Friday, February 15, 2013

Custom Necklaces

Here's my latest custom necklace order- one for a boy and and one for a girl.   I was a little nervous about making a beaded necklace for a boy, but I am pleased with the way it turned.

First Milestones

The first year of a baby is one exciting year.  The milestones fly by so fast, it's hard to find time to document them.  Today, we finally got some pictures of Faustina smiling. She's been smile for a couple weeks now, but those first smiles are so elusive!  She's been giving my girlfriends big ones, but she's very stingy for Daddy and her siblings. I guess she likes the mammas :) 

I recently read a statistic that 94% of baby with Downs Syndrome are aborted. That number seems too high to believe. Surely, that can't be right.  One thing is for certain, the most dangerous place for a baby with disabilities is in the womb.  I am adding this petition for Downs babies to my daily prayers- that they survive the womb- the one place that is supposed to be the safest.  I am told that in third world countries people with disabilities are abused and mistreated, but here in our 'civilized' world, we just kill them before they can take their first breath.  Ok, I am trying really hard not to go into my "WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD??" rant, so I will stop here.

Brighter news: Faustina started rolling too! She's rolls from her tummy to her back.  It makes mandatory tummy time a little hard when she's constantly flipping to her back.  I lay her down, she rolls on her back. I put her back on her tummy, she rolls back to her back, again and again. 

This boy loves his baby sister!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mother Love Winner!

Thank you to all that entered the giveaway! The winner of the Mother Love prayer book is Mary. I will be emailing her shortly for her address.

To those of you who ordered the Jesse Box, I hope you enjoy it! I am looking forward to doing the first Lenten Reflection after the kids start to feel better. We've been hit by a cold here- some more than others. Trying to get my kids to drink their broth more frequently so they recover more quickly!

Have a Blessed Lent!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Awesome New Product and Giveaway!

I am so excited to tell you about a very special new product for Catholic kids that I had the pleasure of reviewing.  It's called the Jesse Box.   The kind people at Angelus Press allowed me to review one  to get the word out.  And they sent me another little gift which I will be giving away here on this blog (more on that below).

To really understand this brand new product, you have to watch the video- it's such a neat idea! Don't think, 'Jesse Tree', because that what I initially thought when I heard the name.  It's not that at all.

If you watch the video, you'll understand the concept better, but basically, the box transforms into a stage where the children act out the stories of the Bible.  The box includes all you need to for Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter, but online you can print out more stories and even more will be coming every four months. I'm looking forward to printing out the Origins of the Eucharist props and story!

When I got our Jesse Box in the mail, I couldn't wait until Lent to try it out, so here's our pictures of using it for the Feast of the Presentation.  The great thing about this learning tool is that it can be used with any Bible story.  It's meant to be an aid for families to share the Gospel in their homes, with their children, so representing the story is only one element.   From this special family time, children encounter Jesus present in the Word.

Step 1: Read the Gospel
 I plan to make the Jesse Box a Sunday tradition.  Reading the Gospel with my kids is something I've always wanted to get in the habit of doing- especially on Sundays, so this is perfect!

Here's the documentation of our first "Jesse Box Time".

Step 2: Cut out the props

Step 3: Create the Scene
Creating the scene: Liam making the temple for the Feast of the Presentation (these blocks are not included)
Step 4: Recreate the Scene.  This is where we found ourselves explaining a lot of things to the kids about the bible how to haggle for the price of turtle doves for the offering.  Here Analee was selling them to "Joseph" while Mary and Jesus sat on the donkey.  This was really funny, actually.
The scene in the Temple: Anna with sacrifice, and Simeon talking with Joseph and Mary (the bird was not included)

I think the secret to success with this product and to keep it from being just another toy on the shelf is to keep off the toy shelf!  I'm not going let my kids play with this except when it's "Jesse Box time".   It's not going to be an everyday toy in house; I want its purpose to be kept sacred.

Setting up the environment for a prayerful family time is also key.  On the video and in the booklets, there are suggestions on ways to help prepare the environment like laying out a table cloth (very Montessori!), lighting a candle, and saying a prayer before even reading the Bible story.

The kids had a great time with this! They couldn't wait to do it again.
The Presentation in the Temple (See, you can create any bible story!)

The Jesse Box is perfect for the kinesthetic learner who has to being doing something to really understand it.  Sometimes just having things in your hand, helps to make the connection.

This was a prop from the Exodus story, but I thought she made a perfect "Anna".   (Duck was our own prop)

The first thing I noticed about this product is the beautiful artwork. It's not at all like the cheesy children's toys I am used to seeing.  It's gorgeous-even the box- even the box that that box came in!

So, would I buy this?  Absolutely!  I almost did after watching the video, then I went back to read the email more closely and read that the folks at Angelus press were going to send me one to review.  Imagine my delight!

I was going to buy for an Easter gift for the kids, but this way, we can use it for Lent.  Included in the box is a Lent/Easter booklet with a mini prayer service for every Sunday and all the props you need for the readings.  I am looking forward to starting this!  It's going to be a nice addition to our Lenten tradition of saying the Stations of the Cross on Fridays.

They also sent me Mother Love a beautiful prayer book for mothers that I often use for my morning offering.  It includes my favorite "After Communion" prayers (that I pray in the morning because they are so beautiful).  Since I already have one, I am giving this away for free! ($24.00 value) (U.S. and Canada residents only).

To enter the giveaway, I ask that you go to the Angelus Press website and view the Jesse Box video, then leave a comment here.  For second entry, share this post it on Facebook, blog, Twitter, or email and leave a second comment telling me you did so.   I will choose a random winner for the Mother Love prayer book on Thursday.