Mon, November 17th, 2014

Little Angels Music Kit – Designed for the Homeschool Co-op or Catholic Playgroup

Our Little Angels Kit gives you the tools to run a program for up to ten families.  Ideal for Preschools, Playgroups, Religious Ed, and Children's Choir applications, you can add on in easy increments of 5 or 10.  Each family will have a CD to take home for the season, and the teacher/leader is equipped with an extensive instruction manual with lots of options and flexibility.  There is information to help the beginner as well as more detail for an experienced music teacher.  Little Angels teachers are free to take the Online or In-person Teacher Training Workshop to better enhance their ability to provide the program, but this is not required.Little Angels 10-Pack (1 of 1)  

You can pick and choose the equipment convenient and affordable to you using guidance from the manual, or even put together guided classes with simple singing and dancing.  Little Angels is a tool for you, affording you the flexibility with the benefits of our well-designed curriculum to help you take your homeschool co-op or playgroup experience to the next level.

What you get:

•    10 copies of the seasonal CD at a significant bulk discount
•    Comprehensive leader/teacher's guide in PDF format
•    Available in smaller 5-packs to better customize to the size of your group
•    Additional discounts and bonus products with a full-year's package!
•    Curriculum can be reused yearly, simply order more CDs for your new families

 “By incorporating songs of play, songs of the world, and songs of faith, into one comprehensive CD, we teach children that faith is a natural part of everyday life. So often, our children have separate materials for education, entertainment, and faith. This sends a message that these parts of our life must live in different places.  Music easily allows all of these important areas to live together in our lives and our hearts.”

 -Kate Daneluk, Co-founder of Making Music Praying Twice

Tue, November 11th, 2014

Setting the Thanksgiving Table

As we busily prepare our Thanksgiving feast, children are well entertained and put to work by helping to set the table. By offering small pumpkins, gourds, fruits and nuts, a bountiful centerpiece can be created. Younger children can contribute crafts from hand turkeys to pilgrim hats made from toilet paper and paper towel rolls, construction paper and paste.  All of this puts us in the Thanksgiving mood. But consider some décor that could help us truly remember the Thanksgiving spirit. By including thankful scripture quotes, we help our guests to remember whom we are thanking. 

  • Children can print quotes in fancy fonts and embellish with markers, fall leaves, and construction paper to make placemats. (Use contact paper if you plan to save them)

  • With the help of the ever-useful paper-towel rolls, create individual napkin rings. Each guest can read their scripture quote at the table!

  • If you have a large roll of butcher paper, a runner can be created filled with handwritten Scripture quotes and personal prayers of thanks by all the guests.

  • A talented teen or tween may practice some calligraphy skills for more mature decorations.

  • Print smaller Bible quotes and tape to the stem of wine glasses. Learn your quote and avoid losing your glass!

  • Some families create a “gratitude tree." Give guests ornaments with Scripture on one side and room on the other for their thankful prayers.

Here are a dozen short verses to get you started*:

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his mercy endures forever. – Ps 118:1

I may praise God’s name in song and glorify it with thanksgiving. – Ps 69:31.

Hallelujah! Give thanks to the LORD, who is good, whose love endures forever. – Ps 106:1

Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; with the lyre make music to our God. –Ps 147:7

Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God. – 2 Cor 4:15

You are being enriched in every way for all generosity, which through us produces thanksgiving to God, for the administration of this public service is not only supplying the needs of the holy ones but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God. – 2Cor 9:11,12

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected when received with thanksgiving. -1Tim 4:4

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his kindness endures forever. – 1Chron 16:34

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name – Ps 100:4

Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name; among the nations make known his deeds, proclaim how exalted is his name. – Is 12:4

And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. – Col 3:17

In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thes 5:18

*All verses are NAB.

Please share your ideas for ways to incorporate Scripture into your holiday décor and post pictures of your children’s masterpieces on our Facebook page!

Thu, November 6th, 2014

Does Size Matter?

I have six children aged 15 to 8 months.  I have gotten to the number where those with fewer start to wonder and awe a bit at how I manage it all.  (The trick is that I don’t!)
 
Sometimes, when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I envy people with 2 or 3 children.  Sometimes I imagine what it would be like to have all my kids able to get their own breakfast, use the toilet, or read a book.  I imagine driving someone to dance class and cheering on the baseball team without a nursing baby and a wandering 3-year-old to juggle through the process.
 
Well, the summer of 2014 offered an opportunity, thanks to some family friends, to take bring the children to a beach house for a few days.  It didn’t make sense for me to take up a bed in an over-crowded vacation home filled with extended family when I’d be indoors, nursing the baby most of the time.  So, I was alone with a baby for two and a half days while my husband/superhero took the crew to the shore.  That would have terrified me 13 years ago, but I’m a pro, right?
 
 
It was peaceful.  The baby got everything he needed when he wanted it.  I took care of him and took care of myself.  But, we both got lonely after a day.  Yes, he missed them.  I had to be everything to this baby.  Then I remembered, having one baby is challenging.  It can be overwhelming.
 
Don’t get me wrong.  Having six is overwhelming sometimes, but in a whole new way.  Here is what I re-learned during that time:
 
ONE – You only have time to unload the top rack of the dishwasher before the baby screams to get picked up.  It will take a day and half to complete the dishwasher emptying process.
 
SIX – Kids can help with chores, like emptying the dishwasher, but you need to turn over the dishwasher 2-3 times per day and the kitchen is almost always a mess.
 
ONE – It can be boring with nothing to do but nurse, clean things and watch this baby grow.  If you do have more to do, you don’t have much opportunity to do it.
 
SIX – You are constantly balancing the needs of teens, school-aged kids, preschoolers and babies.  You wish you had more time to nurse, clean things and watch this baby grow.  You also wish you had more time and resources for each one of them.
 
ONE – You are always tired.
 
SIX – You are always tired.
 
ONE – You have no one to talk to outside of Facebook until you get some time with your husband.  You proceed to talk to him nonstop while he takes the baby for a little while and you finally eat or shower.
 
SIX – You are constantly listening to stories, opinions, dramatizations, complaints, arguments, questions, and conversations which you relay to your husband when you get some precious time together.  He doesn’t take the baby from you because he is giving the currently displaced toddler some special attention.
 
ONE – You can’t get a shower.  This is where Pollyannas like me start thanking God that at least you live a country that HAS showers!
 
SIX – You can usually get a shower if you really want to, but you won’t be alone.  This is where I start reminding myself that every time someone barges into the bathroom; I can be assured that they are still alive despite my 7 minute disappearance.
 
You get the idea.  Going through it again for a few days brought me back.  It also helped me remember that having two children could be challenging, having three and four and five all had their overwhelming moments.  None of them were the same.  I know a mom with 14 children who had the challenge of not feeling like she could participate enough in her daughter’s wedding plans because the toddler had some serious health issues.
 
There is an up side and a down side to every family and every situation.  In the end, it is easier to focus on the up side.  Trust that God gave you the family which is right for all of you.  (He’s pretty smart that way.)  Family size is not a contest.  And remember, at least you HAVE a shower, even if you can’t use it!
 
What is your biggest blessing and challenge with the size of your family?
Wed, October 29th, 2014

8 Questions to Evalute Your Family’s Musical Environment!

Does your home promote your young child's musical brain development during the most crucial years of growth? Evaluate your family's Current Music Environment to see how to best utilize the Making Music Praying Twice curriculum.

CHOOSE ALL THAT APPLY, INCLUDING AT LEAST ONE BEST ANSWER FOR EACH QUESTION

1.      The children and adults listen to music together
a.       at concerts
b.      throughout the day at home
c.       in the car
d.      if the TV show we’re watching has music. Do commercials count?
2.      My children see Mom
a.       playing instruments and/or singing regularly for myself
b.      singing nursery rhymes and kids’ songs to them
c.       singing along to the radio and TV and at Mass
d.      telling others that she is “tone-deaf."
3.      My children see Dad
a.       playing instruments and/or singing regularly for myself
b.      singing nursery rhymes and kids songs to them
c.       singing along to the radio and TV and at Mass
d.      telling others that he is “tone-deaf”
4.      My children see me dance
a.       at performances and rehearsals
b.      at several community and family gatherings
c.       around the house frequently
d.      maybe once at my cousin’s wedding
5.      Our current music collection
a.       includes a variety of music from different styles and cultures.
b.      includes special CDs we’ve gotten for the kids.
c.       includes my favorite music from when I was in high school.
d.      is buried in the garage.
6.      Our home has
a.       two or more musical instruments for adult use.
b.      one serious instrument used in the home.
c.       kiddy instruments for the kids to use.
d.      I think that Elmo toy came with a maraca.
7.      Written music
a.       is represented in my child’s décor, toys and books.
b.      is used frequently in our home.
c.       is around for the older kids’ music lessons.
d.      is available at our local library.
8.      Are we composers?
a.       Yes, at least one adult in our home writes vocal or instrumental music.
b.      We make up silly little songs all the time.
c.       We change around the words to songs to make them funny or meaningful. (“Kelly has a big sheepdog” instead of “Mary had a little lamb”)
d.      No.

Interpreting the Results

0 – 7 This is good time to really work on your home environment. Make sure to try to add fun music time to your day. Remember, you need to have fun and love music if you want it for your children. Don’t let your own fears and insecurities stop you. It is better for your child to see you try imperfectly, than to wait any longer to have music as a part of his life. The Homeschool Edition provides further guidance and can help you to make improvements in your musical home-life right away.

8 – 20 You have the skills to create a musical environment for your child, but you can do more. Use this as an opportunity to be more conscious of the musical choices you make at home and try to fill your child’s daily schedule with more opportunities for music. Be especially aware of suggestions in the Homeschool Edition Manual that help you to add music to mealtime, bath time, bedtime, etc. Also, you may need enhance your music equipment and CD collection. CD recommendations are provided in the manual.

21 – 35 You are doing great. Now you need to integrate the specific skills and content we present in this program to help your children. The Homeschool Edition Manual with guide you in creating Unstructured Education Plans for your child which specifically deal with the issue of environment. In your plan, take your current musical environment and try to add one or two elements to it so you could retest and gain at least 2 points.

36 – 48 You have a naturally strong musical home. Your child is likely already progressing well in music development simply by being in this environment. Try to integrate the Making Music Praying Twice curriculum into your family’s musical life, and add a structured music time to your week. You have the ability to use the curriculum in a rich and meaningful way for your child.

SCORING

3 points for every a.
2 points for every b.
1 point for every c.
0 points for every d

What do I do now? Browse our site for more information, testimonials, and videos. Or, click here to see 4 simple steps to begin your own at-home musical program!

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Fri, October 24th, 2014

Angel of God

Angel of God, my Guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my side…
 
 
To light – Like a lighthouse, we need our angels as a beacon to show us the way home.  The enemy sends fog to confuse us and leave us stranded.  Our Guardian Angel is God’s lighthouse.  Follow the light.
 
To guard – Since God’s plan is perfect in every way, your angel is the perfect warrior to protect you.  Let your angel protect you body and soul and remember that the primary goal is to get you home to Heaven!
 
To rule – Angels have free will but they do not enact this will through a linear series of choices but in a single, timeless choice.  Angels have chosen to be in union with God’s will and so they can always tell you God’s will.  If you are to be obedient to God, you must always obey your guardian angel.
 
To guide – A guide is more than a simple map, but a personal helper who helps prevent and overcome the obstacles that one encounters on a journey.  We are never alone.  Our God with us.  We can constantly turn to the “cloud of witnesses” in the Communion of Saints and pray for help from the saints.  As if this wasn’t enough, we have a personal guide who is super powerful and smart and lovely!
 
The thing that generally blows my mind is that these agents of God that have been intimately bound to us by God are significantly more smart and powerful and knowledgeable than we.  Angels are a big deal!  They don’t sin.  They are always in God’s presence.  They do not have our limitations of time and space.
 
In my puny human mind, it would seem that we puny, weak humans would be like a pet to our angels.  “Here’s a human for you.  Now take good care of her and don’t forget to feed her!”  But scripture tells us that the Incarnation has changed the hierarchy and once again, the last are first.
 
By becoming human, Christ has made us greater than the angels, because we are now His brothers.  He made Mary our mother and their Queen.  Let that sink in.  Your mama is the Queen of the Angels.  You heard me.
 
The angels are more powerful than we are, and so they are our servants.  These are servants we should follow and obey.  Well, in Christ, all leaders are servants.  Christ washed the Apostles’ feet and told them they must also serve in order to follow Him!  So, of course, we should follow and obey our angels who want nothing more than what is best for us, because it is God’s will and because they love us.
 
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Wed, September 24th, 2014

Making Music Praying Twice Blog 2.0

Hello and welcome to the Making Music Praying Twice Blog 2.0, or as we refer to it, “On a Note & a Prayer.” We’ve had a blog at MMP2 for quite a while but, we are looking forward to more regular posting and, hopefully, more readers and followers! We have a lot of exciting things going on that we are anxious to share, but we’re not quite ready… yet. In the meantime, perhaps an overview of what MMP2 is all about is a good place to start. For those of you already familiar with our program, feel free to comment below on your experience with our music and products. Have you taught a class? Tell us about that too!

Let’s start with our mission…

Music is a pathway to God.

Making Music Praying Twice provides that pathway by bringing children and parents together on the wings of music. Our program of music and movement designed to foster faith in Catholicism and to enrich education and family life pursues a profound goal:

While the gift of music education is invaluable,
the gift of music combined with prayer is immeasurable.

In a secular world often devoid of faith and of family togetherness, Making Music Praying Twice provides a genuine faith-based experience that is rare, enriching, educational, transcendental, and beautiful.

So, how do we create a musical pathway?

At Making Music Praying Twice, we strive to provide curriculum, tools, and opportunities to Catholic families and parishes so that children can grow in rich, faithful, musical environments filled with the power of prayer.  By combining prayer, music, and family with the rich musical traditions of our Catholic heritage and all the sound educational principles of the latest advances in early childhood music and movement, children grow in music aptitude and overall development while drawing closer to God.  But, because of God’s generosity and goodness, whole families are brought closer together, closer to Church, and closer to God.  This is why we are compelled to provide the only faith-inclusive early childhood music curriculum for the Catholic child. 

When we say this, we aren’t referring to music as tool for worship or catechesis.  We mean that by learning and growing in music, this unique and beautiful gift from our Creator, we become more beautiful and more of whom He created us to be.  When we learn the prayers and songs of our Catholic heritage, we become united with the Communion of Saints, all our brothers and sisters from the past who praised God with these same verses and melodies.  When we become more musical in our daily lives, including songs of prayer and faith, our lives become entwined with this prayer.  Through this prayer, God changes us.  He answers our prayers and draws us to Him.  Music touches the soul and remains in the memory in a special and powerful way.

This is why we connect so deeply to St. Augustine’s memorable quote:  “He who sings, prays twice.” Music doesn’t just combine with prayer to make something special.  Music multiplies prayer and makes it into something even more powerful and beautiful.

Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss any news. Up next, what are the benefits of Making Music Praying Twice on a child’s mind, body, and soul?

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Mon, February 20th, 2012

Ultimate Lenten Challenge

When my oldest was a wee thing, I got involved in our parish youth ministry.  This was at least partly motivated by the selfish interest of finding local babysitters.  Training us was the Director of Lay Ministry, Dave O’Brien.  This is one of the reasons that my short stint on the Youth Ministry Team was so significant in my faith life.  Dave was one of those people who decided long ago that God mattered most and he jumped into this point of view with both feet.  He strives to live his faith radically, choosing extreme simplicity for himself so he can share more with others.  His sparse closet could inspire a new reality show on TLC:  Extreme Simplicity

Continue reading…

Tue, July 26th, 2011

The Unexpected Blessings of Trials

In these hard financial times, one of the greatest sacrifices we made turned out to be the greatest blessing.  I was very upset to find myself pregnant and unable to see my usual, pro-life obstetrician because of our insurance changes.  The new, low-budget insurance continually pointed me to a pro-choice clinic that put me in line to talk to a nurse so I could talk to a doctor weeks later.  Already almost 3 months pregnant, my regular doctor began running tests and found that I had some serious complications and needed to get prenatal care ASAP.  The clinic’s biggest concern was that I was missing my window for “genetic counseling”, which translates to being able to get an abortion.  The distress of feeling like I could not take care of my unborn child, could not get the medical care I needed, could not find a pro-life option, was overwhelming. 

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Fri, May 20th, 2011

Thirty-nine

When I was little, my mother always told me how old she was.  She never said, “It’s not polite to ask.”  or “29 forever” or any other evasive answer.  As I got older and heard other women refuse to reveal their age, I asked my mom why she was so practical about this hot-button topic.

“Why should I care about that?” she’d reply, “What’s wrong with growing older?”  I thank God for this example.  My mother tries to look nice.  She dyes her hair and cares for her skin.  But trying to look a little younger and healthy is not the same as refusing to acknowledge your advancing years to others.  There is an honesty and self-acceptance that makes this a beautiful thing.  The world may be obsessed with youth, but we don’t have to follow.  We must take joy in the journey, all of it.  Not fight it. 

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Wed, May 11th, 2011

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Phil 4:13

My life is not simple right now.  Pregnant at almost 39 means complications that I’ve never experienced before.  Our homeschoolers are going to have to work through the summer to complete this year’s work.  Making Music Praying Twice is growing, which is wonderful, but means regular travel and speaking in addition to my usual jobs of teaching, writing and keeping on top of the websites.  Of course, life continues to include dance classes, Little League, Tae Kwon Do, choir practice, forensics, physical therapy, etc., etc..

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