Welcome to the LittleWays – finding ways to celebrate our love of Jesus and our faith in all the little ways daily as inspired by St. Therese!
I love being Catholic –there are so many reasons to rejoice and celebrate all the time. Now that my children are getting a bit older feast days have become a time of great joy and celebration for us in a whole new way. You can find a reason to celebrate almost every day as a Catholic from liturgical seasons, to feast days – life is such a blessing! I thought it would be fun to start sharing some of the ways we are rejoicing and celebrating in our faith.
I always love finding new ideas to do with my kids. My son loves to eat and my daughter loves crafts so it’s always easy to generate excitement in our house hold! Welcome to my new blog The LittleWays – finding ways to celebrate our love of Jesus and our faith in all the little ways daily as inspired by St. Therese!View Post →
Valentines Day seems to have started early in our house hold – my kids are busy making beautiful personalized Valentine’s Day cards for family and friends. We printed a nice little message, got some big foam hearts, small foam hearts and stickers from the dollar store and with their imagination they have created endless beautiful cards they can’t wait to give with love on the feast of St. Valentines! They have spend hours already and still have many hours to go to create a special message of love for everyone on their list! Who can blame their wonderful excitement – their joy if just contagious – the count down is one to celebrate this feast of love!
Easy Valentines Day Heart Crown!
If you have a special princess of prince in your life you might consider making a special heart crown for them – just cut out hearts about 3 – 4″ high all the same size and glue them in a circle to fit their heads and you have a beautiful crown of hearts!
About St. Valentine - from Happy Saints
‘Love One Another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.’ John 13:34
St. Valentine was a holy priest who lived during a time when Christians were not welcomed in the Roman Empire. He helped many who were imprisoned or were hiding from Roman soldiers. In the end, St. Valentine himself was captured and killed for his faith. He died on February 14, which became known as St. Valentine’s Day. St. Valentine’s Day became a lovers’ holiday because it was said that St. Valentine was killed for marrying Christian couples. Another tale had him writing letters of encouragement to the jailer’s daughter when he was in prison. What is important is that St. Valentine loved as Jesus loves. Jesus loves us so much He sacrificed His Life to save us. Likewise, St. Valentine risked and lost his life while helping others through selfless love. Let us love each other as Jesus loves us!
Click here to download the above free St. Valentines Day Card PDF (Can be used free for personal and non-commercial use only!)
If you like this free resource and want some more than visit the Happy Saints project where you can download a couple more free printable or you can purchase printable ebooks from Happy Saints to learn more about Happy Saints visit my precious post on them.
I used this lovely craft with my own family last year and this year as part of a Catechism lesson for 3 & 4 year olds. We talked about how God has written us Love Letters and after the lesson they each completed this craft to have their own love letters from God to read each day with their families as they count down to the feast of St. Valentine! They loved making this craft -(with lots of help;)) We just glued the first scripture verse to teh top heart by folding it in half and then continued the chain down to save on using the pipe cleaners. You can download this wonderful free resource from Catholic Icing
Sweet Printable Count Down Scripture Cards for Valentines Day from A Happy Home Fairy
As an alternative to doing a chain you might prefer making these sweet reusable countdown cards which could also be doubled up as valentines cards – by writing a personal message on the back!
If you have access to a sewing machine, brown paper and some treats this might be the right valentines craft for you. I would add a sweet little message to the front – like Love is patient, Love is Kind, Happy, Happy St. Valentines!View Post →
Looking for cute, fun, catholic illustrations of saints or the stations of the Cross – then Happy Saints is the answer. This company offers adorable illustrations that can be printed as holy cards, birthday/Christmas cards, used as trading cards, to decorate cupcakes, for homeschooling, catechism, lent, coloring pages – well your imagination is the only limit!
Happy Saints offers a wide variety of products from e-books of Saints, cute adult and child catholic clothing, soft covered books of Christmas, Stations of the Cross, Eucharistic Miracle Stories and so much more!
We love using these to decorate our cupcakes for All Saints Day and Feast Day Celebrations. We plan to use them to with our daughter to help her create her 1st Communion Keepsake Lesson Scrapbook!
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In April our family began to start sharing jokes regularly with one another. My husband would look up new knock, knock jokes to share with our children – which would always result in lots of laughter and to our kids making their own knock, knocks and other jokes. Our four year old son really had a hard time getting the lines down at first he would tell them like this:
“Knock, knock” he would say “Who is..” I would start to reply and he would interrupt “Knock, knock who is there, who’s is the who!” it would lead me to giggling because he just wasn’t able to understand taking turns! But as time went on he started to grasp how to tell the jokes and really would get into it! One of his favorite jokes now is:
“Impatient cow MOOOOO!”
Which would lead to him making up one of his own such as:
“Who is there?”
“Can cow open the door!”
My daughter loved making up jokes and brainstorming about funny things different animals might do. When ever we had a gust over she would have to show them the jokes we had laid out with graphics to date! Here is one of the jokes she made of that we have included in the app:
As the months went on we started making up more of our own jokes. In the summer time when we were in a book store I saw a beautiful book in the children’s section with wonderful animal pictures – I showed it to my husband and said – you know you could make this with jokes so easily! The idea stayed in his mind for a few weeks and then one day he decided – he would make a joke app with beautiful animal images that kids could enjoy! We thought about it more and decided we would also add our families love of animals by including animal facts. Our family really enjoys animals – my older brother jokes that I am prepping my daughter to become a zoologist! We have enjoyed feeding animals at petting zoos, nature trails and farms so much – that when my son was two he would cry when we would go for a walk a wild squirrel or bird would not feed from his hand – he just could not grasp why they would not let him pet them or feed them!
We hope others enjoy this cute LittleCritter joke & animal fact app that we have enjoyed putting together so that other families can enjoy some wonderful laughs, make up their own jokes and enjoy each other’s company – at home, waiting at for an appointment or just when you need to add a little sunshine to your day!
Please feel free to share your families favorite joke or animal fact with us too – we would love to hear from you!
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Here is a simple and cute paper doll of St. Kateri, Lily of the Mohawks I made for kids to celebrate her beatified on Oct 21st or to use for her feast day.
Step1: Print out this St Kateri Paper Doll PDF it works best on card stock paper
Step2: Colour in the picture
Step 3: Cut out doll
Step 4: Enjoy! Either play with your new St. Kateri doll or use it to make a nice table centre piece or laminate it and decorate a cake to celebrate her feast day!
For even more fun print out this FreePaper Canoe for St. Kateri, Lily of the Mohawks to travel in!
Here is a simple St Kateri coloring page that I made with the paper doll image too!
Learn more about St. Kateri and see other crafts to do to celebrate her on my previous post St. Kateri, Lily of the Mohawks!
Here is a wonderful link with a complete lesson plan and story to teach children of all ages about St. Kateri! You just need to end with Today she becomes a Saint or on Oct21st, 2012 she became a saint!
Below: We printed the St. Kateri Paper doll at 66% (using advanced printed settings) so she would fit into the canoe nicely and glued the paper dolls to empty toilet roll holders so they could stand up (bending her feet outwards at the bottom)!
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On October 21st, 2012 a blessed becomes a Saint! The beautiful young women who lived from 1656-1680 whom we have known as blessed will now be Saint Kateri. Beatified by Blessed John Paul II in 1980, Kateri will be proclaimed the first Native woman saint by Pope Benedict XVI on October 21.
Tekakwitha’s baptismal name was Catherine, which in the Iroquois languages is Kateri. She lived a life of faith and hope! Kateri died at the young age of 24. Her last words are said to be, “Jesus, I love You!”. She is the patron saint of the environment and ecology.
Kateri’s Feast day: is April 17th (in Canada) and July 14 (in USA)
Here is a link to some beautiful original paintings of St. Kateri: Lily of the Mohawks 1 and 2 by Dorothy Speiser
“I am no longer my own. I have given myself entirely to Jesus Christ.”~ St. Kateri
With so much excitement building around this special canonization I thought I needed to get in on spreading the joy too! Here are links to some beautiful colouring pages and crafts to help celebrate the special day with your children:
Catholic Icing has some lovely craft ideas to help celebrate St. Kateri
Free printable craft sheet for creating Christian native headband from Catholicinspired.com
Blessed Kateri Colouring Page from Florida Centre for Peace
Holy Heros is offering a Free 6 page colouring book on St. Kateri
Holy Heros is also offering a great deal spend over $15 and get a free Glory Stories CD of St. Kateri’s and St. Cecilia’s life and a free holy card too!
Adorable St. Kateri Finger Puppet from Pinterest!View Post →
Teach your child to walk in the ways of the Lord and they shall not depart. We can hear this hundreds of times in our lives. But how do we actually do it.
Teaching our Children to love and fear the Lord is essential;
Teaching them they have a Father who loves and adores them is important!
Helping them to have a personal and deep relationship with Christ is critical.
So how can we as parents, strive to guide their beautiful souls –to have a personal relationship with their heavenly Father from preschooler – through teen years to mature adults?
Well the journey there like any, has many routes to get to the final destination. But one sure way to help your child get to their ultimate goal heaven – is to give them an internal GPS if you will… Engrave something so deep in their heart; that they hear the right directions. Even though they might not always choose to follow them, they can always make a U-turn and like any good GPS program – you can be sure “Your going the Wrong Way” will be blaring somewhere in the roots of their hearts – (if they decide to take the wrong or long route – the GPS will help them find the right roads back to their original destination). Hopefully they will choose to take the right path – but ultimately – God gave our children free will – just like he gave us. So let’s hide it in their hearts – so no matter where they go in this life – they will always know the way or the way back! Just what is it that we want to hide there? The WORD! Scripture – God’s beautiful gift of the word!
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you Psalm 119:11
Scripture is something I have come to love and appreciate more fully over that past few years. So when I wanted to start sharing scriptural memorization with my children – like any good sanguine (link to temperaments) – I jumped right in – but I have learnt along the way – although there are many scriptural verse websites and resources out there. Not all of them are written or geared if you will at young children. Let’s be honest a three year old can’t recite:
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
If it takes over two minutes to explain the text we have already lost them. So began my journey or quest if you will to find a fun, creative and interesting way to bring the word to life for my little ones (who were five, three and under one at the time). I wanted them to be able to recall scripture in times of strife, sorrow, joy – for it to be a tool for them to carry with them throughout their lives where ever they went. So the light and love of our Lord would always be with them.
So I created this blog posting in hopes to share what I have learnt and what I learn along the way!
Tips, Tricks and Ideas for Helping Make Scripture Memorization work with kids!
1. Everyone loves a reward!
My first great tip came from reading The Duggars: 20 and Counting!. In their book I read that they reinforce their younger kids with a candy when they can recite a scripture verse! Yes positive reinforcement – works! So find a reward that works for your family – a chocolate chip, sticker, lollipop, cookie, hug, etc (working with your Child’s Love Language would yield the best results)
2. Did Somebody say Routine!
As a sanguine it is really easy and exciting for me to start new ideas – but follow- through can be hard long term. But like anything if we want to be successful – we need to form a habit – we need to build a routine. So choosing the right style and time that will work for your family is essential. We find that right after breakfast or dinner works well for us. This way we can get the verse in once or twice that day. My 6 year old can actually recite it back by them. Of course life has a way of changing so we mix it up if needed. During the summer we might only get to the verse once or twice during the week. Lately we have been trying to do it with night prayers.
Some families we know do the same verse everyday for a week; others just do a verse once or twice a week on a set day. Do what works for your family – remember something if always better than nothing.
3. Keep it Fun – add a Gesture!
Keeping it fun and interesting for a three year old is essential – so we added hand gestures and movements. We do this as best we can to keep it fun and reinforce the scripture for easier memorization. Some verses are easier than others such as: You shall love the Lord your God. But the kids really enjoy helping to come up with the actions and showing them back to you! Especially when it involves things like jumping for joy.
4. Bringing it Home:
Bringing it home – don’t ask them to memorize something they don’t understand – engage them – ask them what do you think this scripture means? What is God trying to tell us? Use it as a teachable moment and clarify their answers. Most importantly offer a simple explanation i.e. –God loves us so much that he wants us to …
5. If you fall off the horse:
If you fall of the horse just get right back on again – if you forgot to do to the memorization for a few days, don’t get discouraged just try again – your perseverance will be rewarded! It might mean that you need to change when or how often you are doing your scripture verse.
6. Write it out/Print it out/Display it!
Have a special place to display your scripture verses. Have the older child read it or have them write it and decorate a q-card with it and display it on a picture frame in your kitchen window, tape it to a vase and have it in the centre of your table, post it on your fridge, etc! Get everyone involved and have the verse available to re-read throughout the day to help reinforce it. We actually painted our broom closet door in the kitchen and made it a chalkboard so now we can display our memory verses and see them anytime we need to! (This also gave me enough room to add my own scripture verse to learn too)
Other ideas – write the verses out on sticky notes – stick them in your child`s lunch, on the bathroom mirror, in the car, on their pillow, on their desk.
When they are young just teach them the word, once they are older teach them the reference to the quote. So they can recall the book in the bible to look it up – it won’t be hard to add the book because they will already know the verse! When they are older it is easier to get them to memorize the reference to the scripture as they are old enough to understand the context and can appreciate why it is helpful to know where to find it. i.e. – 1 John 3:7 doesn’t mean too much to my three year old but “God loves you” certainly does
8. Live it out!
Lead by example, show your memorization knowledge – let them test you – let them see you read the bible. Actions speak louder than words – St. Francis said “Preach always and if necessary use words!”
9. Quality not quantity!
It’s not about the quantity but the quality – revisit the same scripture verses if you think they are applicable to a situation your family is going through or if you think the little ones need to re-learn it. Follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance, be flexible!
10. Share the word regularly!
Share the word regularly at bedtime, meal times or whatever time works best for your family. Read your children bible stories – everyday if you can – form them in the word. We try to include at least one bible story a day at bedtime. Purchase some high quality attractive bible story books or devotionals that capture your young ones attention– Here are some Bible Story Books for Children that I highly recommend that my children love!
- The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name – age 3 to 100 !
- Little Girls Bible Storybook for Mothers and Daughters and Little Boys Bible Storybook for Fathers and Sons- age 4 and up
- The Beginner’s Bible – age 1 -6
- God’s Wisdom for Little Boys: Character-Building Fun from Proverbs and God’s Wisdom for Little Girls: Virtues and Fun from Proverbs 31 age 2 and up
- Tiny Bear’s Bible – Newborn – toddler
- The Action Bible – Ages 8 and up
- His Little Princess: Treasured Letters from Your King (His Princess)– Age 6 and up
- VeggieTales Bible Storybook: With Scripture from the NIrV (Big Idea Books) – Ages 2-7
I invite you to join in and start today to hide the word in your child`s heart! It only takes a few minutes but it will last a life time!
A wonderful verse to start with is a very special one – every Jewish Child use to have to know this by heart:
“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
Deuteronomy 6:5 Translation: NASV
Another one if the greatest commandment:
He answered, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind.
And you must love your neighbor as yourself.”
Luke 10:27 Translation ISV
Here are some fun free Scripture Resources:
- Valentines Count Down Chain - the kids really enjoyed doing this chain last year we counted down to Valentines Day then we repeated them and made the chain up again for the rest of February!
- Valentines Scripture Count Down Cards – going to try this one this year
- 10 Scriptural Affirmations for Kids – beautiful print out!
- ABC Scripture Cards - Great for preschoolers
- Top Ten Scripture Verses to Learn with your Kids – nice scriptures to start with
- Character chart – easy to print out and have older children write out and decorate q-cards to learn!
Wonderful Websites to Help with Scripture Memorization with Children:
- Free Downloadable Scripture Set to Songs that you can download for free: Heart Seed
- Offers a Free Program to teach Scripture set to Nursery Rhymes and other Songs
- Free Printable Sheet of Scriptures and the Virtue they help to Teach
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I have very exciting news children’s award winning author Sally Lloyd-Jones has written a new book Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing – we are so excited to read this new book. She is one of our favourite authors for children. Her previous book also illustrated by JAGO The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name is my eldest daughter’s favourite book of all time! We have read it so many times the binding is starting to give – which says alot because the book is so well made. We even bought the deluxe edition so that we have the book on CD and listen to it in the car.
I frequently catch my daughter telling her brother stories and answering his faith questions with quotes from the Jesus Story Book Bible. We have given so many of these books away as gifts too! This book is well illustrated and so beautifully written you can’t wait to read the next story. It is a written starting with creation showing God’s plan of love for his people and weaving and revealing his plan of salvation through the old and new Testament. It is written for children but every adult who reads this book grows spiritually too! My husband and I would update each other on the stories we missed as we were rotating books at bedtime when we first started to read the book! We just didn’t want to miss out on the journey through this amazing book. You can see my previous post on this book here!
So when I heard an interview on the radio with Sally Lloyd-Jones yesterday answering questions about her new book I was so ecstatic that I per-ordered Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing today for a Christmas gift for the kids. She wrote this book as her niece was being bullied at school and she thought if only her niece knew how much she was loved by her heavenly father it would make all the difference. Then she decided I will write a book with stories to tell her just this and so her beautiful book was written!
Here is a description of the book from its official website: “Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing shares profound spiritual truths from the Bible told in a conversational tone—drawing insights from creation, history, science, and the writings of great thinkers, preachers, writers, and more—to turn the reader’s eyes toward the God who loves them with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always And Forever Love.” Source: http://thoughtstomakeyourheartsing.com/
So if your looking for the perfect gift for a child in your life look no further! I recommend The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name or Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing or for babies and preschoolers try her other amazing Lift-the-Flap BibleView Post →
My husband and I made a simple 3D rose craft to use to celebrate the feast of St. Therese, bring some nice colour to you dining table and help inspire the kids to join in spread love in lots of little ways!
Step 1 - Print out the rose pedals pdf
Step 2 – Have your child write an act of love, a prayer or sacrifice that they would like to offer in love to our Lord, like St. Therese did. You can learn more about the Little ways here
Step 3 – Colour in the rose petals and centre piece.
Step 7 – Tape/glue the 3rd petal behind the middle of the 2nd petal, continue until your petals are forming a nice round bud (you may only need to use 5).
Step 8 – Glue/Tape Centre piece
Step 9 – Admire your child’s masterpiece!
Alternative option would be to use the template to cut out coloured construction paper petals to form a bouquet of colours!
Today only Holy Heroes is offering a beautiful free downloadable pdf colouring book! Great to print and use through out the year for your church bag, rain days or craft time! Click on the image below for the colouring book!
You can also purchase a wonderful CD by Glory Stories on their website about the life of St. Therese and Saint Miguel de la Mora of the Knights of Columbus.View Post →
Angel of God my guarding dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day/night be at my side, to light, to guard, to rule and to guide – Amen
What is an angel – an angel is a pure spirit created by God. An important thing to clarify for younger children is that we won’t become angels when we die; the media loves to depict this image of everyone having wings in heaven. But while an angel is a pure spirit created by God, man is created in the image of God. After the creation of angels God created man and gave him dominion over the earth (Gen. 1:16).
Here is a sweet little cut out angel craft that I made to do with my kids on Tuesday! It is simple and easy to do!
What is an Angel
An angel is a pure spirit created by God. The English word “angel” comes from the Greek angelos, which means ‘messenger’.
Who are the Angels: ( from the Catechism)
329 St. Augustine says: “‘Angel’ is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is ‘spirit’; if you seek the name of their office, it is ‘angel’: from what they are, ‘spirit’, from what they do, ‘angel.’”188 With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they “always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” they are the “mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word”.189
330 As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness.190
The Angels we know by Name:
We only know a few of the angel’s real names from the bible:
Angel Gabriel who is best known for the Annunciation to Mary, that she would be the Mother of Jesus, the Son of God (Luke 1:26-38) – Nice St. Gabriel Colouring Page by Matilda
St. Michael the Archangel (Jude 1:9) whom is referred to as the ‘prince’ of the heavenly hosts and whom can be seen in the book of Revelations. Free St. Michael the Archangel Colouring Page by Matilda
Angel Raphael – whom we see in the book of Tobas Free St. Raphael Colouring Page by Matilda
According to the church’s tradition we believe in angels and guardian angels. St. Jerome stated that: “how great the dignity of the soul, since each one has from his birth an angel commissioned to guard it.” The church teaches that the role of our guardian angel is to help guide us to good words, works, and thoughts and to help protect us from evil.
No evil shall befall you, nor shall affliction come near your tent, for to His Angels God has given command about you, that they guard you in all your ways. Upon their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. Psalm 91: 10-12
St. Bernard said “Always remember that you are in the presence of your Guardian Angel”
St Therese the Little Flower told her sister Céline this regarding her Guardian Angel: “Jesus has placed near you an Angel from heaven who is always looking after you; he carries you in his hands lest your foot strike against a stone. You do not see him, and yet he is the one who for twenty-five years has preserved your soul, who has kept its virginal whiteness; he is the one who removes from you the occasions of sin. …Your Guardian Angel is covering you with his wings, and Jesus, the purity of virgins, reposes in your heart. You do not see your treasures; Jesus is sleeping and the Angel remains in his mysterious silence. However, they are there with Mary who is hiding you also under her veil!…” (LT 161 4/26/1894) – Source
IN BRIEF (from the CCC)
350 Angels are spiritual creatures who glorify God without ceasing and who serve his saving plans for other creatures: “The angels work together for the benefit of us all” (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I, 114, 3, ad 3).
351 The angels surround Christ their Lord. They serve him especially in the accomplishment of his saving mission to men.
352 The Church venerates the angels who help her on her earthly pilgrimage and protect every human being.
What a comfort it is to teach our children that they are always in the presence of an angel and that at Holy mass the church is brimming full of angels joining in praise and worship of our Lord and King!
A wonderful book to read more about the angels is by Fr. Paul O`Sullivan called All About the Angels
Crafts for the Feast of the Holy Angels!
List of sites with free printable or great easy ideas for crafts to do with kids on the feast of the angels:
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Here is a simple craft for to use for the feast of the Holy Angels or to simply help teach your child or Sunday school class the Guardian Angel Prayer.
This can serve as a beautiful reminder that your child is always in the presence of their guardian angel!
Step 1 – Print PDF
Step 2 – Cut out pieces
Step 3 – Glue wings so that the thumbs are touching and over lapping.
Step 4 – Glue Angels hair onto wings
Step 5 – Glue White gown on to wings, tucked slightly under the hair
Step 6- Glue face on hair and gown
Step 7 – Draw a face and decorate the angel
Step 8 – Practice Prayer and enjoy!
*To personalize the craft only print the first page and then have your child trace their own hands on a coloured piece of paper to use for the wings.
To learn more about angels see Feast of the Holy AngelsView Post →