Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pope John Paul II {the Great} and Respect for Life

One of my favorite Catholic columnists is Matt C. Abbott over at Renew America.  I love Matt because he is honest but charitable about our Mother Church.  Like I tell my beloved, "If I want the real story, I look for Matt!"  If he hasn't written about it, we write him and ask him if he has or will look into it and he replies!  I love it!  Anyway, on the Eve of the Beatification of Pope John Paul II {the Great}, Matt has written a fantastic piece on a topic that I had not seen reported on regarding this Pope.  John Paul's influence on Humanae Vitae, made him a prolific fighter against the use of artificial birth control, and for human dignity and the sanctity of life!  Go visit Matt's column today entitled "John Paul II's influence on birth control encyclical, pro-life movement".

Along with this I saw Barbara Curtis post a link to an Abort73 video on Facebook that I'd like to share with you.  I am a cradle Catholic but I don't consider myself to have come to terms with this until my eleventh grade year in high school at the age of 16.  I remember at that ripe young age and seeing a picture of what a 9-week "fetus" looked like and from that moment on I knew that Abortion was Murder!  I took this to heart and that is when my outspokenness for the right to Life began.  A couple of years later, in my college Biology class, I spent two years with the same professor...even though he was a pro-choice advocate.  On the last day of our Biology:  Biodiversity of Life class (the second semester with him), when I asked if those "tissue masses" and "cells" were indeed alive and had life, he said, "there is life at the moment of tissues, live cells, yes there is life!  You got me there Erika!"

Here is the video Barbara Curtis shared:

Friday, April 29, 2011

Tornadoes in Alabama, Home of EWTN

I just read this on their Facebook page and if you had been worried sick, like I was, I'm happy to report this news:

"Miraculously, EWTN’s facilities and operations sustained no damage or interruption as a result of the tornadoes. Managers are continuing to make contact with each of our employees to verify that they and their families are safe. So far, we have no indications of fatalities or injuries to our staff or their immediate families. We have also verified that the Nuns and Friars at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville are safe. Although the city of Hanceville and Cullman County, Alabama were directly hit by some of the worst of the tornadoes, the Monastery and the Shrine sustained no damage.

This has been a devastating event for the state of Alabama. We hope that our EWTN family and friends around the world will join us in praying for those who have been killed, injured or otherwise affected by the storms."

So, thankfully, Mother Angelica and her nuns are okay!  Thank you, Lord!  Please continue to keep the people of Alabama in your prayers!

UPDATE:  If you would like to contribute to Catholic Charities in Alabama



Catholic Children's Illustrated Movies {Review and Giveaway}

Have you been looking for good Catholic movies your kiddos can watch?  Maybe in the van on the way to a family reunion this Summer or just to keep them busy while you clean something up?  If you are like me, you want your kids active as much as possible but there are unavoidable times that the TV becomes the sitter and well, if that is going to be the case I want my kids watching something educational.  By educational I mean, enriching their minds, hearts, and souls because after all that is what our whole being is all about {made in His image and likeness}.  I've been searching high and low for these kinds of movies for a couple of years now.  It was such a blessing when I came across CCC of America! 

If you are not familar with them, the are the makers of Catholic Animated movies for children.  Maybe you've seen one but didn't know the company's name?  Or maybe you never knew there were some great movies for kids out there covering the lives of saints and the apparitions of our Blessed Mother?  But yes, dear friends, they are out there! So I decided to contacted them and asked if they would be willing to send me some videos to preview and review for them - guess what they said?  YES!   Is that awesome or what?  It gets better, read on.

In case you missed my initial post about Catholic Children's Animated Videos.

Here are the three great movies I was so blessed to get review:

1) The Day the Sun Danced, the True Story of Fatima
Description From their website: In 1917, three children named Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta experienced a great miracle. While herding a flock of sheep outside the tiny village of Fatima, Portugal, the Blessed Mother visited them, not once, but many times, telling the children great and wondrous secrets that would affect all of creation.
When the children tried to share the joyous news of Our Lady of Fatima, no one believed them, until the day the sun seemed to dance in the sky. It soon became clear that they had been chosen by the Blessed Mother to share her message.

(All ages/English/Spanish/French/30 min)


2)  Nicholas - The Boy Who Became Santa

Description From their website:  Nicholas was still a young child when he discovered a very special secret that changed his life forever. It was the gift of giving, by which he brought happiness to many people; but in sharing this gift Nicholas had to face many dangers. Here is the fascinating story of the boy whose love and care for others make him one of the most popular figures of all times, Today, more than sixteen centuries later, the entire world celebrates the kindness and generosity of the man we call Santa Claus.
Base on historical facts and traditions, Nicholas The Boy Who Became Santa, is the beautifully animated film worth watching all year long.

(All ages/English/Spanish/French/30 min)

 3)  Juan Diego - Messenger of Guadalupe                                                   

Description From their website:  In 1591 Juan Diego found himself between two worlds…that of the Spanish conquerors and that of his own Aztec heritage. Because of his love for his people and his strong faith, Juan Diego turned to Jesus and His Mother, Mary for help in uniting his people. The answer to Juan Diego’s prayers has become one of the greatest events in the history of the Americas.
JUAN DIEGO, MESSENGER OF GUADALUPE is the true story of how the Blessed Mother chose a hero for a key role in a beautiful miracle that would united diverse peoples and change the course of history. In the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City the miracle of the tilma of Juan Diego may still be seen, just as it was seen by the bishop in 1531.
(All ages/English/Spanish/French/30 min)


Why did I rate all three movies with Five Crosses = A+?  Well because simply my kids devoured all three movies, from my toddler to my kindergartner, they just loved it! 

Our 2 year old watching St. Nicholas, it was his favorite!
Our 2 and 6 year olds watching the Fatima Movie.
Another reason why I gave these three an A+ was that the animation was wasn't cheesy like some other Catholic/Christian Children's videos we've seen.  In addition, I just LOVE that I can play the movies in three different languages.  We've seen them in English and in Spanish.  So not only do they compliment our Religion curriculum but also our Spanish one!  I love it because as a child, I learned all of my prayers in Spanish.  :)  The thirty minute videos are also perfect for small, active little ones!

These were the three fantastic Catholic Children's movies we received!
Ready to buy one (or two, or more) for your family?  The movies can be ordered online at CCC of America or by phone Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Central, at 800-935-2222.

I will share in another post our adventure with the Juan Diego DVD so as to not make this so long {and to not keep you from the Giveaway portion}, .  Once I post that one I'll link it on here!  So the part you've been waiting for...{drum roll please}

One Raising {& Teaching} Little Saints friend will get a chance to win your very own copy of the Juan Diego movie (a $15.00 value)!!!  It's easy to enter:

REQUIRED:  Visit CCC of America, come back and leave a comment with which movie you would love to have in your home = 1 entry.

BONUS ENTRIES (1 entry each):
1.  Like CCC of America and RLS on Facebook.

2.  Follow RLS on Twitter

3.  Follow us on Google Friend Connect (click the follow button on the right).

4,  Tweet about this giveaway.  {you may do this daily 1 entry per tweet}, make sure you leave us a link to your tweet
5.  Post this give away on your Facebook Status with a link to this post {you may do this daily 1 entry per status}, make sure you come back and leave us a link to your status

6.  Share this on Facebook.  let us know that you did this by leaving a comment

7.  Subscribe to our RSS Feed or via e-mail (place your e-mail addres in the box on the right).

8.  Blog about this giveaway (just don't completely repost it...add a teaser and a link back to us).

For each item that you do listed above, please leave a comment here telling us what you did.  Remember, each item you do is an entry!  Also, if you already subscribe to any of these listed, please leave a comment, "I already follow you on Google Friend Connect."

SUPER BONUS ENTRY (= 5 entries):
Read another post (that isn't a review or a giveaway) and leave a comment.  Come back here and tell me where you went (the title of the post).

Official Rules:

One winner will be chosen via Only entries that follow the above rules will count. Entries close May 10th, 2011 at 11pm EST. Winner will be announced on May 11th, 2011.  US ONLY!

About CCC of America, our Sponsor:
CCC of America is a media company that distributes and produces "entertainment you can believe in." We pride ourselves on producing and distributing a full line of wholesome Christian family entertainment to promote sound moral values in an engaging way.

CCC of America is committed to the production and distribution of quality family entertainment that is not only enjoyable, but also conveys moral values. We are determined to provide wholesome fun for families, wherein they discover stories of real heroes of the faith who lived lives of courage, love and truth.

Best wishes,

Disclosure (ah, yes, the fine print): Special thanks to CCC of America for partnering with Raising {& Teaching}Little Saints on this giveaway. CCC of America, is provided us with the Juan Diego DVD for our contest. I was compensated with three free DVDs from their collection for offering this review and awesome giveaway!

The winner is  entry #4, Judy (Benmakesten)!!!  Congratulations Judy!!!!  Go visit her blog and congratulate her!  :)  Thanks to everyone who participated in this giveaway and thanks to CCC of America for offering this wonderful DVD to a lovely Catholic family! 

Judy, please e-mail me with your mailing address so that I may forward it to CCC of America!  :)  raisinglittlesaints {at}

Blessings everyone!

Mama Erika

Monday, April 25, 2011

GIVEAWAY: MathBlaster 3D Online World of Learning by Knowledge Adventure

RLS Friends,
I wrote a new review on MathBlaster over at 3 Boys & a Dog...go check it out and try to win a 6 month subscription on there.  It is a great website which I've used with my very advanced kindergartner...he loves it and I love having another item I can use as good behavior reinforcer {do your job and you get computer time}.  So hop on over to Kelli's blog and check out my review and enter to win!


Happy Eastertide

From our home to yours:


PandaMania: Warning About This Catholic VBS {Vacation Bible School}

Before last summer began, I posted about doing a VBS at home called Summer Faith Adventure.  It is made/created by the same people that do Holy Heroes.  While it was a fantastic program that I could do at home with my children, I wished that my parish would have done something like it so that my children can have some interaction with other kids of the parish and our neighborhood (after all we live 2 minute away from our church).  Two Sundays ago I saw that they were already advertising the VBS for this year and I assumed that it was yet another non-Catholic program.  I was wrong!

I was so excited to hear that a Totally Catholic Summer Program {a Catholic VBS} will be used at our parish this year.  I have a little experience in VBS from many moons ago when a close friend and I ran the very first one at our parish in our college years.  At our parish level, I volunteered two summers ago in the kitchen.  Our job was to prepare the snacks that went with the theme of the day.  The other mom and I could not help it and we adjusted the snacks and lesson we were supposed to teach while creating the snacks with the kids to incorporate some Catholicism into the program {something we felt it was so desperately lacking in}.  So when I heard that Pandamania was a Catholic VBS, I was very excited!  {BIG SMILE}

I am not sure if I had anything to do with this change?  Maybe it was because after reading a post I saw about VBS product reviews over at Lacy's {CatholicIcing}, I forwarded it to our DRE so that she could see that there where other options available for our Catholic kids.  Maybe not...but I was so happy to hear and was already looking at my calendar to move things around to make sure the kids would attend {and I was ready to shoot an e-mail to her to volunteer once again.} 

That was until I started following a thread on a Catholic Homeschoolers Yahoo Group and I came to find out that this program has a major flaw!  Sigh...PLEASE, if you are thinking of sending your beautiful little blessings to a Pandamania VBS, you MUST read this blog post about it!  Kris, a Catholic homeschooler over at Education is a Science of Relation, did her research on this and has links available for everyone to see what she is talking about. {you don't have to take her word for it, just read what warning the Vatican has on Father Teilhard de Chardin} is really a shame that this program was presented to DREs as a good Catholic VBS!

There are so many others out there that could be used:
  1. CHC's Children's Retreats/VBS
  2. K4J Vacation Bible School 2011
  3. Growing with the Saints, Catholic VBS {Has four adventures to choose from}:

  • Assorted Saints & the Virtues of Faith, Hope & Love VBS
  • Saint Patrick and the Holy Trinity VBS
  • Parade Around the Father VBS
  • Parachute with the Angels Catholic VBS

4. Cat.Chat Catholic Vacation Bible School Programs {Has three themes to choose from}:
VBS#1: Cool Kingdom Party:  Mary Leads Me Closer to Jesus

  • VBS#2: Marvelous Mystery: The Mass Comes Alive
  • VBS#3: A Wilderness Adventure Through the Sacraments: Jesus in My Heart

Last, but not least {the one we WILL be using again this year}:

Their program is certainly wonderful.  I may just invite some friends to come over our house and do it together!  ;)

It is unfortunate that our kiddos will not be participating in our parish's Totally Catholic Summer Program, because...well because we can't go against the Holy See's warning and well...we work way too hard home educating our children to expose them to wrong theology. 

So please find out what program your parish is using.   Educate yourself!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Holy Week: Our Journey {Free Printable}

My beloved can tell you how much this has bugged me all Lent, it's been keeping me awak actually, lol.  I've been stirring because I felt like my kids weren't really ready for Holy Week and the Crucifixion and, of course, Easter!  Yes, we've been doing things all during Lent but I felt like now that they are almost 5 and 6, they needed something more. 

So I put this together (it took me some time to get it all together) for our classroom!  I am so proud of my kids because they were so into our lesson as we talked about the days of the week and our Holy Week Journey to Easter Sunday!  I really enjoyed making this and also loved its simplicity!

Here are some pictures of what it looks like:

The road has the days of the Holy Week on top, and the events at the bottom of the road...leading to the Resurrection.  At the bottom of this I moved our Stations of the Cross {I bought those here}

I took this opportunity to review the days of the weeks with the kids:

Here are two other looks from different angles:

Then we used our little kids Let's Climb Closer to Heaven {from our school room door} found at That Resource Site to walk the road through Holy Week (this was my six year old's idea):


  1.  Print all of these out on card stock. {this will get you to the free link} If you don't have cardstock, like me, then I would recommend that you laminate, I would recommend you do that so that you can save it to use in the future.
  2. Create a path, road, or something to that effect on a large paper to post in the room. Another option is to print these small and to make a file folder out of them and have each kid make their own to take home {more for CCD or school settings}
  3. Glue/tape the days of the week down first at the top of your path/road.
  4. As each day passes, read the Readings for that day and talk about these stories by using the events cards.
  5. I placed stations at the bottom. You can purchase these here:
  6. The little kids walking the path are from

 Please only use these at home or with your religious ed. classes (or co-ops).  This cannot be sold.  If you want to share it with others on your own blog, please link up to me but don't distribute it directly.  Thank you and I hope you can enjoy them as much as our family has!


***Don't forget to grab our new button {it's the one with the apple on the right column}  THANKS!  ***

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holy Week, Our Journey to Easter: Maundy Thursday

Let us remember the reason for Holy Thursday:

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

A Six Year Old's Take on daVinci's The Last Supper

I am totally in love with all the Holy Week action going on over at Lacy's {Catholic Icing} and got super excited to see the activity she prepared {and shared} for Holy Thursday.  She did this based on Leonardo da Vinci's the Last Supper:

Lacy's craft activity is super cute:

See?  I was so excited to get it going with my six and four year olds but never did I think I'd get the reaction I got.  Before I tell you what happened, I should tell you two things:  First, about my six year old.  Our little Jojo sees the world very different than most kids his age, very different than his own Mama, actually.  He sees things VERY black and white and there are no in betweens.  I tell Todd that he'd make for a very good priest because of this natural inclination of his.  Second, when it comes to meal time, we stress eating as a family A LOT and because of my beloved's job situation in the past three years, that means almost all three meals {he has been laid off five times}.  At the table, everyone has a place where they sit, not really kinda just happened!  For obvious reasons, Dada's spot is at the head of the table. 

So as I {very excitedly} explained who da Vinci was, and his painting, my six year old's first reaction was, "mom, there is something wrong with that painting?"  Me, "there is?  What would that be?"  "Why on Earth would they sit like that, that's not the way a family sits and Jesus and his Apostles were like family!"  {his face says it all, he is mad, frustrated, and confused!}.  "Son, this is a very famous painting and it is the artist's interpretation of the Last Supper," I immediately replied to him.  "Mom, Jesus was their leader, like Dada is the head of our house, and he sits at the head of the table so Jesus would have to sit there and the Apostles on the sides!" he clamored. 

Okay maybe the kid had a point {he does very often, btw}...something I never really thought about, I mean I've seen the painting hundreds of times and heck it is Leonardo daVinci, why would I question it?  But my lovely six year old did, he challenged the great artist's interpretation of the Last Supper! 

So what did I do, like a good homeschool educator, I went with it!  "So Jojo, what should we do because here are the directions from Mrs. Lacy and this is how she explained we should do it so that we have a nice piece to decorate the mantle for tomorrow?"  "Mom, I have a plan!" he stated...and he did.  Here is my six year old's version of the Last Supper's seating arrangement, lol:

 here he is proudly looking at his handy work:
 So what's different from Mama Lacy?  Well he placed Jesus at the head of the table {far left} and the Apostles on the sides {six on each side}.  He also gave them place settings with their names.  I was glad he did this because at one point when they were cutting them out, Katie-Anne asked me who that one was and I had to look back at Lacy's original.  So with name settings, there were no problems identifying each one.  I did try to get him to place them in the "right" daVinci order but he went his own route on this as well.  He was very specific in wanting Peter next to Judas!  He said that Peter must have known that Judas was a traitor an needed to sit next to him so that, "he could keep an eye on him!"  In addition, he wanted a title to the scene.   I made a label that says, "Holy Thursday, The Last Supper" and we placed it at the far end of the table opposite Jesus.  Here are more pictures:

Notice they chose to not color the food at the table {and that they wanted a table clothe}, they are going to cook {color} the food tomorrow!  ;)

Katie-Anne wants her picture in too ;)

aerial view, oh and the "wood" chairs:

So I hope that Mama Lacy over at the lovely CatholicIcing, doesn't mind that Jojo changed her plan up ;)  Thanks for sharing with us, Lacy!

Tomorrow, washing of the feet...guess who will be doing it?  Yup, Jojo...well at least at our house!  ;)


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Remembering Dad On His Birthday

God our Father,
Your power brings us to birth,
Your providence guides our lives,
and by Your command we return to dust.

Lord, those who die still live in Your presence,
their lives change but do not end.
I pray in hope for my father
and for all the dead known to You alone.

In company with Christ,
Who died and now lives,
may they rejoice in Your kingdom,
where all our tears are wiped away.
Unite us together again in one family,
to sing Your praise forever and ever.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.


Today, my beautiful Daddy would have turned 70 years old. His life was cut short by the horrors of war and death that fills this Earth {I was only five}. Today I would like to honor his memory in prayer and some pictures of him in his military attire.

Love you, Papi, Lord willing one day we will meet again!

Te adoro Papi lindo!