Christmas Carols and Why Children Should Sing Them

A few years ago, we began the tradition of singing Christmas carols. It all started when Feisty and Sparky had roles in our parish’s Christmas pageant.  Someone gave 6-year-old Sparky the role of Joseph, which was a terrible idea. During the rehearsals, our impish, irrepressible Sparky kept pretending to scold Baby Jesus. I was terrified concerned that Sparky would scold Baby Jesus during the actual pageant, but he played the role perfectly, with a reverence and seriousness we never knew he was capable of. Phew! Anyways, the kids had to learn the songs, so we practiced the carols at home. And we all loved it.

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A Free Confession Prayer Book

In a few weeks, our youngest daughter is going to have her First Confession. Finally, she will get to join the rest of the family when we all go to Confession. More importantly, she will get to experience God’s incredible mercy and the abundance of graces that come through this wonderful sacrament.

To help prepare her for confession, I made a little booklet. I thought it would be beneficial if she had all the prayers she needed and an examination of conscience all in one little booklet — with beautiful art work, of course.

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A Bright Consensus About Screens and Kids

Earlier this week, the NY Times published an interesting article: A Dark Consensus About Screens and Kids Begins to Emerge in Silicon Valley. Essentially, there is a growing movement among the technical gurus of Silicon Valley to seriously restrict their children’s use of cell phones and tablets. Interesting, but not surprising. As my husband says, it’s pretty obvious that smart phones and tablets are not good for kids, especially when you see them so sedate and glued to the screen. Normal heathy kids should be running around, playing outside, and using their imaginations. Most parents would agree that we need to limit the amount of time our children spend in front of the screen; many parents struggle to do so.

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A Score for Down Syndrome

Happy November! October was Down Syndrome Awareness Month… how did it go by so fast? Even though I’m a little behind the ball, I’d like like to share this little story with you:

It was the last game of our son’s basketball season, and his fifth-grade team was winning. Towards the end of the last quarter, the coaches called a time out. The teams huddled around their coaches and listened to their instructions. Then the players  ran back onto the court to finish the game.

But something surprising happened. Instead of playing with their usual energy and aggression, the boys on my son’s team started fumbling. A player on the opposing team quickly got hold of the ball and tossed it to his teammate, No. 33. It was a strange move for a player who only had a few minutes left to close the gap on the score. You see, No. 33 was the least athletic kid on the team. He was the smallest. He was the slowest. He had Down Syndrome.

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Story of Civilization Vol. 2: The Middle Ages – Book List, Literature Guides, and History Dates

This year we are once again delving into the Middle Ages. This is my favorite time period in history because we witness the blossoming of Christendom despite barbarian invasions, the spread of heresies, the Crusades, a devastating plague, and division in the Church. Indeed, we can see the hand of God guiding the Church through all of this turmoil, raising up great saints to spread the Gospel. I just looove the Middle Ages.

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Teaching Your Child to Read with Short Vowel Stories… and a free give-away!

When my oldest was a kindergartener, I wrote some super short stories to help her learn to read. I then used them to teach all my other kids to read, along with a variety of other phonics books. Variety is the spice of life, so it is good to give your emerging readers a mixture of books  with which they can learn to read.

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Church Scandals – What’s a Parent to Do?

How have you been coping with all the recent news of church scandals and clergy abuse of minors? All this news makes me sick to my stomach. Part of me doesn’t want to think about it, much less talk about it. But that’s part of the problem, isn’t it? The silence, the covering-up, the pretense that sexual abuse by clergy isn’t really real.

But it is.

And while church officials talk about accountability and processes to protect youth and reform the system, we parents need to take the bull by the horns and talk about it with our kids (at least middle schoolers and older). If we don’t, they will catch wind of it somewhere else and feel confused and scandalized (as they should), and their faith may be seriously compromised. Here are three points to think about and possibly talk about with your kids:

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12 Down Syndrome Baby Shower Gifts

Hi! It’s me, Junior! And yep, I hacked into my Mommy’s blog. I want to tell you about my favorite things, just in case you happen to know a mommy who is having a  baby with an extra chromosome, like me. Of course, this stuff is great for babies who only have 46 chromosomes, too. So go ahead and take a look: my favorite things that make great baby shower gifts.

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More Poems for Copywork and Memorization

Having a repertoire of memorized poetry is something my kids secretly enjoy… although some would never admit it.  Sometimes when the younger ones are reciting their poetry, the older ones jump right in, remembering the same poems they had learned in earlier years.

There are many good reasons for copying and memorizing poetry: The rhythm and rhyme of poetry is catchy and fun. As they get older, the kids learn to appreciate the imagery and the way poets play with words, rhyme, and meter. More importantly, it is an excellent way to fill our children’s minds with beautiful imagery and rich vocabulary. In a world so devoid of culture and beauty, memorizing poetry is one way to help our children appreciate that which is true, beautiful, and good.

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