Tuesday, April 6, 2021

50 Ways to Celebrate the 50 Days of Easter!


I LOVE the Easter Season- all 50 days of it! The truth of the Resurrection is real! Christ is risen from the dead, has triumphed over the grave, and has saved us from our sin! And that news is worth sharing. After such a warm response to the need of the Holy Week at Home Family Retreat over the past two years, I wanted to provide something to help you keep the momentum going in your own home or a resource easily shared with your classroom or parish. This set of 50 ideas is updated for 2021 with corrected dates and some new resources, including a free printable of my Paschal Lamb carving

As with Holy Week resources, the internet has blessed us with SO many options for celebrating. You can carry on your favorite traditions and do some research to add in new ones. This 50 Ways in 50 Days guide is intended to give you a starting point as well as to make it easy to share those ideas with others who might not know where (or have the time, etc.) to begin.

Click here to download a seven page pdf file. The pdf contains 50 little thumbnails that are all links to FREE Easter related resources, theoretically one for each day of the Season. They are loosely arranged from Easter to Pentecost, with special Feast Days (Divine Mercy, Ascension, Saints, etc.) labeled in between.

The resources are intended to reach a wide variety of ages, while of course some are meant for older kids and some for younger, hopefully families can find ways to make them work for most K-8th kids. The links lead to different ideas for art, coloring pages, prayer, food, videos, music, and more. And again, they are all free! (Here's what one sample page looks like)

Many of the ideas come from my blog, just organized in a different way. But I also have some favorite resources from many other parents, teachers, creators, and small business owners. Once you get to their sites, I hope you check out all they have to offer.

Please feel free to take this pdf and email it directly to anyone you think can use it. You are welcome to include it in a school/parish newsletter or include a link to it on your website. I designed it this way for exactly that purpose- hopefully it is easy to get in the hands of your family and the families you know and work with, helping all of us have a happier and holier Easter.

I pray that we all experience the true joy of the Resurrection and look forward to dwelling richly in the hope of Easter all season long!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Holy Week Journal and Activities {In English, Spanish, and French!}

This time last year, we were facing the prospect of celebrating Holy Week at home. As I prepared resources for my students and parish, I shared here on the blog a collection of tools for each day of Holy Week and a matching journal- and so, so many people took advantage of these tools- it remains one of the most popular blog posts of all time. 

This year while our access to the Sacraments fortunately is becoming more and more available, we still recognize that our celebration at home is a extension of the liturgy of our Church. Within the domestic church, we can continue our prayer and catechize our children. With that in mind, I hope that this Holy Week journal and the calendar of resources is still helpful this year and every year!

The Holy Week schedule includes:
-Suggestions for every day from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday
-Spots to list recommendations for participating in the Liturgy (put your parish schedule here, for example)
-Scripture reading from the Gospel of the day
-List of FREE activities including:
   -Videos (all on YouTube or Formed-add your parish code if you have a subscription)
   -Simple craft
   -Coloring Page
   -Food/snack suggestion
   -Song or music playlist

This Holy Week Retreat schedule is shared with you in an editable format (in Google Slides). You can make a copy or download it (use in Microsoft PowerPoint) and edit it to fit the needs of your home, classroom, parish, or school. Then save as a pdf and email out to anyone you like.

I've edited the dates and checked links from last year's version, but you are welcome to revise as much as you like to make it more relevant or varied.

Click here for a Spanish translation of the schedule shared from a blog reader! (Links on this one have not been updated.)

As a companion resource for kids participating in the Liturgies or reading the Gospels with their families, I also made this Holy Week Journal. It lists the name of the day, the Gospel to read, lines for journaling or copying a favorite verse, a question to think about, and a little bit of clip art to color. I picture it being copied single sided and the blank back of each page being used as a space to draw a reflection or letter a Scripture card. The second page of the journal contains some suggestions/ideas for how to use it across a variety of ages.

Here's a preview of what the inside pages look like:

And thanks to reader, here is the Holy Week Journal in Spanish!

And in FRENCH too!

I know that your family might have other traditions or prayers or foods that you typically enjoy during this holiest of weeks. And that is awesome! That's one of the reasons I made this schedule editable. I just tried to pull together resources for people with limited supplies/time or who are overwhelmed with choices.

It's my hope that this schedule and journal makes planning for parents, teachers, and church leaders to be able to more easily send ideas to the families you work with. If you have any suggestions or great ideas that might help us all, please send them my way or add them in the comments.


Finally, I've been sent a few resources recently that while not free are affordable and I think could have great value for your family. I wanted to share three of them here. (No affiliate benefit for me, just my honest opinions after receiving review copies!)

The brilliant and creative Lacy from Catholic Icing has organized her tried and true Holy Week and Easter recipes into a 60 page ebook! This cookbook has so many ideas packed inside, including a ton of bonus printables to support the hands-on and kid-friendly recipes, each of which points back to Christ's Passion, Death, and Resurrection. This would be a tool your family could use to build yearly traditions that will be both memorable and effective!

And matching Holy Week journaling kit from Ingrid Blixt of Open Journey

One of the best things I did during Holy Week last year was create a dedicated journal for prayer and art. It helped me focus on the importance of each day even while we were separated from the Sacraments. This year I'm making it a tradition, and I got a head start setting it up using this Holy Week journal written by Sara Estabrooks. It has reflections, readings, prayer prompts, and room to journal for the nine days leading up to Easter Sunday. I also am filling it with beautiful stickers and tabs and images from the matching journaling kit from Open Journey. I know this will be a fruitful too this year and in years to come! 
***The Open Journey kit is digital and an instant download, but Sara's journal is physical (and I just heard she only has a few left!) so if you'd like to have it in time, today's the day to order!

I'm so excited about this resource! Verso Ministries, a pilgrimage company, is offering a virtual Holy Week pilgrimage with FREE daily videos of sites in the Holy Land with their expert guides. That alone is sure to be an amazing opportunity. The videos will be 7-10 minutes long and while geared toward an adult audience, I imagine are still something that will work well to watch together with older kids. 
In addition to the videos, they are also offering a VIP experience that includes a 90 page ebook, filled with readings, prayers, and beautiful photographs, as well as access to private virtual groups and live mini retreats. The people from Verso have generously offered 20% off the VIP experience with code KATIE20. You can sign up for the free videos and see more info on the VIP package here

May God richly bless you and your loved ones during this Season!

Friday, March 19, 2021

Etsy Shop Restock and Sale!

Hi All! Praying you have a very, very happy and holy Solemnity of St. Joseph today! May the rich graces and virtues of the Patron of the Universal Church, Joseph, lead and guide us!

I don't usually pitch my Etsy shop here on the blog much, mostly because the blog is about free resources ;) but I also have heard from people that are not on Instagram and are sad when they miss a stamp restock or a sale.  So forgive the intrusion in your inbox, I promise I'll be back in a few days with free resources for Holy Week! 

Tomorrow I'm restocking the Catholic themed rubber stamps I carry in my Etsy shop. I love creating them and sharing them, but keeping up with a constant flow of orders and shipping isn't something I can make time for, so instead I release them all at once a few times a year and when they are gone, they are gone. They typically sell out within hours- so I wanted to make sure you had a heads up! 

This restock includes lots of old favorites as well as a bunch of new designs that I am so happy with!

The stamps will be listed at 9 am CST tomorrow, Saturday, March 20, 2021. And just for fun, I also have all of my digital downloads (Bible journaling tools and block carving art) are 50% off until after Easter!

Here are some previews of the stamps:

The Holy Family Hearts are the reason my Etsy shop exists in the first place! Four years ago I made a few stamps like the one in the upper right for Christmas gifts, but after showing a Bible journaling page made with them on Instagram, people asked to have their own! My Etsy shop is under the patronage of the Holy Family, and these will always be my favorite stamps. These designs range in size from 1"x1", 1.5"x3", and 2.5"x2.5".

Here's what the actual stamp side looks like- I'm always so impressed by the details! Each of these stamps is created from one of my original drawings (or block carvings) and then is digitally sent to a professional print shop and laser cut to create consistent tools for you.

These little minis (1"x1") are so adaptable! Perfect for little hands, planners, or Bible journaling. In addition to the individual Holy Family Hearts above, I'll also have the Divine Mercy/Jesus I Trust in You, JMJ (Fulton Sheen's handwriting), Holy Spirit Dove, and Ave Maria/Auspice Maria.

These Marian stamps are so cool- they were originally 4"x6" block carvings, now scaled down to about 2.5" tall! In this round I'll have Our Lady of Guadalupe, The Holy Family, Stella Maris, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

An old favorite is this Holy Spirit dove, and new stamps include the Infant Baby Jesus and the Angelus- both originally block carvings.

A few more perfect for the Easter and First Communion seasons are the Paschal Lamb, Cathedral, Chalice and Host, and Sacred Heart of Jesus. (I also have a Monstrance, but it's not pictured here!)

And finally a few stamps that are great for cards and mail, including the "Prayed a Rosary for You," Spiritual Bouquet counter, and Miraculous Medal stamps.

If you've got plans for how to put these stamps to good use, I'll see you at 9 am CST tomorrow at LookToHimBeRadiant on Etsy!

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Celebrating St. Joseph


As the Feast of St. Joseph approaches, I wanted to share an updated list of all the St. Joseph resources I have available for you and your students! During this year of St. Joseph, there is no better time to celebrate and pray with him. The Year of St. Joseph which is being celebrated from Dec. 8, 2020-December 8, 2021. You can read Pope Francis' Apostolic Letter Patris Corde here and more details from the Vatican here.

I've gotten several requests for St. Joseph book recommendations, so here are a few favorites:
(This list contains Amazon Affiliate links)
For adults:

For kids:
St. Joseph's Story- Guadagno, Geraldine (picture book- out of print, but you should be able to find used on Amazon or Thriftbooks)
The Sisters and the Staircase- Love, Pamela (picture book of the legend)
Light of Heaven: A Children's Book of Saints, Hude, Adalee (St. Joseph has a lovely page in this collection)

Here's a activity guide for learning about St. Joseph, perfect to send home to the families at your parish or school. It features four weeks of recommended prayers, a Bible story about St. Joseph with reflection questions, printable activities, and extra projects and ideas for parents- all in clickable links to free resources.

You know block carving is my new favorite hobby, and I've been making some new prints in honor of the Year of St. Joseph. Click here for a 5x7" print of these St. Joseph symbols:

Here's a printable of the Litany to hang on your fridge or add to a journal. These titles of St. Joseph are so powerful and praying with them has helped me understand not only St. Joseph, but also his role in the Holy Family and for the whole Church.
Click here for a digital version of the Litany of St. Joseph that is easy to pray in a group- set it to full screen either on your computer, TV, or smartboard:

 Click here for a printable card with the Pure Heart of St. Joseph and the Memorare to St. Joseph, as well as an explanation of the symbols on the Pure Heart of St. Joseph.

St. John the XXIII wrote this beautiful prayer for fathers, and you can use it with these prayer cards:

Click here for a fun five question scavenger hunt in Google forms. It will make a copy for you, so you can edit it to fit the needs of your kids/students.

Easy St. Joseph Shrines You could make these shrines as simply or as detailed as you like using a favorite coloring page or St. Joseph or have your kids draw their own!http://looktohimandberadiant.blogspot.com/2015/03/quick-easy-saint-joseph-shrine.html

Holy Family Coloring Page

A few years ago while visiting the Philippines, Pope Francis wove his love for St. Joseph into an address on prayer and family.  Specifically, he spoke about a statue he has on his desk of the Sleeping St. Joseph.  From the Gospels, we know that St. Joseph listened to God in his dreams and then rose to act on His will.  Pope Francis shared with his audience that he asks St. Joseph to pray for his intentions by writing them down and slipping the paper under the statue of St. Joseph.

This sweet devotion has been spreading slowly across the world.  A dear friend was the first to introduce it to me, and I just love this new connection with one of my very favorite Saints.  How comforting to think of St. Joseph caring for the Church, for us and our concerns, while resting in God.  Go check out this post for all kinds of ideas and activities about the devotion to the Sleeping St. Joseph.

With my students this year, we made this little mini Sleeping St. Josephs using coin envelopes (2.25x3.5"- I had a bunch donated in some school supplies and had to find a way to use them!). The students glued on the St. Joseph image and then put little post it notes with the prayer intentions inside the envelope. Click on the images below to get the mini Sleeping St. Joseph's:

If you  would like to pray the St. Joseph novena you could use this color-a-novena printable.  There's one lily to color in for each day you pray.  You can begin this novena any time (or leading up the feasts on March 19th and May 1st) and for any length to increase your devotion to St. Joseph and ask his powerful intercession.

This quote from St. John Paul II has long been one of my favorites, and I lettered it as a reminder to pray for the work of the leaders in our lives and homes.
"St. Joseph was a just man, a tireless worker, the upright guardian of those entrusted to his care.  May he always guard, protect, and enlighten families." ~St. John Paul II

St. Joseph Holy Saturday Coloring Page
Click here for some resources for Holy Saturday and a couple of printables with a line about St. Joseph from a favorite poem:

St. Joseph Memorare Prayer Cards
Similar in wording to the original Memorare, this one asks for the intercession of St. Joseph.

Good St. Joseph, Pray for Us!

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Ideas for the Lenten Season


Lent gives us 40 days of opportunities to grow closer to Christ. As you are planning for the upcoming season, here are some ideas for you to use in your home or classroom.  This round up post contains music, videos, art projects, or coloring pages, click on the images below to go to the original posts. If you are already thinking ahead to Easter, check out this post or the list under The Church Year tab.

Lent- Pray, Fast, Give Activity in English

Also in EspaƱol (Folder here and idea strips here)

Lenten Prayer Challenge Board (Perfect for self guided prayer with choice for older kids, includes an editable version)
Lent Family Plan- Ideas for prayer, fasting, and giving for each week of Lent centered around the Sunday Gospels and the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. (editable format)

Lent Looks Different- Ideas for Classroom and home decoration during Lent:

Lenten Visio Divina using classic art, including printable art and a Visio Divina guide:

The Sound of Lent: A Song Playlist (my personal go-to music during Lent, but great for a classroom as well)

Books for Lent for Kids and Adults here and here and in this overall list:

Sunset & Shadow Stations of the Cross Project (one of my students' annual favorites!)

Resurrection Eggs (Tell the story of Holy Week with items in each egg)

The Gospel in an Eggshell (Object lesson connecting Advent, Lent, & Easter)

Lent Notes Foldable (notetaking device for the Season of Lent)

Lent Word Cloud Notes (print mine or use as an example to have students make their own)

Give Up, Take Up (Lent goals printable and ideas for Youth Group lesson)

I don't have a link for this one, but we usually have a sacrifice crown of thorns in my classroom.  It's a simple grapevine wreath with large brown toothpicks.  When the students make a sacrifice, they can pull a thorn from the crowns and place it in the bowl.

Student created Lenten Acts of Mercy organized by the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy
(It's a great time of year to teach about the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.  Find printable coloring pages and mini books here and here.)

Using the Stations of the Cross as Inspiration for Lenten acts of charity

What Lent Looks Like Coloring Page (Also available in the Liturgical Year Coloring Book)

What The Triduum Looks Like Coloring Page

Passion & Resurrection Peg Doll Set

Connecting the Passover and the Passion (Youth Bible Study, can use movie Prince of Egypt)

New Life Seeds Printable

Fulton Sheen Good Friday & Easter Sunday Quote

Looking ahead to Holy Week, this Holy Week Journal and Retreat Schedule, available in English, Spanish, and French:

Oh, and these Bible Margin Doodles (bookmarks, mini coloring pages, templates, etc.) are in my Etsy Shop!

I pray you have a blessed and fruitful Lent!