. They, like my Roman catholic friends, are familiar with more Scripture than they realize. But I want more than familiarity for them. The Prayer Book collect for the Second Sunday in Advent says, "Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ." Yes, yes, that is what I want for myself and my children.

So many times I ask my husband, whose memory is better than mine (about religion, at any rate), "what is that know the one about..."  At the very least he points me to the correct book and chapter. (Sometimes, he comes back with a stack of books on the passage that I might want to look over.)

And, okay, I admit, I want my Baptist friends and relatives to think I am doing a good job. *blushes and hangs head*

I tried various plans for memory verses when I started homeschooling. Some plans were not so much plans as "I'm going to make this cute little memory verse card, and we are going to work on it for a week and then do something else entirely." I even laminated the cute little cards. The children were pleased with their accomplishments, but I did not know how to encourage retention.

As I started reading more about Charlotte Mason (and realizing it was not quite what I thought it was), I discovered the Scripture Memory System at Simply Charlotte Mason. I have a terrible aversion to reading instructions. Ugh. So I tried to ignore this method as long as possible.

This summer I finally admitted that I just was not getting the job done to my own satisfaction. So I read the instructions. And you know what? It is simple.

I won't go into the (simple) instructions on the Simply Charlotte site, but I will show you my box and make a few suggestions.
This is just a 3 x 5 index card box. I think I used 2 packs of plastic dividers. Simply Charlotte has a free template for cardstock dividers, but I was worried they would not hold up well. I really, really should have found little labels to stick on the tabs so the alphabet would not show through.

I print the verses on cardstock, four to a page. Sometimes I write the day we started working on the verse at the top of the card.

I have verses and longer passages already printed out for future use. Apparently when I printed the card above out, I thought cramming it all on one side was a good idea. I think I will reprint and staple multiple cards together.

I decided to include weighty religious quotations as well, perhaps reviewing one once a week instead of daily.

So this is our current system, and it is working really well. We review and learn the verses together. We spend however much time is needed on each verse. When I introduce a new verse, I have an opportunity to teach the girls something about the history, language, or interpretation of the verse. The girls are actually much better a memorizing the street addresses than I am!

What works for you in your home?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Epiphany Celebration

Sunday School is a learning experience for me every time. I "cram" for my Sunday School lessons. There is never any telling what some child or other will think to ask, so I do my research. But, of course, no matter how much I research or how carefully I prepare my crafts, I never know quite what will happen on Sunday morning.

I have been aware of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program for a while. Lately, I have been reading everything I can find about it. I have not found a course to take yet, so in the meanwhile I am using lessons from Moira Farrell's Home Catechesis and another Montessori resource Godly Play. Catechesis of the Good Shepherd requires 90 hours of training per level. I think the majority of the 90 hours must be to pass on the methods to creating and maintaining a quiet, purposeful classroom! ;)

The children were excited to see the materials I had prepared. They were a bit too high-spirited for quiet meditation, but they did plan their own Procession of the Magi which they presented to the parish during coffee hour. I had been frustrated that my lesson was not received the way I had imagined. When I saw them excitedly planning and presenting their procession, I realized they were assimilating the lesson in their own way. I also noted that this is a group that would respond well to more skits and choral activities.

After mass, some parishioners went to a Great Blessing of the Waters service held by a local Orthodox mission. Our parish and theirs have been meeting in the same general area of the large complex of a local Baptist church. In fact, we are meeting where they previously met; they had to switch places because their incense constantly set off the smoke alarms. (We only use incense during a sung mass or a solemn high. I really miss the incense - another reason to look forward to our new building!)

After a quick, impromptu picnic at our church building site - we just cannot stay away - we met at the large lake near our parish. The service was held under a bright blue and very cold sky. We did not really discuss it with our two girls other than to say, "The Orthodox celebrate Christ's Baptism today; we will in 2 weeks on Epiphany II," and frequent whispers of, "Did you hear that? What did that sound like? That's right!" The singing was absolutely lovely.

When we returned home we ate our camel cookies (before I got any pictures) with a quick chocolate-orange frosting and relaxed at home after a busy morning and afternoon. When the sun went down, we had an Epiphany house blessing and put the (traditional) initials of the Wise Men and the new year above the door. We prayed that, like the Magi, our comings and goings would be in search of Truth.
Now I am looking ahead to the lesson for Epiphany I: the Child Jesus in the Temple. I made a Temple for the presentation I did on the Purification/Presentation that I will use again. (2 wooden plaques and 8 wooden candlestick holders from H@bby L@bby)
I will reuse Mary and Joseph, and I bought a smaller peg to make the Child Jesus. The Wise Men were fun, but I am glad to go back to the simpler figures.

This site has a simple, but nice coloring page of the Child among the teachers. When I do a search for "jesus temple activity florida church," I get the cut and paste activity I used last year. I may offer it again with an optional activity for anyone who remembers it from last year. I also found a free board game here at The Catholic Toolbox. That might be something for the children to play during coffee hour. Let me know if you have other ideas for this Bible lesson, and I will include them in an Epiphany I post.
Thank you for visiting!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Epiphany & Liturgical Planning

The majority of my liturgical planning is done a year in advance. This is not because I am necessarily ahead of the game, but because I get great ideas watching everyone celebrate, and I store the links and resources away hoping I will find them the next year. Some years it actually works. Blogs and Pinterest have certainly made it easier to share ideas with like-minded people all over the world.

Here is a planning resource I have begun using from Sanctus Simplicitus to keep track of books and other ideas for celebrating. Here is the link to my Pinterest board 'Liturgical Planning - January' in case you are looking for last minute ideas for tomorrow, later in the Epiphany season, or next year. Last year we celebrated Epiphany using "Christmas to Candlemas in a Catholic Home" by Helen McLoughlin. This booklet from the 1950s contains recipes, prayers, and other ideas to celebrate the major feasts during the 40 days. A free copy is found in EWTN's online library here. There are Epiphany prayers, a house blessing, and two recipes. Your neighbors will want to know why you are writing on your house with chalk - have your answers ready!
Our Wise men travel around the main floor of our house during the Twelve Days of Christmas until finally arriving at the creche.
Somehow or other our family devotions never look quite like this. ;)
This year we are adding a couple of new things. I replaced a lost camel cookie cutter here. I practiced making this star with fairly good success. I will let the girls make some on their own tomorrow afternoon. I made some additions to my Infancy Narrative set of peg people for my Sunday School Class.
I like the simple look of the wood and wool felt, but I wanted my Eastern sages to look distinctly different from my Hebrews. I looked at several places for simple wooden camels, but finally settled on this olive wood set I got inexpensively on Etsy.
I glued real frankincense into one little wooden pot (I will have to get an essential oil to put on in because all I smell is glue now,) gravel painted with metallic paint in another, and clear glue in one to represent the myrrh as oil.

Our Sunday School lesson tomorrow will come from Moira Farrell's Home Catechesis 6-9 with a few additions ("wondering together")from Young Children and Worship. I will let you know how it goes - things rarely go as planned in our combined-ages-due-to-lack-of-space Sunday School class - and not just because they know I am easily distracted. ;)