Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ideas for Celebrating the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul (Jan 25)

January 25 is the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle. Since we've "adopted" St. Paul as our family's patron saint for 2012, I thought I'd share with you some ideas (some of which, are not originally mine to claim) for celebrating today's feast. (I tried Googling for ideas, but there seems to be only a few posts about it.)

We won't be able to use these ideas today though, since Timothy joined his Papa Anthony on a "mission trip" to Baguio to prepare for the Couples for Christ Magnificat Weekend Retreat (their FIRST ever trip together as father-and-son. I'm a bit nervous about it, but totally ECSTATIC too!) I hope we could still do them though, even on a different day. I'm really grateful to God for reminding me about "what is essential" through St. Paul's conversion.

Here are some ideas:

1. From Catholic Cuisine: "Although the story from the Acts of the Apostles doesn't mention St. Paul falling to the ground off his horse, it seems that is how the scene is always artistically rendered. After all, falling to the ground from a standing position hurts, but it isn't as dramatic as a fall from a horse!" 
Image source here.
a. Make horseshoe cookies and include other "horse-themed" dishes in the family's meals.
b. For snack time, prepare something horses eat, like celery or carrot sticks with dip.
(Find more ideas from Catholic Cuisine by clicking here.)

2. Read Bible stories about St. Paul. Tim's current Bible is "My Favorite Bible Storybook for Early Readers." We got it from Booksale, and although it's not a Catholic children's Bible, it's really good - Tim loves "reading" it with us! I like that the stories are a bit more detailed than those in our other Bible storybooks.

Alternatively, we plan to read (for the nth time!) the comic book about St. Paul that we bought a while back at the St. Paul's bookstore at Ali Mall in Cubao. Maybe we'll do some role-playing while we're at it! ;-)

3. Do St. Paul-themed activities. has some good ideas from their 2008 archives on celebrating "The Year of St. Paul." You may find these resources helpful:

Resources for Children and Families:

4. Watch videos about the Conversion of St. Paul. You can find these on YouTube. Here are two such videos:

Here's a music video about "Saul of Tarsus." (Note: Our internet connection is kinda spotty now, so I wasn't able to view the video - I hope you can do so without any problems though!)

Happy Feast Day everyone! To God be all the glory! ;-)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Teaching Our Kids To Be Grateful

We live in a time now where gratitude is something that is sometimes forgotten and often taken for granted. As parents, we would do well to teach our children to be grateful.

After all, it is usually when we take on an attitude of gratitude that we receive more blessings. Why? Because gratitude is "like a magnet," according to Bo Sanchez (who just happens to be one of my "big bosses" now - something I'm very grateful to God for!). The more we are thankful, the more we are blessed!

It is quite challenging to teach our little ones to be grateful though. Admittedly, it's a struggle for me too! ;-) Hopefully, these articles may be of help to us all, who are striving to teach our kids intentionally:

How To Instill Gratitude In Your Children
Give Thanks: A Unit Study About Gratefulness
10 Ways To Get Your Kids To Stop Whining (*Whiny kids usually tend to be ungrateful, too ;-)

Happy homeschooling, everyone! ;-) May God bless us all and may Mama Mary guide us, especially us moms! ;-)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Another confession (AND the Top 100 Educational Websites for 2012)

When I was a new mom, I told myself that I'd never let my kids watch TV or play computer games at a young age. Like fellow homeschool/work-at-home mom Blessie, I wanted my kids to "play outdoors, read books, and build things from scratch." (Yes, we homeschool moms are of the idealistic sort, aren't we?! LOL! ;-)

But, as most people probably know by now (through reviews I've written, like the ones here, here, here and here) I DO let my kids watch TV/DVDs (*gasp*) and I DO let them use the computer! In fact, I don't think our homeschool life would be as frugal and fun without it (the computer, at least!) *NOTE: The key word for our family now is frugal! He, he! :-)

Don't get me wrong though - our kids, like Mommy Blessie's, still get to play outdoors, read books (well, have books read to them at this point in time - two favorites are "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" and "The Runaway Bunny"), and build things from scratch (or recyclable items). We also like listening to audio stories, especially from The Story Home.

However, I believe in the need for balance. And, since I still haven't achieved my ULTIMATE dream of being a fulltime stay at home teachermama (I work from home most days of the week), most days I need time to work and so I need to keep the kids occupied - and A LOT of times, this involves the TV and computer! (Please forgive me!)

Photo source here.

So it pleased me a lot when fellow homeschool mom Racquel recently posted about the top 100 Educational Websites for 2012, which came out on the website. I browsed through the list (you can do so too by clicking here), and found some of our own favorite websites listed there, among which were: - Tim LOVES playing "The Cat in the Hat" games here! Seussville is another favorite site! Yes, we're Cat in the Hat fans! ;-)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Freebie Friday: {Facebook Freebie} 100-Indoor Activities for Kids E-book

It's been a long while since I posted about any freebies, though I have come across quite a few freebies over the past few months, which I hope I can still find time to post about later on! (Sorry about that - been having erratic daily schedules for months now, LOL!)

Anyway, I've recently discovered the blog Holy Spirit-Led Homeschooling, which has lots of freebies and printables in itself. The latest one is a free e-book entitled "100-Indoor Activities for Kids!"

Image from
To avail of the e-book, like the blog's Facebook page first hereOn the left-hand side you should be able to see a tab that says “Free eBook!!!”  Click on that tab to download your free eBook. (It's easy to do, just follow the instructions, I already got my copy!)

Hope this helps you all! ;-) God bless! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Our Epiphany House Blessing Kit :-)

I know that it's not the Feast of the Epiphany anymore and that we actually JUST celebrated the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which means the Christmas season (16 days all in all for this liturgical year) is really, really over! (I am having mixed feelings about this! hehe!) But I still wanted to write this post anyway! ;-)

Last Saturday (Jan 7), while I was on my way to the St. Pio of Petrelcina chapel to attend Mass with hubby (it was our sixth wedding anniversary, marking almost 11 years of being together!), I received a text message from my friend and fellow Catholic mom Buding (she's the one who gifted us with our Jesse Tree last year!). She told me that another Catholic mom and pro-lifer, Amelia, wanted to share the blessing of having an "Epiphany House Blessing Kit" with us! :-)

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't too familiar with what that actually was - but God's timing is truly perfect! After getting home from Mass and our anniversary date, I saw Catholic Icing's resident mommy blogger Lacy's post about it on her blog! :-) Needless to say, I WAS SUPER EXCITED to get our kit! ;-)

It arrived earlier today (errr.. yesterday actually) just before I left the apartment for work. I.SO.LOVE.IT! ;-)
My favorite part of the kit is the sprig of greenery - a nice touch! ;-)

This piece of paper explains the reason behind the custom or tradition of blessing our homes at the New Year.

"Even as the chalk fades, we remember what we have written in our hearts."

Amelia even sent this sweet note to accompany the kit! ;-)

"In the love and service of Christ, Amelia" Oh, thank You Lord, for using Amelia and her family! :-)

Holy Water and Holy Chalk :-)

We wanted to do our house blessing (or rented apartment blessing, to be more exact, haha!) with the kids when we got home from our household prayer meeting ("household" is the term used in our Catholic charismatic community, Couples for Christ, to refer to our couples' support group) but they were already asleep when we got home. So.. we'll have to wait till tomorrow.. umm.. I mean later, Tuesday of the First Week of Ordinary Time, to do so! ;-) A blessing is still a blessing, right? ;-)

I'm hoping the kids will be as excited as I am! ;-) Haha!

Thank God for wonderful fellow Catholic parents and families, who allow the Lord to use them to bless others! ;-) Special prayers for the Alba and Dee families! ;-) May God bless you abundantly so that you may continue to be instruments of God's love, faith, joy, hope and peace this 2012! ;-)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On Smart Parenting: 6 Things To Try With Your Kids This New Year

The New Year is now upon us, and many of us have already gone back to the daily routine of going to work, doing household chores, and taking care of our children (not that the latter stops during the holidays – parenting, after all, is a 24/7 task!). Most of us too, have probably made our New Year’s resolutions (and hopefully, have not broken any of them yet); and taken steps to improving ourselves. It is a new year after all!

Since we’re on the subject of “new,” we might as well try out new things too –stuff we’ve NEVER experienced nor done before. This year, we suggest six things you may want to do with your kids to make this year one of your most memorable yet!

1. Create your own storybook(s).
If your children are anything like mine, they probably love pretending to be the hero or heroine in the stories you read to them. This year, why not make your kids’ fantasies in a way come true – by making your own storybooks with your kids and other family members as the main characters? 
As a family, come up with different “plots” for your stories. You could base them on your family’s personal experiences, or draw inspiration from other books. 

You may also want to choose which “genre” you’d like your book to focus on – inspirational, biographical, comedy, horror, general fiction, etc. Don’t pressure yourselves, though – remember that you’re doing this just for the fun of it! 

If you have older kids who can already write and draw, involve them in the “creation” of the book by having them write parts of the story or illustrate the story.  Smaller children can contribute by having their own “pages” in the book – let them scribble or draw to their heart’s content on blank pages that can be “page breakers” in your book. 

If you’re really ambitious, or find yourselves enjoying this activity, you may even want to write sequels to your book in the future. You never know - your literary creations may even get published, like the Giuliano family’s book “All the Way to God”, which stemmed from a simple family bedtime routine.

2. Make your own documentary film or music video.
If you’re not the writing type, you may want to have a go at making your own family film instead. This could take just a few minutes of your time; alternatively, you may want to make it a year-round project. 

Here are some ideas for your film or video project:
•    Make a documentary about your family and include interviews of different family members. You may want to make your own family tree before doing this. This would be a great way to teach your kids about their grandparents, ancestors, and other relatives.
•    Make a family video with compiled recordings of each family member completing these sentences (or something similar): “In five years’ time, I will ______________,” “I can change the world by ______________,” “I am grateful for ________________,” “I will stop _____________.”
•    Make a music video by getting each family member to sing certain parts of a favorite family song or hymn. You may opt to sing your parts in a certain way – dramatically, wackily, rocker-style, opera-style, etc. Have fun belting out the lyrics and dancing to the rhythm of the music! If you’re not shy about doing so, upload the video online for posterity - who knows, you and your family could become the next YouTube sensation!

3. Build your own family time capsule.
According to the U.S. Library of Congress, a time capsule is “a collection of objects put together to preserve the memory of a place, experience, or group of people at one point in time. People often make time capsules for special public occasions, and for others to open many years in the future.” People can make one to celebrate a family event, to remind them of a special experience, or to remember friends, family, or school – or something else important to them.

Building a family time capsule will enable you and your kids to go back in time and see your “past selves.” This will especially be a good thing to do if your kids are still very young. For detailed tips on how to make your own family time capsules, click here and here.

(This is the first part of an article I wrote for Smart Parenting Philippines' website. To continue reading the rest of the article, please click here.)

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