Free Advent O Antiphons Activities, Prayers, Printables

The O Antiphons (names for Jesus) begin the last week of Advent on December 17. Sorry I'm a day late with this. Each day a different title for Jesus is the focus. These ancient messianic titles are referenced in the Old Testament of the Bible. They can be found in the hymn "O Come Emmanuel." The titles are Emmanuel God with Us, Wisdom, Dayspring, Lord and Ruler, King of Kings, Root of Jesse, Key of David. These seven titles are listed in Latin and English. Advent tradition of praying the O Antiphons (names for Jesus) began in medieval times. Orthodox and some protestant churches pray them too. Here are printable prayer guides and coloring sheets to help children learn and pray the O Antiphons.   Advent O Antiphons Activities, Prayers, Printables

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe Activities

December 12 marks the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Catholic liturgical calendar. The Blessed Mother, Mary Mother of God, appeared to Juan Diego, an Aztec farmer at Tepeyac Hill in Mexico in 1531.

Following her apparition, millions converted to Christianity. We honor her as the Patroness of the Americas. The story of the Virgen de Guadalupe is one that appeals to many. Conversion has been thrust upon people by acts of imperialism (such irony). Tyranny, violence, holy wars (which should be called unholy wars) are anathema to the gospel.   Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe Blessings to You

Free Christmas Clipart and GIFs

I just wanted to share a cool website with free holiday clipart. There's a lot of secular Christmas clipart and .gif images (moving ones). And some religious Advent themed clipart. Not as much as I'd like, but I think there may be some I haven't found. Anyway, hope it helps for your Christmas card-making or decorating. Free Christmas Clipart and GIFs - News - Bubblews

Free Printable Pilgrim Crafts for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in the US celebrates the survival of the pilgrims who came on the Mayflower. We wrongly refer them as pilgrims. A pilgrim is a religious adherent who journeys (makes a pilgrimage) to particular shrine or holy place. San Juan Compostela in Spain, Glastonbury Abbey were two common medieval pilgrimage sites for Catholics. Muslims make pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina. A Jew might travel to Jerusalem.

The American "pilgrims" were actually Puritans who came to the New World seeking religious freedom. We remember the difficulties they faced and the help they received from local native American Indians. We celebrate their survival at Thanksgiving. Here are free printable pilgrim crafts.  Free Printable Pilgrim Crafts for Thanksgiving

Free Printable Advent Calendar Activities

Advent is a penitential season that starts four weeks before Christmas in Catholic and Orthodox-christian churches. As in lent (before Easter) we pray, fast and give alms to prepare our hearts for the "coming" (advent) of Christ (from the Latin "adveniat regnum"--coming of Christ's kingdom.) The first Sunday of Advent in 2013 is December 1. Here are printable advent calendars for families. Photo is free advent calendar from The Toymaker. Great site. Free Printable Advent Calendar Crafts for Kids

Free Printable Advent Calendars, Religious and Secular

Advent is a penitential season that starts four weeks before Christmas in Catholic and Orthodox-christian churches. As in lent (before Easter) we pray, fast and give alms to prepare our hearts for the "coming" (advent) of Christ (from the Latin "adveniat regnum"--coming of Christ's kingdom.) The first Sunday of Advent in 2013 is December 1. Here are free printable advent calendars (secular and religious)  Free Printable Advent Calendar Crafts for Kids

Direct and Fair Trade Shopping

Raise your hand if you, like me, have more generosity than money? I see the ads, hear of missions at church, read the email requests. I don't doubt the legitimacy. I just can't help everywhere. We're living very frugally already and give quite a lot. So I love donation sites that offer non-cash ways to give. Here's my favorite.  Free Donation Sites and Fair Trade Shopping

Free Day of the Dead Crafts, Activities to Print

I'm seeing a lot of advertising Day of the Dead schmaltz--beer, food, parties etc. But El Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, in Latino culture, commemorates the lives of beloved dead. It's not a gimmick.Day of the Dead coincides with All Saints Day and All Souls Day, November 1 and 2, in the Catholic Church.

For many of us, these holy days mark the countdown to our advent preparations. I started planning advent lessons, as a homeschool mom, after All Saints. So back to dia de los muertos. Need free printable activities for this holiday? You've come to the right place.

Traditionally commemorative altars are brought to the cemetery so that the family may visit with the dearly departed. The human skull is an integral symbol. Candies are made in the shape of skulls and people may paint their faces to represent a skull. Some of the United States Halloween traditions stem from the Day of the Dead celebrations. The Day of the Dead is a religious holiday, connecting Catholic All Saints, All Souls Day and old Aztec, Mixtec, Olmec and Toltec pre-Columbian traditions. Read on for ways to celebrate Free Printable "Day of the Dead" Crafts, Lessons and Activities

Free Printable Saints, Animals Crafts for Feast of St. Francis

October 4 is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, in Catholic tradition. Francis's biggest achievements were restoring San Damiano church and founding the Franciscan religious order. He was instrumental in returning the Church to Benedictine vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and humility. He wrote "Brother Sun, Sister Moon" and the Prayer of St. Francis (Make me a channel of your peace) from which 12-step programs take the Serenity Prayer. Children love him as the patron saint of animals. So here are Free Printable Saints, Animals Crafts for Feast of St. Francis

Advent is Minor Penitential Season--First Hand Lessons in Charity, Fasting

Advent is a lesser or minor penitential season-- a mini Lent. We practice the same gospel virtues--prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We homeschooled our kids and being Catholic, followed church liturgical calendar for lessons. During Lent, our church does Catholic Relief Services Operation Rice Bowl, collecting money for those in need. Through the rice bowl calendar we learn about cultures our money helps. Charity gets a negative reputation when it's done wrong. Like a "superior" people helping an "inferior" one. Rice Bowl isn't a do-gooder, we-them thing. They ain't heavy--they're brothers and sisters. And Rice Bowl lessons have applications for Advent and the entire liturgical year. Here's what we learned, plus ways you can bring CRS social values to your advent  What We Learned About Hunger From My Third-World Recipe Fail - News - Bubblews

Fast, Lose Weight, Live Simpler, Eat Healthier, Observe Advent Better

This post might seem like an odd subject for Advent--weight loss. If you think of fad dieting, obsession with appearance--yes, those are far from Advent virtues. I'm advocating "gospel" dieting to lose weight, feel better, be healthier, heal addictions, save money and live in solidarity with the poor.  I'm suggesting partner with Our Lord, for best weight loss. Here's how I lost 85 pounds.

I never had problems with weight problem till age 40. I had four healthy babies, then miscarried the fifth at 20 weeks. I was terribly depressed. I spiraled emotionally, in my marriage, economically, in employment and worst, spiritually. I started taking the antidepressant Paxil (paroxetine). With no baby to nurse, I couldn't shed post-pregnancy weight as I normally would, breast-feeding. Then I lost another baby in 2004 and got more depressed. The kids wanted to try public school after homeschooling and with no sisters to teach it didn't seem fair to homeschool the youngest alone. And I didn't have the desire. I had to find employment because we couldn't make it on one income anymore. Our fixer-upper house was draining all our resources and we couldn't even afford to do it right. More depression.

I weaned myself from antidepressants in 2010, but I'd put on about 105 pounds. I tried dieting and wasn't successful. Then I got serious around fall 2012. Without surgery, drugs or a support group, I lost 82 pounds and gone from size 20 to 6-8. Read more How I Lost 82 Pounds, Dropped 6 Sizes Without Surgery, Drugs

Common Sense Christmas Shopping Means Healthier, Christ-Centered Advent

We talk about keeping Christ in Christmas. Then we spend all advent Christmas shopping like maniacs. That's not pleasing to God. It takes the focus off Him and puts it on money and possessions. Don't get me wrong, I love giving gifts and do each year. But I try to do it reasonably. Here are penny pincher shopping tips to save money, keep costs low and buy meaningful gifts and keep Baby Jesus where He belongs--as the star of the day. Tightwad Mama's Common Sense Christmas Shopping Tips

How to Simplify Christmas Shopping

I’m a frugalista every day, everywhere. But particularly in gift giving occasions. This may sound parsimonious, but I only spend $10 to $15 per birthday or Christmas gift for extended family. For the kids and spouse, I spend more, but even then, I stay in a budget. If I get the gift on sale (and I usually do) the value of the gift may be more. But the price tag, I keep low.

I do this for several reasons. First, it’s too easy to overspend. By pinch pennies in every purchase, I stay financially solvent. I cut on non-essentials so I’ll have enough for essentials. I prioritize needs before luxuries, and then choosing which luxuries to splurge on (for example, last Christmas we didn’t exchange gifts, but took the family to New Orleans to see our eldest daughter). On a deeper spiritual level, simple Christmas are more Catholic. It gets us in line with advent principles. For more, read  How to Simplify Christmas Shopping

Catholic Christmas Traditions Around the World

My husband and I base our 23 year marriage on family, parenting, education and tradition. We practice attachment parenting and home-schooled our children. As a Catholic family, holiday traditions revolve around Advent and Christmas. Here are some of those traditions. Read more


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