Homegrown Catholics is an excellent resource for religious education teachers, homeschoolers, and parents. Here you'll see all my lesson plans and project ideas on many Catholic subjects as well as school topics. If you would like to read about my adventures as a Home Educator, click on the St. Brigid's Academy tab above.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Saint Patricks Day Activities

Homegrown Catholics - St Patricks Day Activities
I am having so much fun searching for ideas for our Saint Patrick's Day Celebration in March. I'm sure many of you have already thought of the typical dress in green, eat Lucky Charms and read a book, BUT take a minute and see if any of these ideas inspire you to make it a day of faith filled learning and fun like never before! These are my plans for our homeschool group's few hour session and for our family.

*Link to my Pinterest Board: Spring & St Patrick Activities

Consider having Celtic music in the background. A specific song you might have is "Christ Before Me" by Margaret Becker.

May the Strength of God guide us.
May the Power of God preserve us.
May the Wisdom of God instruct us.
May the Hand of God protect us.
May the Way of God direct us.
May the Shield of God defend us.
May the Angels of God guard us.
- Against the snares of the evil one.
May Christ be with us!
May Christ be before us!
May Christ be in us,
Christ be over all!
May Thy Grace, Lord,
Always be ours,
This day, O Lord, and forevermore. Amen.

*St. Patrick's Prayers make for great Copywork!

*Choose a Book about St. Patrick and/or Irish Saints from your collection or local library.
Patrick Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie DePaola
The Story of St. Patrick by James A Janda
The Story of Saint Patrick's Day by Patricia A Pingry
The Life of St. Brigid, Abbess of Kildare by Jane G Meyer
Brigid's Cloak: An Ancient Irish Story by Bryce Milligan


Making Lapbooks
St Patrick and Ireland Lapbooks - Homegrown CatholicsSt Patrick and Ireland Lapbooks - Homegrown Catholics

St Patrick and Ireland Lapbooks - Homegrown CatholicsSt Patrick and Ireland Lapbooks - Homegrown Catholics
St Patrick and Ireland Lapbooks - Homegrown CatholicsSt Patrick and Ireland Lapbooks - Homegrown Catholics

St Patrick and Ireland Lapbooks - Homegrown CatholicsSt Patrick and Ireland Lapbooks - Homegrown Catholics

The Homeschool Post: Irish resources  for lapbooks and other activities!
Teacher's Resources about Ireland

Saint Patricks Day

St Patricks Day - Homegrown Catholics

Cleaning Treasure Hunt @ Home: Hide gold coins amongst the messes in your home. Ask your kids to find the coins by cleaning up, and trade in their coins for a special treat! We used plastic gold coins. Chocolate coin treat in snack suggestions would work for this!
Pin the Shamrock
Pin the Shamrock on St. Patrick - from Under Her Starry Mantle Blog
March Saints and Feast Days Word Search - from CatholicPrintablesOnline.com
Saint Patrick's Day Scavenger Hunt - from My Very Educated Mother


Shamrock and Rainbow Bookmark w plastic canvas and yarn - by me!
Shamrock Magnet w  plastic canvas & yarn
Shamrock Pin w plastic canvas & yarn
Irish Cross w plastic canvas & yarn
Shamrock Coaster, crocheted
Catholic Icing - Shamrock Lacing
Shamrock Lacing - from Catholic Icing
Felt Saint Patrick Doll - inspiration from Saintly Silver
Holy Trinity Puzzle - from Homegrown Catholics
Saint Patrick Puppet - from Catholic Icing
Color Saint Patrick - from Wee Little Miracles

Saint Patrick's Gold Coins - from Catholic Cuisine
Gold Coins
Irish Kisses (also a matching activity - from Studio DIY)
Irish Kisses
Gummy Snakes (or Edible Mud w gummy worms)
Gummy Snakes
Rainbow Gelatin - from The Michalek Kitchen
Rainbow Ribbon Jell-O Salad
Shamrock Cucumber Sandwiches - from Will Cook for Smiles
Cucumber Tea Sandwiches - Shamrocks
Cucumber Slices -Shamrock Platter with dip - from Brit+Co
ALSO CONSIDER: Irish Soda Bread, Corned Beef & Cabbage (on Rye), Irish (Lamb) Stew, Bangers and Mash, Shepherds Pie, Frozen Green Grapes, Avocado or Pistachio Pudding, Spinach & Artichoke Dip w chips veggies or bread, or a Green Smoothie!

*Irish Catholic Movies @ Catholic Video.com
St. Patrick the Irish Legend
Patrick - Brave Shepherd of the Emerald Isle
The Secret of the Kells
Veggie Tales: Story of Saint Patrick
The History of Saint Patrick - A Short Story
The Secret of Roan Inish

The Feast of St. Brigid is Feb 1st, but she is the Patroness of Ireland, my Confirmation saint and our homeschool saint, so I encourage you to learn more about her as well! [St. Brigid's Academy Blog = now Homegrown Catholics]
OLD POST: 2013 St. Patrick and the Holy Trinity
OLD POST: 2011 Happy St. Patrick's Day @ Homegrown Catholics

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

LENT Are You Prepared to be Repaired

Mikayla Anna Michalek Lent, the season of preparing your soul to be renewed in Christ's unconditional love, mercy and forgiveness. It's the 40 days prior to Easter Sunday that encourage us to transform our lives in radical ways to seek God and a desire to honor him with our whole lives. These are some ideas so you can spend the next few weeks preparing activities, crafts, meal plans and places in your home that honor traditions and will help your family reflect on the lessons of Lent.

While I make so many lesson plans available for free, there is a cost to me... my time. I ask that you pay a small fee for using the documents available to print.  After payment, you'll be directed to the file. This purchase will give you A PDF FILE: ALL MY LENT FAMILY ACTIVTIES printouts!

HGC Lent Activities 15pg PDF File

MARDI GRAS Mardi Gras or Pancake Tuesday or Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday or Carnival…. is the day before the beginning of Lent. It's "The Feast Before The Fast." It's traditions are easily found online. Our family celebrates with a big pancake meal and crafts including masks, necklaces and glitter! If you have a King Cake, you might be hiding a little plastic baby inside to be found!
Halloween 2012 Mardi Gras pancakes

We begin Lent with Ash Wednesday. While it is not a holy day of obligation, it is good practice to use this day and week to begin reflection on dying to ourselves. I recommend taking your whole family to Ash Wednesday service. Everyone is welcome, even non-Catholics. Many people take pride in wearing their ashes throughout the day at work and outings, just like someone might wear their "I Voted" sticker, but in a manner of reminding others that we must die to ourselves (our worldly desires) if we want to be like Christ.p_00042Weeks prior to this day, remember to bring in your old blessed palms from last Palm Sunday. If you forgot, they can be buried, burned or cut apart to be disposed properly.

HOLY WEEK IDEAS ARE HEREPrioritizing Holy Week
 - Including Palm Sunday Craft, Holy Thursday meal, Good Friday activities.

PRAYER - FASTING - ALMSGIVING Take advantage of this opportunity to include the whole family in bringing each other to the full potential Christ intends for them. Create a plan of action for the traditional acts during the 40 days of Lent. To help you out, I created these cards with 36 ideas (incl in the file)!

Keep Track of your good deeds with a Lent Calendar (incl in the file).

Homegrown Catholics: Lent Calendar


1. CREATE A JESUS TREE (included in the file for purchase) to reflect on 40 daily scripture readings.Jesus Tree copy
While it's a great value to get all these printouts including these cards for $10, you can get just these Jesus Tree Cards for $5. Click the order button, and after payment you'll be directed to a link for a digital download.

Jesus Tree Cards Only
2. CREATE A PRAYER SPACE or HOME ALTAR for reflection.
Stations of the CrossThis may include a mini Stations of the Cross I created (included in the file for purchase). We simply cut and color the illustrations, then glued them to our popsicle stick crosses mounted in clay. You might add purple in several ways including cloths and ribbon. We often have a Crown of Thorns that is a vine wreath filled with toothpicks that are removed when good deeds are done or sacrifices are made.


Make a Portable Kneeler as guided by Catholic Icing like we did! Make a Prayer Pail where you add written petitions. Have a collection of prayer books and cards, as well as rosaries.

I have this nice magnetic space where I can feature these foam magnets we made. It's the 5 Loaves and 2 Fish. The Fish remind us to pray for ourselves, our wants and needs. The Loaves remind us to pray for others: the suffering, the church and leaders, the poor, the military, and our community/friends/family.

I think we've all seen the lovely ideas on Pinterest and Etsy for chalkboard intentions. Whatever you have available is always best!

4. A HOLY HOSUEHOLD: I created some mini posters to hang around the house to inspire a Holy Household. Our favorite is the Soap=Repentence that is placed near our hand soap in the bathroom. Just click on the image to print for free!

Holy Household Labels[3]

Inspirational and Prayer Posters are easy to find on Pinterest and would be valuable whether you tape them up or give them a frame. These are a few of my favorites!

 Our children really like their hands on Montessori Stations of the Cross inspired by Catholic Icing.  
Magnatiles + Calvary/Golgatha

Design a Suncatcher Cross with black construction paper, contact paper and tissue paper squares.


"Don't shine so others can see you. Shine so that through you, others can see God!"
A sacrifice made during Lent requires giving up bad habits that keep us from leading holy lives. What sacrifice do you hope to make this season? Many Catholics are noted for giving up foods and basically going on a diet during lent. While that does teach self control, it seems out of context for this religious experience. Whatever you choose, it should be something that is keeping you from becoming a saint. Perhaps it may not be something you give up, rather something you need to start doing! Sacrifice develops a personal change that in turn people see God in you, rather than being boastful of our hardships. Best Lent Ever Dynamic Catholic is giving us free tools to have the "Best Lent Ever!" They are encouraging us to stop giving up chocolate and do something that is life-changing! Check it out hereSacrifice Bin For young children, their general innocence can make this hard to understand. This is where it is easiest to focus on giving up material things in our life. Might I suggest Making a Sacrifice Bin. This is a box or bin that everyone in the family adds at least one item that is their favorite, that they would like to offer up for Lent. For adults, this may be a credit card. For children, it may be a favorite toy or game that is often focused on. For this modern day, giving up Minecraft or the Wii system might be in order. But remember to replace the time spent with that item with prayer. If you give up 15 minutes of Minecraft each week, that could be spent saying the rosary. If you give up watching a late night show, you can read a spiritual book or the Bible.

Other families may choose to have a display for their sacrifices. You might have a 'Bean (being) Good Jar or Crown of Thorns. The concept is that you fill the jar with a bean each time to make a sacrifice. On Easter, those beans are replaced by Jelly Beans or a special treat. The Crown of Thorns is a wreath full of toothpicks that are removed for each sacrifice. On Easter, they can be replaced with flowers and be a wreath for your Easter Candle. 100_3348 Sacrifice Beads. These are a string of beads with a holy medal and crucifix on each end. Beads are moved while praying a decade of the rosary or when making a sacrifice. You can also find a child-level story in your Catholic Children's Treasure Box books. [Craft directions][Kits at Oriental Trading] Easter Some things that are hard in life, we lovingly call "Our Crosses." These can be offerings to God in a penitential way. To show this to our children, we once had them carry a real wood cross. It got dirty and tattered, and it was never convenient or easy. This might be a daily thing, or on Sundays when we are more relaxed about the things we've given up for Lent. You can read about it at "The Crosses We Bear." On Easter we transformed the cross into a lovely Rosary Holder. It taught our children that God makes things new. That our crosses that may seem like burdens can make us the beautiful people we are meant to be.
Many who are in love with St. Therese will enjoy making

"Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me." Luke 9:23

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday during Lent are obligatory fasting days where you eat one larger modest meal and two smaller meals/snacks which do not include meat. All Fridays during Lent follow suit by allowing only fish (a symbol of Christ) to be eaten, no meat. Traditionally this is for ages 14-59, but it is a good practice for children to join in on. It teaches them a lesson in sacrifice and penance. It also makes the transition to adult faith practices easier.
*Catholic.com: Why do Catholics fast and abstain during Lent?
*USCCB: Fast & Abstinence Obligations
*About Religion: Should Children Fast?
So what should we eat?
If you're interested in meatless Friday ideas, or an entire 7 week menu for Lent, check out the link to our kitchen blog! Lent is certainly not an excuse to make a pit stop at a fast food restaurant for a fish sandwich, or a date night at Red Lobster. Friday should be a mindful change in the week, focusing on your meal prayer and quiet reflection on personal sacrifices you've made during the week. But in an effort to teach young children, you can make that prayer and reflection a group sharing moment. In our family, we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in impromptu/spontaneous prayer in addition to our traditional meal prayers.


Feed My Starving Children trip

It's also a time to drop your saved change in a Rice Bowl , volunteer at a local food bank, or food for the poor service such as Feed My Starving Children or Kids Against Hunger. You can make your own Offering Box from a simple milk carton or jar. There a many ways to give back to your church and community. This is the perfect time of year for Catholics/Christians to volunteer, as the rest of the world seems more mindful about doing this during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Lent Craft Time
*BONUS* In the file you can purchase at the top of this post, is a coloring sheet you can wrap around a jar or container for your "LENTEN ALMSGIVING." Sample below!
CONFESSION & REPENTENCE Confessional copy God forgives us on so many levels with second chances and even twenty-fourth chances! As a Catholic, this is more complex than just being sorry and being born again in Christ. It is a constant movement within our hearts, asking for forgiveness and expressing it outwardly by attending the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is VERY important that as a family you discuss what the Church teaches regarding making a confession. Consider using my First Reconciliation Activities to teach young children about being truly sorry. I include a fun sensory project called "A Taste of Confession" (tags incl in the file), a lap book, and other activities. Taste of Reconciliation God wipes away all our sins. You can show this with a science experiment or make a custom wipe off/dry erase board! Wipes away my sins board - fingerprints

You might also enjoy as we do:
Catholic Icing: Passion and Easter Children's Scene
Wee Believers: My Mass Kit
Holy Heroes: Lenten Adventure

HGC Lent Activities 15pg PDF File


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God will bear your burdens and give you strength."

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