12 Confirmation Gifts for Teens

Last spring my daughter recieved her Confirmation. It was a beautiful Mass and ceremony, and she was just glowing with joy. I also remember how I racked my poor brain trying to think of suitable gifts. Of course, in a teenager’s mind, cash is always a suitable gift. But if you want to give something that will help your confirmandi grow in his/her faith,  here is a list of 12 confirmation gifts:

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Faces of Down Syndrome

Thursday is World Down Syndrome Day! As many of you know, there is a real need to increase awareness about Down Syndrome. Each year, about 6000 children are born with T21 in the United States. And they need all the love and support they can get to thrive in a world that seeks to eliminate them before they see the light of day.

Many of you have seen the stats. In many European countries, over 90% of babies diagnosed in utero with T21 are aborted. In the U.S., that number is estimated to be about 67%. If you do the math, that’s about 12,000 innocent children who die each year in the U.S. just for having an extra chromosome. Children like this:

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What St. Ignatius Would Say to a Homeschooling Mom who Wants to Quit

March can be a tough month. Winter seems to drag on, colds and sniffles drag on,  and my kids get cabin fever. For most of the year, I have a strong enthusiasm for homeschooling. But during the winter months, that enthusiasm sometimes dwindles. And there are days I just want to quit.

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Frustration-Free Homeschooling? … Not Quite

Here’s a question that came into one of the comment boxes:

How do you prevent frustration (on your part and your child’s) when homeschooling? What do you do when you get frustrated? We’re thinking of homeschooling and I’m very worried about my lack of patience especially with an easily frustrated child. Please advise, thanks.

Frustration is a part of parenting, whether or not you home school. We all get frustrated with our children. We can minimize our frustrations, though, and doing so often has to do with managing expectations. 

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Should I Homeschool? One Mom’s Discernment

Last spring I met a young mom, Elizabeth,  at a homeschooling conference.  Her oldest was not yet of school age, but she was thinking about homeschooling.  Here Elizabeth shares her insights on the prospect of homeschooling:

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St. Paul’s Letter to the Homeschoolers

1 Corinthians 13. It’s probably St. Paul’s most famous letter – the one we often hear at weddings.  Listening to it in church a few weeks ago, I realized that St. Paul could have written it (with a few tweaks) specifically for teachers and homeschoolers. In imitation of St. Paul then, here’s St. Paul’s Letter to the Homeschoolers:

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25 Family Friendly Movies

A merry and blessed Christmas to you and your family! If your kids are like ours, they’ll probably be begging to watch a movie or two over the Christmas break.  Lately, however, we’ve been having a hard time finding good, clean movies that appeal to a wide spectrum of ages. Sometimes it takes us a full hour of searching before we settle on one.

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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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