Faithful Favorites #2

Friday, April 25, 2014

These are a few of my favorite things...this week anyway :)

This sweet jam

Yeah I said jam.  I cannot stop jamming out to this song, "You Won't Let Go" by Michael W. Smith.  I know.  I'm super cool.  

Just give it a click and listen as you read on.  Give it at least until 52 seconds. :)

I'm feelin it.

Anchor quote printable

Yes.  Because of the song.  And because anchors are too freaking cool.  I'm really into quotes as decor, and I found this free printable from Simply Faithful.

Anchor Quote Printable
Simply Faithful

It's a little hard to see here, but if you go towards the bottom of the post (linked in the caption), you'll see the link to the pdf.  And, it should fit in an 8x10 frame.  Your welcome.

Flavored water

Refreshing Flavored Water much better for you than soda!
Naturally Flavored Water
The Yummy Life

Drooling yet?  So excited that fresh fruits and herbs are soon to be in season.  This totally makes me think of summer and how awesome these will be sitting by the pool.  Ahhhh.  

I've only really tried lemon water, which is very refreshing and apparently very good for you, but I will certainly be trying a few of these in the near future.  Especially with some mint!

DIY Hydrangea wreath

Hydrangea Wreath Tutorial
Kris Kraft
I love hydrangeas.  And I love this wreath.  Due to having a double front door, I guess I'll be making two of these bad boys.  First world problems.

Many blessings!


Easter is just getting started!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I hope you all had a very blessed and joyful Easter Sunday!  Our weekend was full of family, which was wonderful and busy!  The best kind of busy.  

Most people think that Easter is over, but not for most Christians!  Easter is a season, not a day, and lasts for 50 days.  Woo hoo!

This makes me happy because there are lots of fun Easter things that I did not get done on my hectic (but awesome) Easter weekend.  Now we have about 45 more days to celebrate!

So, here are some ways that our family is going to continue celebrating Easter until Pentecost (June 8 of 2014):

Track the 50 days of Easter.

Just like with an Advent or Lent calendar, we will print out and color in each day.  I got some fun springy stickers with the egg dye kit I bought, so maybe we will cover it in stickers instead!  Yes we are a little late getting started...better late than never, right?!  Here are a couple to choose from:

Free Printable Easter Calendar
Erin Crisci

Free Printable Easter Calendar
Catholic Icing

Watch kid-friendly Resurrection videos.

We read about the Resurrection of Jesus from our various children's bibles and story books, but videos are another great way to teach them about the Easter story.  The one below starts off just after the Crucifixion and follows through to Jesus' Resurrection.  It gives some great information that is good to know before doing the Resurrection rolls below.  And if you google "Bible Stories New Testament", there are a bunch in this series that tell Gospel stories.

Make Resurrection rolls.  

These are so simple, and such a delicious way to teach about Jesus' Resurrection.  I've seen several posts about Resurrection rolls, but I like this one from Happy Home Fairy because it includes a story to tell as you make them that connects it to Jesus' death and resurrection.

Resurrection Rolls
Happy Home Fairy

Complete our Lenten goals.

During Lent our family set some goals, which are detailed in my post Preparing for Lent with Kids.  We have been collecting money for Lenten Almsgiving, which we decided to send to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital because  Grace's school is doing a trike-a-thon fundraiser for it.  

We also collected toys, clothes, and other items to donate.  Some were already given to a homeless shelter, but we will have to figure out where the rest are going. 

We will also continue with our daily rosary. 

Make an Easter prayer jar or chain.

Grace really enjoyed the Lenten chain to count down the days of Lent, where we prayed for different people each day.  
This is a similar idea for the 50 days of Easter.  I love this Easter prayer jar from Wee Little Miracles.  

Easter Family Prayer Jar
Wee Little Miracles

There are 50 free printable prayers for the Easter season that can be cut out and put in a jar to pull out each day or made into a chain to count down the days of Easter.

Set a new faith goal.

Prayers and Praises Chalkboard

A few weeks ago, I posted this prayer board in my Faithful Favorites #1.  I know that I can be a bit of a procrastinator on making fun objects when there are soooo many things on my to-do list.  So, my plan is to choose at least one tangible thing I want to accomplish during the Easter season that will help bring my family closer to God.  Mark my words, I am going to make a prayer board.  Even if it is on the 50th day of Easter!

Color Easter pictures.

My kids always love coloring pages, and many of them can be used to explain the events or lessons of the Easter story.  I'll be printing a few of these!

Easter Coloring Pages
Free-N-Fun Easter

Have a wonderful Easter season!

Good Friday for the Family

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Good Friday is one of those days that does not get the recognition it should.  Probably because we enjoy the joyous occasions more than the suffering.  But what would spring be without winter?  What is the joy of the Resurrection on Easter without the sorrowful Crucifixion on Good Friday?  

The last few years, as I have grown in my understanding and appreciation of my Catholic faith, I have developed a love of this day.  

good friday quotes Happy Good Friday 2014 – Quotes, Images and Wallpapers Etc.
Happy Festives
To be quite frank, my family and most in our country are spoiled.  We don't know real hunger.  We don't know what it's like to live in constant fear or danger.  We don't go without the things we need, let alone many of the things we simply want.  This is a true blessing that is often taken for granted.  

On Good Friday, I am reminded of real suffering and sacrifice.  Fasting, abstaining from meat, and reflecting on Jesus' death on this day are ways that I can give up some of the comforts in my life to grow closer to God.

There is some great information about Good Friday here.  The following are ideas for having a reverent Good Friday with your family.

1.  Learn about Jesus' death.

Obviously the story of Jesus' death is a disturbing one, and it should be carefully considered what and how to share it with kids.  Grace (almost 5) knows pretty much all the details from the scouring at the pillar to the Crucifixion.  She has heard the story right from the bible, and she has seen a couple animated shows depicting the events.  I am careful that what I share with her is age-appropriate and isn't too graphic or scary.  However, some books seem to gloss over it a little too much, and I think that it's important for kids to understand the pain and sacrifice that Jesus went through for us.

One of the better videos I've seen is a short animated film called The Witness, which tells the story of Jesus' arrest, death, and Resurrection from the perspective of Barabbas (the murderer released instead of Jesus).  

But if it's already Good Friday, here is a good video and you don't have it, here is a better option.  It doesn't go through Jesus' arrest, scourging, or crowning of thorns, but it gives a good overview of Jesus carrying the cross and His death.

Good Friday Coloring Pages
Good Friday Coloring Pages
9 Coloring Pages

Coloring pages, like these can also help kids better understand the events of the Lord's Passion.

2.  Pray the Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross are depictions of Christ's journey carrying the cross to His Crucifixion.  Like me, you may have seen them along the walls at church and not known exactly what they were for (oops!).  

Most Catholic churches set aside time during Lent to pray the Stations of the Cross, especially on Good Friday.  Here are some resources for praying the Stations of the Cross with your family:

Printable Stations of the Cross Book

little stations of the cross booklet
Printable Stations of the Cross Booklet
Catholic Playground

And here is a simple video Stations of the Cross, perfect for kids.

3.  Celebrate the Lord's Passion at church.

Interestingly enough, I just learned that the Celebration of the Lord's Passion service on Good Friday is technically not a mass.  It is unique in that the Eucharist is not celebrated (although Hosts consecrated on Holy Thursday are received), and it has a very solemn overtone, as Jesus' death is mourned.  The service begins and ends in silence, and also includes the Veneration of the Cross.  These are important details that I'll be sure to explain to Grace beforehand, so that she will understand what's happening and be more engaged.

4.  Focus on the cross.

Good Friday is a great time to focus on making the sign of the cross with young children.  Ada and Lucas (both 2) are starting to try to do it on their own.  Which is super cute.  Here's a very short little video from the Brother Francis series:

There are also some simple crucifix crafts that can be used as decorations throughout the year. 

Easter Cross Decoration
Easy Foil Cross Craft
Mumma Made It

And Allison at Learn Play Imagine made my life easier by compiling a bunch of other cross crafts:
10 beautiful cross crafts for kids
10 Cross Crafts for Kids
Learn Play Imagine

4.  Eat special foods.

Good Friday is a day of fasting and abstinence from meat for adults.  But there are also some special foods that could be eaten on this day.  

Hot Cross Buns are a European tradition, supposedly started by monks who gave them to the poor.  They have a cross on them to remind us of Jesus' Crucifixion.  There are plenty of more complicated recipes, but I'm going with this one from Pillsbury!  Because that's how I roll.

Crescent Hot Cross Buns
Crescent Hot Cross Buns

I also like this idea for a symbolic lunch or snack from Catholic Icing.  It would be great to read the gospel reading for Good Friday as you explain each item.

A scripture lunch that tells the story of the Passion of the Lord. Perfect for Good Friday!
Easter Story Lunch
Catholic Icing

 I hope that you and your family have a blessed Good Friday!

A simple and holy Holy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

So far this Holy Week I have been doing a lot of spring cleaning and working on my Lenten goals, as Easter is this Sunday!  Even though Grace has been home from school this week, I have to admit I don't feel like I've done enough with the kids for Holy Week, so I'm going to do the Easter Triduum right!  (That being Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday).  

Holy Thursday commemorates The Last Supper, where Jesus instituted the Eucharist and celebrated Passover with His disciples, on the day before His death.  Read more about Holy Thursday here

Here are some simple ideas I found for celebrated Holy Thursday with your family:

1.  Learn about the Last Supper.  

We will read about the Last Supper from our various Children's bibles.  There is also a simple reading here.  As Catholics, it is  important that any telling of the Last Supper is true to the bible and doesn't use phrasing, like "this is like my body"when discussing the Eucharist.  This wording leads the reader to believe Jesus was merely speaking of the bread and wine as symbols, and not His actual body and blood.

I also reviewed many Last Supper videos from YouTube before deciding on the one posted below.  Most of the videos exclude important parts of the story, like Jesus washing the disciples' feet or the institution of the Eucharist.  The whole thing is about 24 minutes long, but if you want the shortened version you can start around 14 minutes.


2.  Attend the Evening Mass of The Lord's Supper

Before mass, we will read the readings aloud as a family and discuss what we will see at mass.  It helps to explain in advance the ritual washing of the feet that takes place at mass and relate it to the gospel reading from John 13:1-15.

3.  Bake unleavened bread.

As He celebrated Passover, Jesus and His disciples would have eaten unleavened bread.  Here is a simple recipe that I plan to make tomorrow with the kids:

bake unleavend bread wtih kids
Unleavened Bread Recipe
Catholic Icing

4.  Color scenes from the Last Supper.

Print and color.  That is all!

jesus washes his disciples feet coloring pages
Jesus Washes Feet Coloring Page
Coloring Book 4 Kids

Last Supper Coloring Page
Holy Bible Coloring

5.  Create a Holy Thursday craft.

I'm not going to lie, I probably won't get as far as crafts this year, but here are a couple that I might come back to next year!

Chalice and Eucharist Craft
Roses for Mommy
P.S. - Roses for Mommy looks like a pretty great little blog that I hadn't seen before.

Last Supper Craft
Catholic Icing
This one would be better for older kids, as it requires a lot of fine motor skills and cutting.  And if you haven't noticed already, Catholic Icing is pretty much awesome, and I should pretty much just forward everything she does there.  

Well I now feel a little more organized for Holy Thursday, and hopefully you have a few ideas, as well!

Being a mom is hard. I can't do it alone.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Almost always, the greatest challenges in my day come from being a mother (and aunt, in my case).  

My daughters, Grace & Ada, and nephew, Lucas

Raising children is arguably the most important and rewarding job on earth.  But as we all know, the greatest rewards usually (always?!) come with great demands.  

Besides the physical demands, we mothers often expect so much of ourselves, that we constantly feel like we're not good enough:  Not patient enough, fun enough, prepared enough, creative enough, or put together enough.  

Because if I rely solely on myself to be the mother that I should be, I will always be let down.

The best days are the ones that I put in God's hands and rely on Him to take care of everything.  I turn to Him and ask for the strength and grace that only He can give me, to do the critical job at hand.  When I do this, I am more flexible in my plans, more forgiving of my mistakes (and the kids' mistakes!), and more focused on what's really important: serving God.  When I do this, the poopy diaper that leaked, the jelly on the couch, the flat stroller tire, and the torn book don't seem like such big deals.     


A few months ago at mass, I picked up a prayer card for mothers.  I love it so much, I have it taped to the mirror in my bathroom, so that I see it first thing every morning.  I thought a larger, more attractive version might be nice to hang up, so I made this one:

Image courtesy of twobee /

I made an enlarged 8 x10 printable version that you can

CLICK HERE to print free.

I also found these two other quotes that I think 
are just perfect:

A Mother's Prayer: This is really beautiful, one day this will be my life's goal
The Time-Warp Wife
(By the way, The Time-Warp Wife is an awesome website for wives and mothers!)

from Pinterest, source unknown


And I'm pretty sure most (if not all) of us feel like the "grouchy mom" every now and then.  I love these FREE Printable Verse Cards for the Grouchy Mom from The Better Mom (below).  Such great reminders when we're having a rough day!

Printable verse cards for moms who struggle with anger (or feeling grouchy)
The Better Mom

Focusing on God has been especially important for me as a mother.  I hope you found something here that will help you too!

- Jessica

Faithful Favorites #1

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I thought it might be fun to share some weekly inspiration and awesomeness that I've come across during my week.  Here are a few of my favorite things from this week:

Planting guides!

Germinating Guides
Cultivators Corner

This being the first spring that we are in our new house, we are very excited about getting a garden going.  These easy-to-read guides from Cultivators Corner tell the best temperatures for germinating lots of different veggies.  You can even print them right from the website.  Now I just need to find some info on growing fruits!

Stories to countdown to Easter!

This Lent, I've been pretty focused on teaching Grace all about Jesus' life, death, and resurrection.  A few weeks ago, a friend of mine sent me this pin on Pinterest from The True Confessions of Mrs. Olson:

12 Stories about Jesus
The True Confessions of Mrs. Olson

I like the way she used hands-on materials or created little activities to go with each major story of Jesus' life.  I may not do each one, but they sure give me a great jumping off point.

Prayer Boards

magnetic prayer board
Prayer Board
Dukes & Duchesses

This was one of my first finds when I joined Pinterest, and it has been on my to-do list ever since!  I really want to make a prayer board that can be displayed in our home as a daily reminder of prayer.  It's also a great way to recognize how our prayers have been answered.

The same friend who sent me the pin about the Jesus stories (above) also sent me this other version of a prayer board from Etsy that I love:
Prayers and Praises Chalkboard
Now I just have to actually get on making one!

Awesome Band

Back in February, I shared my Speak Life playlist, a list of songs that I've been listening to a lot that have positive lyrics and really move me.  

Four of the songs on the playlist are from Rend Collective Experiment, a folksy Christian band from Ireland, that reminds me of Mumford & Sons.  They just came out with a new album, called The Art of Celebration, and they tell about it in this video:

So good, right?!

Well, I hope you enjoyed seeing/hearing about some of my favorite things this week.  And hopefully I will get on planting that garden and making my prayer board!

God bless,