Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Life as we know it..

It's been extremely quite around here hasn't it?! We're still alive and kicking, but life as we know it has been quite the roller coaster! Between health issues, a new baby, self employment and large family logistics, we've definitely had our plate full! It's been quite the ride for the past couple of years, but it looks as though we can see the rainbow at the end of the storm!

I've been working on designing a new blog where I will share our family adventures and my love for all things design. In the meantime, take a peek at what we've been up to with our children and our family music group, Cielito Lindo!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Lent: Our Journey with Jesus to Easter

I'm sharing some inspirational blogs and ideas to get you ready for Lent with your little ones!

My children look forward to the Advent and Lent seasons, as they are times for family traditions and spiritual growth. I'll be honest, as a kid, I didn't look forward to Lent and I didn't really even know what Advent was. In comparison, my own children cannot wait for Advent and Lent, and I'm really glad for it. I feel blessed that I am able to be a stay at home mother, and share the beauty and richness of our Catholic faith with my children. One forum where the ladies never cease to inspire me is the 4 Real Learning forum. I especially visit the discussions under the heading: Domestic Church, for ideas and inspiration in celebrating the Liturgical year in our home. Through this forum I've found wonderful bloggers such as Meredith at Sweetness and Light Jessica at Shower of Roses, Lena at Joy Filled Family, Lacy at Catholic Icing, Charlotte at Waltzing Matilda, Jen at Wildflowers & Marbles, Anne at Under Her Starry Mantle, and Jennifer at Family in Feast and Feria, and so many more that inspire me. You can check out their blogs to see ideas on how their family observes Lent in their home.

"Mami, is Lent when the frijoles turn into jelly beans?"  -My son

The sacrifice jar is almost out! That means that Lent is just around the corner and for the duration my children can earn these:

And on Easter morning their sacrifices will turn into the sweetness of these:
This is one of the many things we do to show the children that we are on a 40 day journey with Jesus during Lent. At the end, there is the joy and sweetness of Easter. The grit before the glory, the pinto bean before the jelly bean!

Some people color their beans purple because that is the Liturgical color of the season. We however, have found that purple colored pinto beans are a bit too tempting for little ones! ;)

Daily readings from the book: A Family Journey with Jesus through Lent. The kids absolutely LOVE this book from Catholic Child, as it speaks from both the perspective of a child living during the time of Jesus, and from Jesus giving a special message to the children. There is also a "Scripture Memory Verse" for each story, and my children love to repeat it and see if they can memorize it.
We are using these 8x10 posters of Vincentini's depiction of the Stations of the Cross to meditate on our Lords Passion along with a Stations of the Cross for Children type book.
After each station we sing the Stabat Mater, you can hear the verses on this DVD carried by Catholic Child, "The Way of the Cross for Children". Here are a few verses of the Stabat Mater that particularly tug at my heart strings:

"Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,

In that Mother's pain untold?
Bruis'd, derided, curs'd, defil'd,
She beheld her tender child

All with bloody scourges rent.
For the sins of His own nation,
Saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent."
For all the lyrics in both English and in Latin, check out CatholicCulture.org.

We are also singing and learning O Sacred Head Surrounded. You can find the lyrics by clicking Here. You can also hear it sung by clicking play on the YouTube video below:

I'm loving this "14 Stations of the Cross Candle Activity" from Just Another Day in Paradise. It is such a simple and touching idea.We are also enjoying this Printable Lenten Calender from Catholic Icing. Check out Catholic Icing for more great ideas to do with your children during Lent and all through the Liturgical Year!

Along with all the activities above, we are also keeping a sacrifice jar. Every time the children make a genuine sacrifice and offer it up to God we put a bean into the jar. On Easter morning, all of the beans will have turned into jelly beans! The sweet reward after all the sacrifice during Lent!

Check out this great idea called "40 bags in 40 Days" blogged by Jessica at Shower of Roses. It is a great way to involve the family in making a sacrifice to detach yourselves of material things, and reduce the clutter while doing. If you can donate your stuff to someone in need, than Great! Even better! Also be sure to check out Jessica's "Jesus Tree" posts with daily scripture readings and ideas.Finally, Check out Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure. The kids will be sure to love the videos, games, coloring sheets and ideas! Our kids love listening to their Stations of the Cross CD as well as the Sorrowful Mysteries, especially during Lent.

Have a Holy Lent!

Want to teach your little one's about the Catholic faith the Montessori way? Check out Elizabeth Papandrea's Catholic Montessori album!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Catholic Printables & Catholic Kids Printables

For years I've had a business idea I thought would be fabulous, but the reality of having so many projects and being busy with my children, I think perhaps this idea could be better off in someone else's hands. So if anyone is interested, I am considering the sale of my two domains:

catholicprintables.com and catholickidsprintables.com

Feel free to shoot an email to montessoricandy at gmail dot com if you are interested in making an offer on these domains!

Thank you!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Welcome to Facebook, Catholic Child!

Yay! Catholic Child is now on Facebook! Since Catholic Child specializes in products ranging from tots to teens, when I'm specifically shopping for my kiddos, it makes it a lot easier for this busy mama of 7 (Yes 7 now!) to find great Catholic gifts and resources directly catering to us. And let me tell you! Every moment counts for our busy family, so I really love having a go-to company where I know I can easily find something both me and my kids will love. I'm very particular about what goes into our home, especially with our children's books and play things, so I really like that the family behind Catholic Child has a Montessori connection with their children having attended Montessori school.

Speaking of being particular! I'm particularly eyeing this lovely book that I found on this lovely article: Fostering a Lifestyle of Faith. Doesn't it look cute?! I think we're going to have to add this one to our must have list!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Atrium

I've been pretty busy getting ready to start school and working from home as a marketing consultant, managing social media and writing copy and content for a few companies! Since I have a lot going on right now, I thought I'd repost some oldies, but goodies! I hope everyone is doing great and that you have a wonderful start to the new school year!!!
Copyright Stephanie@ Discovery Days and Montessori Moments

Stephanie over at Discovery Days and Montessori Moments has shared some lovely pictures of her local Catechesis of the Good Shepherd atrium. Get inspired and check out the rest of her wonderful blog while you're there.

Looking for a Catholic Montessori Album? Check this out!:

Friday, June 21, 2013

Montessori Home Classroom on a Budget

Copyright MontessoriCandy.blogspot.com
Many of you are on a budget and looking to set up a Montessori home classroom inexpensively. Here are a few tips that have helped my family in setting up our home classroom.

Start with Practical Life
The practical life area of the classroom is the foundation in Montessori. This is also the easiest area to start your home classroom with. You may not even be planning to home school your child/children through their school years, yet the Montessori practical life exercises will benefit your children regardless. It can begin with a little table and shelf on the side of the kitchen where your child practices slicing a banana, or spooning cheerios in to a bowl. Just look around the kitchen cupboards or craft cupboards. You may find that you already have a lot of the items needed to get started with practical life. Do a search for Montessori blogs to get free ideas on activities you can set up using easy to find items.

Shop Around
You can find inexpensive book shelves at stores like Target, yard/garage sales, craigslist, public school auctions or surplus sales, and thrift stores. The same goes for child size tables and chairs. A couple of years ago I found a very nice small wooden table with two chairs at a Savers thrift store for $25! I thought it was a great deal, but you may even find something similar for less at one of the places mentioned above. Thrift stores also usually have sections for wooden items and baskets. I've found some lovely wooden bowls, natural baskets, and wooden trays at thrift stores and you can find a lot of practical life items here, as well as at craft and dollar stores. You can also check with used bookstores for books on Montessori theory and practice if your local library does not carry them.

Ask Around
I wanted my children to have a Montessori education so, so, so bad. Bad enough, that I literally called around to several local Montessori schools and asked if I could buy their "left overs". I know that some Montessori schools will get rid of items that are missing 1 piece of something, or if the wood is starting to look worn out. I figured that if it was something like a knobless cylinder that was missing, I could just make and paint the missing one's, etc. Another thing I did was post a wanted ad on craigslist. I figured I had nothing to lose by asking if there was anyone out there who had Montessori materials or manuals they would like to sell me. You can also place a WTB (Want To Buy) post on the Montessori Swap Yahoo group, which always has used Montessori items for sale. Ebay can be another good place to find used items, however be prepared to have to bid for the items for the most part.

The Printer is your Friend
The digital age we live in today can help you acquire Montessori materials easier than before. Places like Montessori Print Shop offer a ton of Montessori and educational printables at a fraction of the cost! Choose instant download items a la cart, or order entire cd packages. Moveable alphabet for $1.99 and Moveable alphabet cards for just $2.69? Yes please! Check out Montessori for Everyone for a wonderful selection as well. If you'd like to do some Catholic Montessori lessons at home, you can also download Elizabeth Papandrea's pdf manual for $30.

Go Digital
Have an iPad? There are some absolutely wonderful Montessori apps for the iPad (Sorry, I'm not familiar with android). Check out app previews before purchasing an app claiming to be "Montessori"! Some of them can be nothing more than the equivalent to loud, visually obnoxious electronic toys. Here are a few of the Montessori style app companies that we've purchased from and have been pleased with: Preschool University, Mobile Montessori, and Montessorium. We certainly use other apps in our homeschool as well (I can go over those another time), but these are most similar to the traditional Montessori materials. Think an Ipad is too expensive? We were able to purchase an iPad 1 and an iPad 2 on Craigslist for about $100-$150 each. Is it worth it? Yes! As an educational tool, the iPad has been wonderful, but I would suggest that you definitely choose wisely and subject the apps to a Montessori "test" regardless if they claim to be Montessori or not.

Ask yourself, the following questions:
1. Is it visually cluttered or are they nice and simple, focusing on the main purpose of the activity?
2. Does it make a lot of noises, or perhaps distract children with "rewards"? If you find a good app that is noisy, you could always use the mute button and turn off rewards if possible.

Don't fall into the trap of letting your iPad "babysit" your children. Be sure to set time limits and goals for Montessori iPad activities.

Happy Birthday, We got you a Binomial Cube!
Birthday's and Holiday's are the perfect time to ask for Montessori items for your children. If you have the type of relatives and friends that ask you what your child needs, ask them for gift certificates from places like Montessori Print Shop, Montessori Services, Montessori for Everyone and Montessori Outlet. If they prefer to purchase the item themselves, start a wish list for these places and let them know the items you would like for your child.

Have you tried any of the ideas above? How did it go for you?