Celebrating Pope Francis

So with Pope Francis’ visit, it’s been all Pope all the time over here at our house.  I have been so inspired watching his visit on TV–the joy, the enthusiasm, the challenge to live the life we are called to live.  And this has been a wonderful opportunity for our kiddos.  This is why we homeschool–to give them an education imbibed with our religious faith.

Watching the canonization of Junipero Serra

Watching the canonization of Junipero Serra

The Pope may be leaving but you can still enjoy some Pope Francis fun.

Matthew 16:18 craft

This is the Bible verse the girls have been memorizing this past week (“You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church”) and this is the craft we did with it.  We actually first did this when Pope Benedict stepped down and Pope Francis was elected, but we used a real rock.  This time I used glittery fun foam for the rock so that we could attach it to our Bible board.

Peter Rock
Matthew 16:18

You can download Peter and the church here: On this rock craft template

And here it is using a real rock…

Peter and the Church

 

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We participated in Flat Francis and have been taking him with us this past week so that he can explore a little more of the U.S. than just D.C., New York, and Philadelphia.  You can get yours here: http://flatfrancis.org/

 

 

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Pope Francis puppets

We were inspired by Catholic Icing’s puppet of Pope Francis.  I love her saint puppet set!  The girls really wanted their puppets to look like our Flat Francis and I think they were adorable.

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Mitre Hats

The girls decorated these mitre hats while watching one of the services.  Clearly they don’t go for the humble look.  🙂  They are super simple to make.  Just cut out the mitre shape from white paper and then add a band so you can wear them.

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But they loved wearing them!  This is one of my favorite pictures–Mia helping make dinner while wearing her hat.

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Pope Coloring Sheets

We also enjoyed pope coloring sheets from Drawn 2 Be Creative which you can find here.  She has Pope Francis and the Vatican crest.

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Religious Easter Eggs

P1020337I saw these religious printed plastic eggs on Oriental Trading but I didn’t want to pay for them.  I wouldn’t say they were expensive but once you factor in shipping, they are a lot more than the dollar packs of plastic eggs you can get.  So I made my own.  On some I used paint pens and on others stickers.  All told it took me less than an hour and cost less than half what the others would have been.  Like I said before, I want this Easter to keep the focus on Jesus and this was just one more cute, quick way to do that.

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Easter Egg Printable

Easter Egg colors1With the Easter holiday approaching, I’ve really wanted to keep the focus on the true spirit of the holiday, Christ’s resurrection, but I certainly don’t want to toss out our family traditions of Easter egg hunts and baskets.

So, here is one attempt to make our traditions support our faith more.  I had my husband make this printable for us to accompany dying Easter eggs.  The girls colored each section and then we cut the pieces and turned it into a puzzle. (My girls had a very hard time leaving the white section blank).  I laminated the sections to help it last.

Download Easter Egg Colors Printable here

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Lenten Chain

Lent is hard for little ones.  Who are we kidding?  It’s hard for adults too.  Advent is filled with the hustle and bustle of getting ready for Christmas.  There are parties to go to, cookies to bake, presents to get.  Lent, on the other hand, is a time of praying, fasting, and almsgiving.  It’s the holiest of seasons and yet for a child it’s the hardest in which to participate or even understand.

In order to help my girls recognize Lent, I made us paper chains to count the days until Easter.  Since the girls are still too little to do the cutting or stapling, I actually made them myself.  But I wanted them to be more than just a countdown until Easter so on each paper link I wrote a message of faith for the girls.  I kept them simple and joyful for a toddler.  Messages like:

Jesus loves you!
God made the sun and the stars!
Jesus is your friend!
God will always help you!
Jesus is with you when you are scared!
God made all the animals!
Mary is Jesus’ mama and our friend too!

I will be honest, it was hard at times coming up with the 47 messages.  Even though I was making two chains (one for each daughter), I just used each message twice and mixed them up when I put them together.  Each day Mia and Zoe will have different messages, but at some point they will have one they have already heard before, just reinforcing the message.

For the links I used purple since it’s the liturgical color of the season; however for Sundays and Ash Wednesday I used pink just to spice it up a little and make it easier to keep track of how many links there were.

We started on Ash Wednesday and so far the girls have really enjoyed it.  They love pulling off a link each day and finding out what the message is.  First they like to “read” it themselves first, usually repeating the message they had the day before.  Then they will let me read it to them.

  It does appear that this Lent we will also be focusing on patience and taking turns since they really wanted to just take off every link on the first day.  (On that first Thursday, the girls did sneak over to the chains and started pulling off links).

Hopefully this will help my girls feel more involved in Lent and help them to be saying a special extra prayer each day in their own way.

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