Tuesday, November 29, 2011

St. Andrews Christmas Novena (another free printable)

I just love the St. Andrews Christmas Novena because of it's simplicity!  My kids learn it super quick too and the non-readers pretend to read it.   This prayer is called a Novena but differs a little, it's not for the usual nine (9) days, it commences on November 30th and ends on Christmas.  Here's the page I made for them to use this year.  Enjoy!

St. Andrews Christmas Novena for Kids - PDF

This blog post is linked up at:

Monday, November 28, 2011

New Year - New {Blog} Look

We have decided to change the "look" of the blog to go with the Liturgical Season!  So we are dressed in purple and rose for Advent as our family prepares for the birth of our Savior.

Blessings to you all,
Mama Erika (and DH who did all the technical work)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Veni Emmanuel - Happy New Year!

Today is a historical day in our Holy Mother Church, it is the first day of Advent and the first day of the Liturgical year. It is also the first day every parish will be using the "new" Missal (English speaking parishes that is). This is my favorite season of all, it is the time when we look in anticipation forward to the birth of the Lord of Lords and King of King on Christmas. The weather is cooler is some parts of the world and it makes the home come to life! I love the lit fireplaces, and when outdoors the smell of the wood burning as the cool air gently caress your face. It is a time when we see family more and our homes are full of warmth and a hospitable nature. For me, this time is full of new beginnings, not just liturgically but also for each person spiritually. For me, this is when I make resolutions for the new year, a time to look back, analyze how we've spent our days this past year and an opportunity to start over! Isn't that lovely?

Our little family wants to first focus on preparing for the birth of Christ by remembering his past and heritage by using a Jesse tree. Also, by meditating on his coming by reading the daily scriptures and attending Mass as often as possible to receive Him the the Holy Eucharist. Jesus is the King of King and the judge of all, preparing for his birth will also prepare our homes and hearts for His future coming at the end of time.

So how exactly will we be doing this?
1. Refraining from participating in what we call, the "Christmas frenzy" which really isn't very Christ-like at all. (if you missed the news of all the misshaps on "black Friday" - don't Google them, take my word for it, they were NOT how Christ would want us to act in preparation for His birth).

2. Decorating our homes in purple and rose ONLY! Putting out our Advent wreaths and making crafts with the children to decorate our mantle turn Family Altar. On our front window of our house we put Advent Candles on the window each Sunday. We get lots of questions from the neighbors (another little way to evangelize).

3. We do not put any Christmas decorations up until we get closer or even one year we did it on Christmas Eve after dinner, half of us spent the day cooking the other half decorating. My DH and I share a birthday on the 20th, so that is the day (as a tradition in our family) that we set out to hunt for a Christmas tree. No we don't panic that we can't find one but instead know that the one we will find is the one Christ would love.

4. This is our first year using the Jesse tree and we will be doing this every day of the Advent Season. This will help our family recall the entire history behind the coming of Christ.

There are so many wonderful ways to prepare for Advent, every family has his own. If you've never observed this beautiful season, my family and I invite you to try at least one thing new this year and you will receive Baby Jesus with a prepared and humble heart.

Happy Advent Everyone!

Mama Erika

PS: if you blogged about a neat Advent idea, don't forget to link up with us.

PSS: if you are still looking for ideas for your kids take a look at our little packet full of fun and educational Advent activities for little hands.

Oh I almost forgot, we are also participating in Holy Heroes's Advent Adventures:

Holy Heroes

This blog post is linked up at:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Preparing for Baby Jesus - Advent Link Up

To help each other keep the focus on the Birth of our Savior, I am creating a link up for Advent.  If you have a blog post that you'd like to share on ideas to celebrate Advent with kids or as a family, please add your link to the bottom of this post.  :)  I only have TWO RULES:

1. Please visit the links of other Mamas that have linked up and leave them a sweet comment!

2. Please Grab the button/picture below and add it to your post, say something like:  "I've shared/linked up this post on RLS's Preparing for Baby Jesus Advent Link Up!"

Thanks for participating!

Mama Erika :)

Celebrating the Liturgical Year with Children: Advent (FREEBIE)

Happy New Liturgical Year, my Catholic Friends!

I love that our new Liturgical Year is only days away.  My family is very excited to start using the new Missal.  We love collecting old Catholic books and have tons of Missals from the past, the new one closely resembles the 1965 one we own (which is post-Vatican II, btw).  We love the new and rich language and since we love Latin as well, the new translation is going to bring so much to the beautiful Mass!  As we prepare to use the new Missal, lets not loose focus on the newness of it and continue to focus on what counts, being prepared for the birth of our Savior, or Baby Jesus as my children love to refer to Him during this time of preparation.

I've created another set of activities for my kids and making them available to you for FREE, of course. These are fun activities the teach our children what the true meaning of Advent and Christmas really is. By observing Advent you are preparing your children for the birth of Jesus Christ. We will be using these activities throughout Advent in addition to making ornaments for our Jesse tree and making a new Advent wreath.  I've attached a link to the two wreaths I'm favoring this year.

Feel free to share a link to this blog post with your friends.

Advent Activities for Kids

Looking for some neat Advent wreaths to make at home?  Here are two of my favorites:

(Grand)Mama Birgid over at Catholic Sistas, made this easy to make and super toddler safe (just watch the candles ladies) Advent wreath:
ADVENTuresome Family Fun

My new friend, Mama Lindsey over at Happier Than a Bird Quilts, made this beautiful Advent Wreath out of felt, she created an easy tutorial.  Hope on over to her lovely blog and tell her how clever she is!  :)

Advent Wreath Tutorial

REMINDER: Since the New Missal this year will coincide with Advent, don't forget to visit Mama Lacy over at Catholic Icing and grab her new Mass Response book for kids!

Free to Download and Print!

Hope you like them and enjoy!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Celebrating the Liturgical Year with Children: Feast of Christ the King (FREEBIE)

I'm so happy to announce my very first downloadable freebie on Raising {& Teaching} Little Saints. I'm working on various activities and themes. This is a test/sample of some of the things I will be posting in the near future.

After doing my Morning prayers and reading, I got a little inspired...made some fun printables for my kids for today's feast of Christ the King. Most are self explanatory but if you have any questions, please leave a comment here and I'll get back with you ASAP. It's more for smaller kids but I think you can adapt it to older ones. I'm having my 13 year old read the page for Teachers and use the vocabulary words in reading response journal (where he explains in his own words what he read).  Hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

Christ the King Free Printables

Want to cook something up with this theme?  Visit Catholic Cuisine for some amazing ideas:

Glory to the King of Kings - Happy Feast day!

Glory to the King of Kings!

God made promises to Father Abraham and King David. These promises are revealed in Genesis 22:16-18 and II Kings 7:10-19 respectively:
"By my own self have I sworn, saith the Lord: because thou hast done this thing, and hast not spared thy only begotten son for my sake: I will bless thee, and I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that is by the sea shore: thy seed shall possess the gates of their enemies. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice." ~ Genesis 22:16-18 

"And I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and I will plant them, and they shall dwell therein, and shall be disturbed no more: neither shall the children of iniquity afflict them any more as they did before, from the day that I appointed judges over my people Israel: and I will give thee rest from all thy enemies. And the Lord foretelleth to thee, that the Lord will make thee a house. And when thy days shall be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house to my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son: and if he commit any iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men. But my mercy I will not take away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before my face. And thy house shall be faithful, and thy kingdom for ever before thy face, and thy throne shall be firm for ever. According to all these words and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak to David.   
And David went in, and sat before the Lord, and said: Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that thou hast brought me thus far? But yet this hath seemed little in thy sight, O Lord God, unless thou didst also speak of the house of thy servant for a long time to come: for this is the law of Adam, O Lord God." II Kings 7:10-19  
These prophecies are fulfilled in Christ, Who is King of Israel ("Christ" means "Anointed One," and the anointing referred to is the anointing King David received). Our Lord, though, is not only the ruler of the restored Davidic Kingdom (the Church), but is the King of Kings -- the King of All. The only way for peace to have a chance in this world is for all to see Him for Who He is: the King before Whom we must bow and Whom we must obey.

Though this Feast is a relatively "new" one, promulgated by Pope Pius XI in 1925 in his Encyclical Quas Primas, it is a most awesome and important one! Vive Christus Rex!

On this day, we pray for the conversion of all to Christ, and for all governments to recognize Him as King and conform their laws to His teachings. This is the only way to peace!
"And out of his mouth proceedeth a sharp two-edged sword, that with it he may strike the nations. And he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God the Almighty. And he hath on his garment and on his thigh written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." ~ Apocalypse 19:15-16
Today may receive a plenary indulgence by praying the Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart, going to Confession, and receiving the Eucharist. We beg God to bring all people to Him and to be our King. Read more about this on the page about Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. There will be a Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament after Mass, too. 

If you haven't consecrated your home by Enthronement of the Sacred Heart, today is another perfect day to do so! If you've already done so, it is a good day to renew the consecration!

Glory to the King of Kings!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Kids DVD Brother Francis: Free Thanksgiving download

Brother Francis has become a family favorite around here.  I've reviewed the first DVD on Raising {& Teaching}Little Saints and will also be reviewing the other two:  all three are FANTASTIC DVDs and I, personally, think that EVERY CATHOLIC HOME should have them available for their children.  Even my three-year-old sings the theme song in the van and asks questions about what he learned from Brother Francis.  On their website, Herald Entertainment has two other FREEBIES:  1.  a Brother Francis Wallpaper for your desktop and 2. a sample Coloring book.  Here's the link to the free Thanksgiving download:

This email contains graphics, so if you don't see them, click here to view it in your browser.
Clich here to

150 Reasons Why I'm Catholic (and you should be too)

One Hundred Fifty Reasons I'm Catholic
And You Should Be Too!
by Dave Armstrong

1. Best One-Sentence Summary: I am convinced that the Catholic Church conforms much more closely to all of the biblical data, offers the only coherent view of the history of Christianity (i.e., Christian, apostolic Tradition), and possesses the most profound and sublime Christian morality, spirituality, social ethic, and philosophy.

2. Alternate: I am a Catholic because I sincerely believe, by virtue of much cumulative evidence, that Catholicism is true, and that the Catholic Church is the visible Church divinely-established by our Lord Jesus, against which the gates of hell cannot and will not prevail (Mt 16:18), thereby possessing an authority to which I feel bound in Christian duty to submit.

3. 2nd Alternate: I left Protestantism because it was seriously deficient in its interpretation of the Bible (e.g., "faith alone" and many other "Catholic" doctrines - see evidences below), inconsistently selective in its espousal of various Catholic Traditions (e.g., the Canon of the Bible), inadequate in its ecclesiology, lacking a sensible view of Christian history (e.g., "Scripture alone"), compromised morally (e.g., contraception, divorce), and unbiblically schismatic, anarchical, and relativistic. I don't therefore believe that Protestantism is all bad (not by a long shot), but these are some of the major deficiencies I eventually saw as fatal to the "theory" of Protestantism, over against Catholicism. All Catholics must regard baptized, Nicene, Chalcedonian Protestants as Christians.

4. Catholicism isn't formally divided and sectarian (Jn 17:20-23Rom 16:171 Cor 1:10-13).

5. Catholic unity makes Christianity and Jesus more believable to the world (Jn 17:23).

6. Catholicism, because of its unified, complete, fully supernatural Christian vision, mitigates against secularization and humanism.

7. Catholicism avoids an unbiblical individualism which undermines Christian community (e.g., 1 Cor 12:25-26).

8. Catholicism avoids theological relativism, by means of dogmatic certainty and the centrality of the papacy.

9. Catholicism avoids ecclesiological anarchism - one cannot merely jump to another denomination when some disciplinary measure or censure is called for.

10. Catholicism formally (although, sadly, not always in practice) prevents the theological relativism which leads to the uncertainties within the Protestant system among laypeople.

11. Catholicism rejects the "State Church," which has led to governments dominating Christianity rather than vice-versa.

12. Protestant State Churches greatly influenced the rise of nationalism, which mitigated against universal equality and Christian universalism (i.e., Catholicism).

13. Unified Catholic Christendom (before the 16th century) had not been plagued by the tragic religious wars which in turn led to the "Enlightenment," in which men rejected the hypocrisy of inter-Christian warfare and decided to become indifferent to religion rather than letting it guide their lives.

14. Catholicism retains the elements of mystery, supernatural, and the sacred in Christianity, thus opposing itself to secularization, where the sphere of the religious in life becomes greatly limited.

15. Protestant individualism led to the privatization of Christianity, whereby it is little respected in societal and political life, leaving the "public square" barren of Christian influence.

16. The secular false dichotomy of "church vs. world" has led committed orthodox Christians, by and large, to withdraw from politics, leaving a void filled by pagans, cynics, unscrupulous, and power-hungry. Catholicism offers a framework in which to approach the state and civic responsibility.

17. Protestantism leans too much on mere traditions of men (every denomination stems from one Founder's vision. As soon as two or more of these contradict each other, error is necessarily present).

18. Protestant churches (esp. evangelicals), are far too often guilty of putting their pastors on too high of a pedestal. In effect, every pastor becomes a "pope," to varying degrees (some are "super-popes"). Because of this, evangelical congregations often experience a severe crisis and/or split up when a pastor leaves, thus proving that their philosophy is overly man-centered, rather than God-centered.

19. Protestantism, due to lack of real authority and dogmatic structure, is tragically prone to accommodation to the spirit of the age, and moral faddism.

20. Catholicism retains apostolic succession, necessary to know what is true Christian apostolic Tradition. It was the criterion of Christian truth used by the early Christians.

To read the 130 other reasons, please visit Our Catholic Faith.

Monday, November 14, 2011

20 Children Is Not “Too Many” {Catholic Sistas}

I had to share this blog post! Why? Because you will love it as much as I did:

“Selfish, irresponsible, insane, stupid.” “I hope she dies.” “She should have been aborted.” “I hope her child is a vegetable that will fill them with regret.”

Horrible, hateful words spewed about a woman who has likely never wished anything but kindness on others. Words spoken by people who have never met this woman. What heinous crime has she committed that deserves this antagonism?

She and her husband announced that they will be having a baby. Which is not a terribly astonishing announcement for most married couples to make, except…

This will be the couple’s 20th child. The mother, Michelle Duggar, is 45 years old. Her pregnancy with #19 involved complications that resulted in her child being born nearly 15 weeks early. These 3 factors (number of children, mother’s age, complications during last pregnancy) have turned this once again newly-pregnant mother into the butt of crude and cruel jokes and downright hateful taunts.**

The mantra of our modern culture: “my body, my choice, don’t judge me”, apparently only extends to women who wish to end their pregnancies by abortion; a woman who wishes to GIVE life to children is mocked and derided by the very people who believe that “I need to do what’s best for me.” In the words of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the father of a large family himself:

“Why are people impressed that Jay Leno owns 20 motorcycles, but disgusted that some religious families choose to have 10 children?

Want to read more?  Visit Colleen at CatholicSistas

Friday, November 11, 2011

Holy Heroes Advent Adventure - Advent Adventure 2011

I'm so excited to share this with you.  A group of our friends here got together and did their Summer Adventure and it was AMAZING!!!!

Advent is just around the corner, ladies, here is the free registration link to Holy Heroes's Advent Adventure:

Watch the short video for a glimpse of Holy Heroes Advent Adventure 2011!

Register for FREE now by clicking the registration button below--this year's Adventure starts just 2 weeks from today!
Never taken part in any of our "Adventures"? Here's what you need to know:
Who should take part?
  • Children of coloring age (any skill level) up to about age 12
  • Families that want to learn more about Catholic Advent traditions and practices, saints, and Our Lord, Jesus Christ!
  • BUSY families whose Moms and Dads want to use Advent to prepare for Christmas
...but who get so BUSY that the prayer and preparation of Advent gets lost about Dec 9th or 10th ...in the DELUGE of stuff that we parents need to do to make a great family Christmas Day...

  • Anyone with a computer with internet access--then click, watch, listen, and download from each day's email (which is chock-full of fun and informative stuff)!

  • How much does it cost?
    • Zero
    • Zilch
    • Nada
    • It's all FREE! Just open up our daily email and let your kids click, watch, listen, and download up to an hour's worth of Catholic joy...while you can step away and get your own day started!
    What makes this Advent an extra-special Adventure?
    • The NEW MASS translation! We'll teach you all the new responses, step-by-step!
    • You can get "certified"! We'll show you how to earn a certificate * *with your name on it* * that proves you know the Mass!
    • You will SAVE $$$ on all our products! Every participant gets a discount code -- re-useable again and again during the Advent and Christmas seasons -- to save 15% (or more) on all our products!
    • We have special freebies and products and contests ONLY for "Adventurers"!Lots of fun for everyone!
    • All-new Glory Stories! And other new stuff! Yay!
    So, register NOW with the button below!
    May God bless you and yours,
    Your Adventure Guides: Virginia, Clara, Margaret, Trey, Anna, Therese, Lillian, and Caroline

    Advent Adventure Sign UpIt's time to sign up for Advent Adventure!
    If you are new to Advent Adventure, click the button to add Advent Adventure to your Holy Heroes email subscriptions profile.
    If you received the Advent Adventure emails in 2010, you are automatically signed up for AA 2011.

    PS PLEASE FORWARD (please!) this to your family and friends so they can sign up now, too! Holy Heroes Advent Adventure is only 14 days away!

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Top 10 Catholic Blogs - A Traffic Report & Thank You!

    As part of my November Mission to give thanks as much as possible, I want to start linking up and thanking those sites that bring in the most friends over to visit Raising {& Teaching}Little Saints.  This past month, October 2011, these are the Top Ten Friends (websites/blogs) that brought the most traffic to Raising {& Teaching} Little Saints (in order of most traffic to least):

    Catholic Icing

    Forever, For Always, No Matter What

    I received referral visits from 117 sources during the last month! FaceBook sent me 146 visits but most of you are typing our web address directly, which is real easy "Raising Little Saints {dot} Blogspot {dot} com". A lot of you are also Google Searching topics and hitting our page (staying the longest I might add) - thanks!

    For all the friends that visit our blog:

    Thank you so much for your support and for visiting us, and commenting.  We hope that we have helped you in your journey, in some small way, in raising {& teaching}your own little saints!

    Mamas Erika, Cristina & Kristy

    Raising & Teaching Little Saints

    I got this idea from Mama Kelli over at 3 Boys and a Dog: