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Into the Desert for Forty Days • Family Time!

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Reading Time: 16 minutes

February 18-24: First Week of Lent

Feast of the Chair of St. Peter + St. Lucy Yi Zhenmei + Francis X. Ford  + St. Robert Southwell + St. Margaret of Coronado + St. Polycarp + Blessed Josefa Naval Girbes


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We have 25 copies of The Stations of the Cross for Children on hand and ready to ship Thursday, Feb. 15 (with more on the way next week)! You can preview the entire book in the Gracewatch store, where you can get 30% off your order of five or more copies (coupon code: #STATIONS).

You can also pick up the Stations of the Cross for Children as a set of durable posters—perfect for your very own Way of the Cross.



…to our launch party for the new Molly McBride book on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. CT on our Facebook page, where Molly creator Jeanie Schoonover-Egolf will answer questions and give away copies of the new book.

Molly McBride and the Party Invitation is only available at Amazon.com right now; look for her in the Gracewatch store next week.



1. Listen to why young people are leaving the Church in record numbers. In the first of a two-part series, Jerry Windley-Daoust breaks down a new study that asks young former Catholics why they left the Church. Stay tuned next week for part two, in which we’ll look at some practices, habits, and attitudes Catholic parents can adopt in response to the trends identified in the study.

2. Listen to U2’s “40” as a family and consider the number’s biblical importance. In the readings for this Sunday, Feb. 18, God gives us a preview of baptism via Noah, and invites us into the desert with Jesus — both for 40 days. There were many “40’s” in the Bible; all of them were times of preparation for something big. Read, reflect and respond using this week’s Breaking Open the Word at Home. (Here’s a link to the U2 song, by the way.)

3. Explain the feast of the Chair of St. Peter to your kids. The Church celebrates the feast of the Chair of St. Peter on Thursday (Feb. 22). So, if you quizzed your family about the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, what would they come up with? Regina Lordan did, with humorous results. Fortunately, she has three great ways to explain the feast to your kids, plus links to great resources.

4. Make Baked Rock of the Church Rockfish. Keep talking about the feast of the Chair of St, Peter as you make baked Rock of the Church Rockfish with your kids. Ryan Langr breaks down this easy recipe with pictures and a printable recipe card, plus a reflection and a prayer to say with your meal, in the latest Cooking with Catholic Kids.

5. Tell the story of St. Margaret of Cortona and bandage up your kids’ stuffed animals’ boo boos. St. Margaret of Cortona is a saint with a sad past and a somewhat Cinderella story. Not holy by nature, she changed her ways, joined the Third Order of St. Francis and devoted her life to helping the poor and sick. Check out her story and an activity to mark her feast day Feb. 22 is in this edition of Playing with the SAINTS!

6. Pray for the president. President’s Day is next Monday, Feb. 19. Use it as an occasion to pray for our nation’s elected officials, including President Donald Trump.

  • Here’s a prayer and neat story from The Catholic Company about America’s first bishop, Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore.
  • The “Prayer for Civic Leaders” is simple enough to read with your family.
  • The Catholic Family Book of Prayers includes “Pope Francis’ Five-Finger Prayer.” It is a perfect finger-play prayer to say with young children and includes this line to accompany the third finger: “The following finger is the tallest. It reminds us of our government leaders and other who have authority. They need God’s guidance.”

7. Try these fasts for Lent that benefit God’s creation. Give up warm showers, plastics and driving. Here are more extreme fasting ideas that care for God’s creation, from Ryan Langr.



The hottest topic in our PB & Grace Parents Facebook group is about how to get a toddler and preschooler to eat fish “without tears and shouting.” There’s lots more going on, so drop by and join the conversation. You’ll need to request to be added, because it’s a closed group to keep the threads private.



Our new calendar web app features saints’ feast days and important Church events, with links to more resources, images, a variety of viewing options, and the option to sync with your own calendar.


Sunday, Feb. 18

St. Geltrude Comensoli

Collection for Black and Indian Missions


Monday, Feb. 19

St. Lucy Yi Zhenmei


Tuesday, Feb. 20

Bishop Francis X. Ford, Servant of God


Wednesday, Feb. 21

St. Robert Southwell


Thursday, Feb. 22

Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

St. Margaret of Cartona


Friday, Feb. 23

St. Polycarp

Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace


Saturday, Feb. 24

Blessed Josefa Naval Girbes



  • Daylight Savings Time (March 11)
  • St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
  • feast of St. Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (March 19)
  • first day of spring (Mar 20)
  • Holy Thursday (March 29)
  • Good Friday (March 30)
  • Easter Sunday (April 1)


Psst…did you see that St. Patrick’s Day is coming up? Get Paddy and the Wolves on Amazon, or go to the Gracewatch store for 15% off the books, the coloring book, and the board game. Use code GRACE15.



… are watching the Olympic games. Cheer for Team USA and root for the star Catholic athletes, past and present.



Calling the federal budget a “moral document,” Church leaders called on the government to ensure that the federal budget “builds toward the common good.”

“President Trump unveiled a budget plan … that again calls for deep cuts to vital parts of government, including underfunding programs that serve the poor, diplomacy and environmental stewardship. At the same time, the plan calls for increases in immigration enforcement spending and further increases in military spending, including on nuclear weapons. Prohibiting certain abortion providers from receiving federal funds and providing increased resources to combat opioid addiction is commendable,” the statement said, in part. The full statement can be accessed on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website here.

Meanwhile, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva “has welcomed the ‘Zero Draft’ for the Global Compact for Migration, underlining the need for political will and calling for the inclusion of a reference to the spiritual dimension as one of the basic human rights of migrants,” according to Vatican News.



Pause for a little while, refrain from the urge to want to control everything, know everything, destroy everything; this comes from overlooking gratitude for the gift of life and all the good we receive.

— Pope Francis, homily for Ash Wednesday


Family Time! is edited by Regina Lordan and Jerry Windley-Daoust.



Join us on Facebook @peanutbutterandgrace and on Pinterest. Make sure you don’t miss a Peanut Butter & Grace post on Facebook. Go to our Facebook page, then click on Following, and select See First. 



Remember to grab 15% off your order at Gracewatch Media with coupon code GRACE15.

Here’s a list of most of our books, ordered by publication date (most recent first).

The Stations of the Cross for Children
The Stations of the Cross for Children was designed especially for younger children, with colorful illustrations and simple text that introduces them to the Passion of Jesus Christ on their level. Each station takes about two minutes to complete, including about thirty seconds of silent prayer. Optional prayers and Scripture references for each station offer a variety of ways to adapt and expand The Stations of the Cross for Children for older kids. And the opening and closing prayers place the Passion in the larger context of Jesus’ mission…and every Christian’s call to continue that mission in the world today.

Molly McBride and the Party Invitation
Molly McBride is turning six, and her momma is planning a BIG party. Everyone in Molly’s class is supposed to get an invitation. But should a certain class bully be invited, too? Or would it be better if his were “lost”? Join Molly and friends as they learn that doing acts of charity, while always a good thing, isn’t always a party. It’s Molly McBride and the Party Invitation: A Story About the Virtue of Charity.

The Catholic Family Book of Prayers
Do you want to introduce your kids to the richness of the Christian prayer tradition? The best way to do that is to pray with them, and now there’s a beautiful collection of Catholic prayers and meditations designed just for that purpose: The Catholic Family Book of Prayers: A Treasury of Prayers and Meditations for Families to Pray Together. It’s packed with prayers, blessings, meditations, saintly wisdom, and artwork—all selected specifically for Catholic families to pray together. Available in digital, softcover, hardcover, and handcrafted editions.

Lectio Divina for Teens: Reading God’s Messages to You
Lectio Divina for Teens: Reading God’s Messages to You introduces young people to the ancient prayer practice of lectio divina in a guided journal format. It features a brief, accessible introduction to lectio divina, walking readers through the method step by step, then turns them loose to try the method themselves in eight pre-selected readings. Seven additional blank journal entries provide space for readers to choose their own readings; a list of suggested texts is included. The colorful, beautifully designed interior provides a warm and welcome space for reflection and prayer. Lectio Divina for Teens has received an imprimatur from the Diocese of Winona.

The All Saints’ Day Party
Maggie and Max can’t wait for the All Saints’ Day party. There’s just one problem: they can’t decide which saint to dress up as…and the party is just a week away! Join Maggie and Max as their friends and family tell them about six holy men and women who offer living examples of what it means to be a saint…even if you’re a kid!

Turning Grief Inside Out: Surviving Pregnancy Loss with God’s Help
Drawing on her own personal experience of pregnancy loss, Christine Hendersen offers practical and spiritual advice—as well as a hopeful path forward—for grieving mothers and the people who love them.

Be Yourself! A Journal for Catholic Girls: “Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire!” Those words are at the heart of Be Yourself! A Journal for Catholic Girls, which is designed to help girls explore their identity and purpose in life in light of the wisdom of the Catholic Church, including half a dozen female saints. Ages 9 and up.

I Can Be Happy, Too: A Book about Attitudes uses simple rhyme accompanied by Scripture verses and sweet, expressive illustrations, to teach children that while we can’t control the bad things that happen to us, we can control how we respond to disappointment and adversity.

Blessed Is the Fruit of Thy Womb: Rosary Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss invites grieving mothers to let the Blessed Mother accompany them on their journey of grief and healing. Mary not only understands their loss, but wishes to bring mothers to healing through the saving work of her son. For each mystery of the rosary, author Heidi Indahl compassionately shares her own experiences of miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss, offering insights about how those losses are connected to the experience of Jesus and Mary as revealed by the mysteries of the rosary.

In the Realm of Mist and Mercy, our new YA fantasy/adventure novel with a Catholic heart and sensibility; it comes with an accompanying Lesson Plan book that helps parents and kids connect the story to teachings of the Catholic faith.

The Illuminated Rosary hardcover complete set. “I can lead the rosary now!” That’s what we hear kids saying when they have one of the Illuminated Rosary books in their laps. The words of the prayers are printed on every page, opposite a sacred artwork depicting the mystery of the rosary being said. Kids love these books, but so do adults and grandparents! Available in hardcover (allow extra time for shipping) or softcover sets.

The Stations of the Cross for Children. Here’s a downloadable PDF with sacred art depicting each of the Stations of the Cross, along with a simple reflection and prayer, geared for young children.

77 Ways to Pray with Your Kids, now in hardcover from Dynamic Catholic; to celebrate, we’re offering hardcover copies for $12, about 50% off the cover price, while supplies last. Whether you are just getting started with family prayer or wish to broaden your horizons, 77 Ways to Pray with Your Kids can help, offering practical, kid-friendly guides to Christian prayer practices both ancient and new. Features include: age-appropriate adaptations for young children, older kids, and teens; articles on a wide range of practices; Talking Points…explanations of prayer practices that kids might have questions about; cross-references to the Catechism, Scripture, and church documents; an appendix containing thirty-three common and useful Catholic prayers; a quick-find index makes it easy to find prayer ideas, and doubles as a checklist to track your progress.

Molly McBride and the Plaid Jumper. Kids love the spunky young Molly McBride and her feisty sidekick, the wolf-pet Francis. In this book, Molly faces off against the dreaded plaid jumper that she’s going to have to wear when she starts school in the fall. Along with her new friends, Dominic and Fr. Matt, she learns all about uniforms and our true identity in God.

Paddy and the Wolves. Young Paddy can’t sit still during morning prayers, but he’s more than happy to help the shepherd, Barra, watch sheep for the day! But who will watch Paddy when he wanders into the woods? As he explores the wilderness of coastal Britain, Paddy encounters many delights and dangers—and ultimately, the One who watches over him through it all. Available as a hardcover or softcover storybook, or a coloring book with complete text; also available is a downloadable board game. Features the art of Catholic folk artist Jen Norton.

The Children’s Little Advent BookThe Children’s Little Advent Book is designed to help parents with children ages 4-7 on a journey through Advent to Christmas. Each day’s entry includes a brief Scripture reading, a reflection, discussion questions, a brief prayer, and a simple coloring page for children to complete after praying with their families. With The Children’s Little Advent Book, parents have an Advent resource specifically designed for short family prayer services with young children.

Corporal Works of Mercy Cards. Teach a lesson about the Works of Mercy with these downloadable cards and teaching guide.

Little Lessons from St. Francis of Assisi. “Make me an instrument of your peace.”  The Peace Prayer of St. Francis, beloved by people of all faiths around the world, beautifully captures the spirit of “the poor little man” from Assisi, as well as the aspirations of our time: for hope, for reconciliation, for peace.

Flowers for Jesus: A Story of Thérèse of Lisieux as a Young Girl. Little Thérèse Martin could be a very stubborn young girl. All too often, if someone wanted her to say “yes,” she wanted to say “no”! But then, as she is preparing for her First Communion, Thérèse discovers a way to turn her everyday trials and tribulations into something beautiful for Jesus. Join Thérèse (and her family) as she learns to “gather roses from amid thorns.” Available in hardcover and softcover editions.

La Florecita de Jesús: Una Parábola de Santa Teresita Del Niño Jesús. This is the Spanish-language edition of The Little Flower. La autora Becky Arganbright ha adoptado las enseñanzas de las orecitas de santa Teresita en esta encantadora parábola para niños. La joven Teresita aprende que aunque es pequeña, con la ayuda de Dios, su pequeñez puede ser una manera de hacer grandes cosas para Dios.  La ilustradora Tracey Arvidson da vida a la joven Teresa Martín, y a sus ores en la parábola, con sus maravillosas ilustraciones.

Molly McBride and the Purple Habit. Meet Molly McBride! Molly loves her new purple habit — it’s just like the ones her friends, the Children of Mary Sisters, wear. She loves it so much, in fact, that she doesn’t want to take it off…not even for her sister’s big day! Join Molly and her wolf-pet Francis as they learn all about nuns, habits, and giving your heart to Jesus.

Living Sparks of God: Stories of Saints for Young Catholics to Color. Here are fourteen lively two-minute stories to introduce young Catholics to some of the Church’s most beloved saints. Each story is accompanied by two coloring pages: a gorgeously detailed portrait of the saint, and a scene of the saint in action.

The Gift of Birth: Discerning God’s Presence During Childbirth. Is the process of giving birth a medical problem to be solved, a hurdle to be overcome on the way to motherhood . . . or is it something more? Could it be, as Susan Windley-Daoust proposes, that giving birth is a gift from God, laden with signs that speak to women about their identity, their calling, and their destiny? If so, then learning to read those embodied signs during pregnancy and labor could transform the way women experience childbirth. These signs reveal that God is not only powerfully present in the whole birthing process, but desires to actively work with women to bring forth new life.

Little Lessons from St. Thérèse of Lisieux: An Introduction to Her Words and WisdomLittle Lessons from St. Thérèse of Lisieux presents brief excerpts from Story of a Soul as a way of introducing those unfamiliar with Thérèse to some of the essential themes of her spirituality. The words of St. Thérèse  are accompanied by the artwork of award-winning watercolorist Jeanine Crowe, a wonderful aid to prayerful meditation on the words and wisdom of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Little Lessons from St. Thérèse of Lisieux includes twenty-one selections from the words of St. Thérèse, twenty artworks, and ten questions for reflection and discussion.

The Little Flower: A Parable of St. Thérèse of Liseux. Becky Arganbright has adapted St. Thérèse’s lesson of the little flowers into a delightful parable for children. The young Thérèse learns that even though she might be little, with God’s help, her littleness can be a way of doing great things for the Kingdom of God. Illustrator Tracey Arvidson brings the young Thérèse Martin (and the flowers of her parable) to life in gorgeous illustrations.

Sense of the Sacred: Illuminated Book of Catholic PrayersSense of the Sacred: Illuminated Book of Catholic Prayers contains thirty traditional Catholic prayers every child should have at hand, each accompanied by a beautiful, hand-drawn illustration to aid in prayerful meditation on the mysteries of the faith.

Sense of the Sacred: A Coloring Book for Young Illuminators. For centuries, the Catholic Church has used art to illuminate the sacred mysteries of the Faith. Now, your child can follow in that tradition by making sacred art with the help of Sense of the Sacred: Coloring Book for Young Illuminators. This book contains 30 hand-drawn illustrations and accompanying Bible verses, drawing on the rich legacy of statues and stained glass in our Catholic Faith.

Follow Jerry Windley-Daoust:

Publisher, Gracewatch Media

Jerry Windley-Daoust is a writer, editor, and father of five. He writes essays and stories at Windhovering and is the show-runner for Gracewatch Media, a small Catholic publisher. You can follow his latest publishing projects at gracewatch.org.

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