Friday, June 29, 2012

Review: Vatican Express Catholic Kidz Camp

It's been such a faith-filled, fun, and busy week as 100 children and adults boarded the Vatican Express with the Growing with the Saints Catholic Kidz Camp at our church! 

I was one of the adult leaders for the 21 rising 2nd graders and each day I've been documenting some of the exciting things that we have learned (children and adults) on my Facebook statuses.  Here is what I wrote for Days 1-4:

Day 1 of Vatican Express with Growing with the Saints was so much fun as we learned about St. Jerome and how he had the huge job of translating the Bible into Latin!

We learned about Peter (whose name means "rock") and how he was our first Pope and our Church's foundation was built on the apostles chosen by Jesus.

There have been 265 Popes from Peter to our current Pope, Pope Benedict XVI who were chosen by the power of the Holy Spirit and it has been with the power of the Holy Spirit that our one, holy, catholic, and apostolic faith has been preserved since Jesus walked on earth! Viva il Papa! "Long live the Pope!"

"You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church." Matthew 16:18

Day 2 of Vatican Express with Growing with the Saints was another great success as we learned all about Peter, our first Bishop of Rome, receiving the keys to the kingdom of heaven which means Jesus gave him the POWER through the Holy Spirit to rule and pass down the teachings of Christ when Jesus left the earth.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the keys to the kingdom of heaven have continuously been passed down through 265 Popes to our current Pope Benedict XVI. It is AMAZING that our Catholic faith can be traced back to the time of Jesus and Peter with the unbroken succession of Popes!

We also met St. Jerome and learned that he stood up to those who wanted to change the meaning of God's Word to fit their lifestyle and desires.

"I [Jesus] will give you [Peter] the keys to the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 16: 19-20

Day 3 of Vatican Express with Growing with the Saints Catholic Kidz Camp (VBS) fun and done! My 21 second grade campers loved learning about St. Peter's Square in Vatican City and they learned some Italian too..."Piazza San Pietro" means St. Peter's Square. We learned of some of the holy relics inside St. Peter's Basilica with bones of St. Peter that can be seen through a glass window!

It's hard to tell who is having more fun and learning the most this week, the campers or the group leaders, as the children's eyes got really big today as I told them the story of how St. Jerome's lion friend was accused of eating St. Jerome's donkey...I can't wait to tell them the outcome of this wonderful story!

With our fists in the air and smiles on our faces we shout "standing on the Rock, the universal Church of Jesus, and I'm not goin to move.....One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic!"

"I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19

Day 4 of Vatican Express with Growing with the Saints Catholic Kidz Camp (VBS) was another fun day...and all my second graders were able to tell me the Bible verses this week from memory (with the addresses from the Bible!)

We learned about St. Peter's chair and how it is now a holy relic inside St. Peter's Basilica as a throne is built around it. We also talked about Michelangelo who was just 21 years old when he made the beautiful marbel statue, the Pieta which means pity, as Mary holds her Son as she suffered watching her Son die on the cross.

All the campers were happy that St. Jerome's lion was able to find the donkey in the dessert and that Jerome forgave the merchants for taking the donkey. Tomorrow the campers will find out that it took Jerome a little over 55 years to translate the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into Latin! WOW!

I am disappointed that I will not be at closing tomorrow as I will be on a plane to PA for my sister's bridal shower, but I will be praying the last day will be as great as the first 4 days!

"Knock and the door will be opened to you." Luke 4:19

I can't say enough good things about this Catholic Kidz Camp that was created by Catholics for Catholics!  I loved every minute of my week and seeing all the kids soak up teachings of our beautiful Catholic faith has been so rewarding and a blessing!  One of the many highlights of my week happened yesterday when my 2nd grade group was in the Bible Story room and the activity was to reenact the Last Supper.  After Ms. K. talked a little about the Eucharist (which means "thanksgiving") a little boy in my class, A.A., played the roll of Jesus and as he held up the loaf of bread he was able to say ALL the words of Jesus (and the priest's words during every Mass) as A.A. quoted this scripture,
While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body." Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many."  Mk 14:22-24
Everyone was quite impressed that A.A. remembered so much and it was obvious he pays attention at Mass.  We explained to the kids that we were using bread and grape juice for our reenactment, but during Mass the host, which is unleavened bread, and wine, is actually changed to Jesus' Body and Blood through the power of the Holy Spirit and with the priest.  
The children and I also really loved the Jerome-Lion Turned Lamb storybook that each group leader read to the children each day!  It was a fascinating story and the kids couldn't wait to hear the next page as we read one page a day! 
I took several pictures this week, but don't have the time to show all of them, but here are a few cute ones I got.  
Here the children are drawing fish/creatures that live in the Tiber River before they played a game where they had to cross the river and say a memory Bible verse. 

A flock of sheep in St. Jerome's cave

I will be traveling today to visit my sister in PA and to attend her bridal shower so I will miss the last fun day of Catholic Kidz Camp, but I'm sure it will be as fun as the last 4 days!  I can't wait to see the video that my husband will take of my 4 children and the rest of the campers as they sing, dance, and praise Jesus at the Growing with the Saints Vatican Express closing!
No Ordinary Blog Hop
Sunday, June 24, 2012

Growing with the Saints Catholic Kidz Camp

This week I'm very excited to be a part of our Church's Catholic Kidz Camp (also more well known as VBS) and lead 20 rising 2nd graders through Vatican Express by Growing with the Saints!

This program looks excellent as it shares so much of our beautiful Catholic faith with our children.  In 5 Faith Themed Lessons our children, as well as adults, will be reflecting on the Vatican theme.

Day One: The Holy Father - The Universal Church
Day Two: The Crossed Keys - Papal Succession
Day Three: St. Peter’s Basilica - Vatican Treasures
Day Four: The Eucharist - The Greatest Treasure
Day Five: The Monstrance - Be a Missionary


As a group leader I will also be doing daily readings from St. Jerome - Lion Turned Lamb that will entertain, enlighten and call kids to holiness.  The story is a great one and I can't wait to share this fascinating story with the children!
This is the first year our church is doing a program from Catholic publishers for Catholics where in year's past we have done programs from non-Catholic publishers that have very little Catholic teaching in the lessons.  

I just love the mission statement of the Growing with the Saints program too....

"Growing with the Saints, Inc. is committed to handing down the Catholic Faith received from Jesus and the apostles. The Holy Spirit is our unseen ever present guide as we prayerfully impart the Catholic faith with its rich tradition. We utilize Sacred Scripture, tradition, and the lives of the saints to accomplish our purpose. We are dedicated to inspire young children to fall in love with Jesus and his Church. GWTS is committed to preserving the memory of the holy saints and calling children to “holiness” by imitating the lives of the saints, our true faith heroes and heroines."

HERE are some reviews from others that have used Growing with the Saints programs and loved them!  

If you would like to see an overview of what we will be exploring this week check out this link HERE!

Everyone is very excited to aboard the Vatican Express, meet a member of the Swiss Guard and uncover the Vatican treasures this week!  I want to especially thank our Director of Religious Education, Ms. Anne, for ordering and organizing such a wonderful and faith-filled program!  

No Ordinary Blog Hop
Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Triple Berry Crisp Recipe....Yummy!

A good friend of mine told me about this delicious berry recipe and I recently made it for my son's Boy Scout dinner and it was a hit so I thought I would pass it on!  

It is called Triple Berry Crisp and you can find the recipe HERE.  I just used 4 1/2 cups fresh blueberries since I didn't have the other kinds on hand and 1 cup of butter (2 sticks) as suggested in the comments below the recipe and it turned out great!  This was so easy to make and so yummy, which is my favorite kind of recipe! If you try this out, let me know how you like it!

No Ordinary Blog Hop
Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day to my Dad and Husband!

 Happy Father's Day Dad!  I'm blessed to be able to spend this special day with you!  I love you!

Thanks Dad for being an amazing Grandpa to my Cupcakes!  

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful and amazing husband! Our children are blessed with an incredible Dad that loves them, laughs with them, leads them, and supports them!  We love you! 

 Have you ever thought of what it means to say that God is our Father?  This article, God as Father?, is very enlightening and a perfect way to end this special Father's Day post.  Enjoy! 
No Ordinary Blog Hop
Saturday, June 16, 2012

Girls Weekend and "Magic Bath"

This weekend I've been busy hanging out with my 3 daughters while my hubby and son are away at a camping trip with my son's Boy Scout Troop and they were able to go whitewater rafting today at the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, NC.  My husband told me tonight over the phone that it is an awesome place and they had a great time! My husband thought that maybe we could go back as a family one day to enjoy the adventure together!  Have any of you who are reading this post been to this Center in Charlotte?  I've heard nothing but good things about this place!

So today my 3 darling girl cupcakes and I did alot!  We shopped for new bathing suits and flip flops, bought some Father's Day gifts, went to the grocery store, bought my niece a birthday present, went to Saturday night Vigil Mass, went out to eat, then went out for dessert at a frozen yogurt bar, and then we went bike riding around a local lake and played on the park's playground. girls and I were tuckered out, but we just want to have fun while the boys are away :)

After our busy day, it was time to relax so my girls got into our master bath's jacuzzi bathtub that my kid's have called "Magic Bath".  We turn out the lights in the bathroom and they like to see the multi-colored lights shine in the tub...."Magic Baths" are a special treat for my kids and sometimes on birthdays (or girls weekend) the kids get into their bathing suits and jump in the fun tub.  Here are some pictures of their Magic Bath time to close out a very eventful and productive day! 

No Ordinary Blog Hop

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Puppy Cake+Skates=Fun Turning 8 !!!!!!!

Our daughter, Cupcake #3, turned 8 years old today!  HERE is the birthday post I wrote for her with photos and memories documented on the post.  

We celebrated her birthday this afternoon at a local roller skating rink.  She likes dogs too so I thought I would combine these two likes and make a puppy dog cake wearing skates :)   I first saw this cake when my friend J.H. made the cake for her daughter last month.  HERE is the link to the cake directions that I followed and used as my guide.

Here are pictures of the cake before icing it:
I baked a boxed chocolate 9X13 cake for the base, a pan of Rice Krispie Treats for the nose, ears, legs, and tail, and then I used a round glass dish for the head and a rectangular glass dish for the body.  I baked the body using the homemade yellow cake ingredients that I've used several times in the past.

And here is the puppy dog cake with skates when I finished icing it and decorating it :)
The eyes and nose were Junior Mints candies with white icing and the tongue was cherry flavored Laffy Taffy.  The green icing was the homemade cream cheese icing that I make that my children love and the dog's "fur" is a combination of the homemade icing with store bought icing (because I was running out of the homemade kind while decorating)

  The pink skates were made from Wilton pink fondant that was in a box with Junior Mints wheels.

Everyone had a great time skating including my husband, myself and some other moms.

Our 4.5 year old loves to zoom around the rink with her in-line skates.  She has a cast on her left arm from a fall a few weeks ago where she got a buckle fracture on her wrist.  But, she skated wonderfully and both arms were fine :)

The girls taking a break during "Boys Only" skating

Puppy Cake+Skates=Fun Turning 8 !!!!!!!

No Ordinary Blog Hop

Happy 8th Birthday, Cupcake #3!

Dear Cupcake #3,
On this Feast of Corpus Christi, we are also celebrating your 8th birthday!  It's hard to believe that 8 years ago today you were born!  You were loved from the start with your head full of beautiful dark hair!  We were in awe of you, God's blessing, and we couldn't believe the amount of hair God blessed you with!  You looked like you had a wig on!  Your big sister is wearing a pink t-shirt that says "I'm the BIG Sister" and your big brother is wearing a blue t-shirt that says "I'm the BIG Brother" in the photo.  I made these shirts for your siblings and wrapped them up for your brother's 2nd birthday.  At his party, they each opened the t-shirts and this is how we told family and friends I was pregnant with you!  It was very exciting to share our joyful news in this way!

Your big sister and brother loved peeking into your bassinet to watch you sleep peacefully!  They loved giving you lots of hugs and kisses!

This picture was taken just before your first mass visit.  You looked so beautiful with your pink and white lace outfit. It was a lovely day to bring you to our church for the first time!

Here you are at 41/2 months old, our Little Pumpkin.  You even had a pumpkin stem!  :)

Here you are at 9 months old with your brother and sister  and you still have a head full of beautiful dark hair!  I had to put bows in your hair at 9 weeks old and since you never lost your hair, as many people thought you would, we continued to keep the hair out of your eyes with pretty bows!

You have always been a big helper as you helped paint our new house!

You love being silly with your siblings!

You are such a great big sister! 
At your cousin's college graduation recently, you grabbed his cap and had the biggest smile that melts our hearts!  Happy Birthday sweet girl! You bring so much joy and love to our lives!  We are so blessed to have you in our lives!

No Ordinary Blog Hop


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