November is PTA Healthy Lifestyles Month

November is the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Healthy Lifestyles Month! This year’s theme is “Get Off Your Apps.” These days, it’s hard to get your child off their digital devices and outside playing. Orlando private schools have ways you can encourage your child to put the device down and connect with their loved ones. Bonding time includes physical education programs, not just at school but at home too, as well as constructive play and family exercise. Here’s how you can observe this month’s theme.


Host an Event
You can host your own “Get Off Your Apps” event! Find ways that will encourage your child to play. Sign your family up for yoga, coordinate arts and crafts time, or set up a scavenger hunt. Make it a fun family time!

Host a Cooking Demonstration
Teach children how to eat healthy by demonstrating a recipe. Allow the “students” to suggest recipes and modify their favorite junk foods by making them cleaner. Your child can assist you, giving them a sense of responsibility. Her peers can help set up the event and taste the food.

Include Local Businesses
Local businesses love getting involved in community events — especially when they involve children! Contact mom-and-pop businesses in your area and request in-kind donations or financial contributions. Let them know that the money goes towards the PTA for the schools, teachers, and children.

PTA forms strong bonds with schools, students, and communities. St. Charles Borromeo, one of the Orlando private schools, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

St. Charles Day

As you know, Charles Borromeo was a Roman Catholic archbishop and cardinal from Milan in the 1500s. He was a member of a noble family and was Pope Pius IV’s nephew. He died on November 4th, a day that is now recognized as St. Charles Day. St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando private school, honors its namesake by celebrating with a feast. Here’s how your family can participate in activities that memorialize him.

Eat an Italian Meal
In his memory, cook an Italian meal or visit a local Italian restaurant. POPSUGAR has Italian dinner options that will empower your child in the kitchen. Allow your little chef to assist you with recipes, such as sun-dried tomato pesto pasta, shrimp caprese, and spinach manicotti marinara.

Attend Mass
Attending mass allows you and your child to unite, to receive God, and ask for forgiveness. You and your child can recite the St. Charles prayer:

“Almighty God, you have generously made known to human beings the mysteries of your life through Jesus Christ your Son in the Holy Spirit. Enlighten my mind to know these mysteries which your Church treasures and teaches. Move my heart to love them and my will to live in accord with them. Give me the ability to teach this Faith to others without pride, without ostentation, and without personal gain. Let me realize that I am simply your instrument for bringing others to the knowledge of the wonderful things you have done for all your creatures. Help me to be faithful to this task that you have entrusted to me. Amen.”

Tell His Story
Your child should know the parish saint in which their school is named after. Tell his story and allow his legacy to live on through your child. Catholic Online sells a coloring book that tells the stories of the Saints. It comes in a downloadable digital PDF, a perfect resource that will definitely allow your child to understand his legacy!

Be Inspired
St. Charles spent much of his life dealing with disasters like the plague and famine. In one day, he fed more than 3,000 people. Coordinate a food drive and donate the items to a local food bank. Additionally, St. Charles constantly kept his nose in many books, specifically the Holy Scripture. Read the Bible with your child before they go to sleep or take them to the library to choose new children’s books.

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando private school, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

The Value of Family Vacations

With summer vacation right around the corner, family vacations are coming up as well — and you don’t need to take an extravagant trip to Hawaii or Europe to benefit from family time. Family vacations create lasting memories and offer a fun escape from reality. Take a look at the ways you and your kids can benefit from taking a vacation together!

Learn From Other Cultures
By spending time immersed in other cultures, your children become more empathetic, open-minded, and respectful and appreciative of cultural differences. They see firsthand how other people live and expand their understanding of the world around them.

Recharge
Family vacations are the perfect way to forget about work and school and just focus on your family and having a great time. When you share this relaxed time together, you build relationships and develop stronger bonds.

Happiness Anchors
According to research done by the Family Holiday Association, family vacations can act as “happiness anchors.” This means that happy memories refresh us by taking us back to cheerful times, allowing us to approach problems with a fresh perspective. Of those surveyed, 49% said their happiest memory was a family vacation, and a third of the respondents said that they can still vividly recall vacations when they were a child. A quarter of respondents said they reflect on these joyful memories to get through tough times.

Quality Time
As you conquer new adventures, unfamiliar cultures, or the tallest roller coaster in the theme park, you spend time together as a family. You get the chance to learn more about each other in a new environment and have uninterrupted conversations.

The Planning Process
Take time to watch shows on your destination, research popular stops, and activities, and read about the most-loved local spots. The excitement and anticipation of planning your trip will help you push through your daily work day and give you something to look forward to!

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Get a Little Greener for Earth Day

As Earth Day gets closer, it’s the perfect opportunity to talk to your family about how we can take small steps every day to protect the environment. From grocery shopping to traveling, it’s easy to conserve energy and resources. Take a look at these creative tips to go a little greener every day:

Shop smarter: Purchase from businesses that support eco-friendly and fair trade practices. Don’t be afraid to read labels and ask how something was made or what an ingredient is. Your weekly Publix trip isn’t just a chance to check off your grocery list; it’s a chance to show what you want to see more of in the market.

Proper disposal: If you have chemical-heavy items such as used batteries, old cell phones, or paint thinner, Earth911 can help you find locations near you that accept and recycle all sorts of materials.

Cleaning products: Rather than using paper products to clean, opt for sponges, washcloths, and towels, which are less expensive, reusable, and easily disinfected with hot water. Baking soda and vinegar are also great non-toxic, budget-friendly options! If the vinegar smell bothers you, follow it up with a bit of lemon juice.

The stove: When you use a lid to cover a pot on the stove, you not only boil your water faster, but you can reduce your energy by up to two-thirds. And if you’re able to prepare multiple foods in the same pot, you can save energy as well.

Get recycling: If you go to the America Recycles Day website, you can enter your zip code and join a community-wide recycling event close to you.

Pest repellents: Did you know that coffee grounds are an easy eco-friendly alternative to pest repellents? Sprinkle these around ant-prone areas and you’ll reap the benefits without suffering from toxic fumes.

Use rainwater: Create a simple, DIY rainwater harvesting system to collect water run-off for your lawn and garden. All it takes if a 50-gallon barrel, a filtering screen, and a spigot. You can collect up to 150 gallons with every rainstorm!

When traveling: If you don’t wash your sheets and towels every day at home, why should you do it when you’re traveling? Leave the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your hotel room door to prevent the housekeeping staff from cleaning your room every day, which will help conserve cleaning supplies, water, and electricity.

Power strip: Unplug your electronics when they’re not in use. If it takes too much time to unplug each device manually, use a power strip that can turn off multiple devices at once.

St. Charles Borromeo, a private school in Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

 

The Importance of Holy Saturday

The Easter season and Holy Week are sacred, important times of the year. It’s an opportunity for us to remember the last week that Jesus spent walking on Earth and prepare our hearts for His return. Each day of Holy Week is special, and by understanding the importance of Holy Saturday, we can fully appreciate the sacrifice He made for us.

What Happened on the First Holy Saturday?
Holy Saturday is a day of both joy and sadness as we reminisce on the day that Jesus laid in the tomb. Luke 23:56 mentions that the women returned home “and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.” Pontius Pilate instructed guards to be posted at the tomb to ensure that the disciples wouldn’t steal His body.

The History
This was the only Saturday on which fasting was permitted in the early days of the Church. In the second century, people fasted for the entirety of the 40-hour period between nightfall on Good Friday and dawn on Easter Sunday. In the reign of Constantine in the fourth century, the tradition of the vigil began.

At dusk, the vigil began with the lighting of the “new fire,” which included a large number of lamps and candles and the Paschal candle. The Paschal candle is made of white wax, marked with a cross and an alpha and omega, and represents leading people out of the darkness and into the celebration of the Easter vigil.

What Happens at the Easter Vigil?
When we celebrate Holy Saturday with the Easter Vigil Mass, we meditate on God’s good works and thank Him for the price Jesus paid. In the early church, Holy Saturday and the vigil of Pentecost were the only days baptism was administered. While we don’t follow that now, the Easter Vigil Mass is still an important night for those who have spent months of preparation to be received through Baptism and Confirmation into the Church.

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Lent Around the World

When we think of Lent in the United States, we often think of abstaining from meat, giving up something we enjoy, or adding in a spiritual practice. But there’s a huge range and variety of Lenten (and Pre-Lenten) traditions in other cultures! Find out a bit about what the rest of the world enjoys during this Holy season.

Denmark
In Denmark, locals celebrate “Fastelavn” the Sunday before Lent begins. On this day, everyone enjoys eating cream or jam-filled pastries, and children dress up in costumes and beat a barrel filled with candy (similar to a piñata). The two children who successfully break the barrel open are crowned “Cat King” and “Cat Queen.” Believe it or not, this is because the barrel didn’t always hold candy — it used to hold a live cat!

British Isles
Did you know that the British Isles have a long-famous Lenten tradition of eating hot cross buns? The cross marking on the bun symbolizes Jesus’ crucifixion, while the spices in the dough represent His embalming.

Greece
“Kathari Thetera,” or Clean Monday, commences the Lenten season. The Sunday beforehand, people attend a special evening Mass and ask for forgiveness to start Lent with a clean soul. This holiday also signifies the end of a month of carnival celebrations that take place throughout the country leading up to Lent! Clean Monday is a public holiday, and families enjoy the day at the beach or countryside, often flying kites.

Germany
What we know as Holy Thursday, Maundy Thursday commemorates Jesus’ last supper with His Apostles. This day is called Green Thursday (or Grundonnerstag in Germany). There are a variety of speculations as to why this is, but a common one is that since we’ve historically abstained from eating meat, this day is full of green foods and vegetables.

The United Kingdom
Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is a day to indulge and feast before the beginning of Lent. But it’s not just about eating pancakes — in Britain, locals enjoy pancake races every year! Members of Parliament and the House of Lords compete in an annual charity race around Victoria Gardens, and each contestant must complete a full lap without dropping the pancake out of their frying pan (although many admit to stuffing extra pancakes in their pockets), all while wearing an apron and white chef’s hat.

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando private school, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Ash Wednesday

Every year, we gather on Ash Wednesday to receive ashes on our forehead — but do we truly understand the importance of what we’re doing? Learn more about Ash Wednesday and how we prepare for the Easter season and Jesus’s resurrection.

Why Ashes?
Ashes help us remember Genesis 3:19, which tells us that we came from dust, and to dust, we will return. We participate in recognition that we need to repent, turn away from our sin, and be faithful to the Gospel. Ashes serve as a reminder that we are given eternal life through the sacrifice of Jesus.

Where Do The Ashes Come From?
The ashes that mark your forehead come from the blessed palm branches that were used for the previous year’s Palm Sunday Mass. The ashes are sprinkled with holy water and blessed with prayers that are thousands of years old.

The Original Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday marks Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem, and everyone gathered to celebrate his arrival by waving palm fronds. This was the beginning of the final seven days of Jesus’s earthly ministry.

Preparation
Ash Wednesday signifies our preparation for Holy Week and the resurrection of Jesus. We come to God and ask for mercy, forgiveness, and compassion, and we repent of our sins. By doing so, in 40 days, we are able to celebrate Easter with the joy that God intended!

Ashes in the Bible
Over 40 passages in the Bible associate ashes with grief and mourning. In the Old Testament, people used ashes as a sign of repentance. Daniel 9 says that Daniel “turned to the Lord God and pleaded with Him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes,” and Job 42 shows that Job repented “in dust and ashes.” The Ninevites did the same when Jonah came to them. In Esther 4, Mordecai learns of Haman’s plan to destroy the Jewish people and tears his clothes, puts on sackcloth and ashes, and “went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly.”

Don’t Wash Them Away
In the Middle Ages, ashes were not drawn in a cross on the forehead; they were sprinkled across the head. Now, we leave them on our head as a sign of humility. This is a great opportunity to talk to the people in your life about your faith!

St. Charles Borromeo, a private school in Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

How to Prepare for The Advent Season

Christmas season is right around the corner! Our Orlando private school community is excited for the upcoming festivities to celebrate Jesus’ birth. But before then, we want to take time to observe Advent. This is the perfect time to slow down, focus on the meaning of the season, and deepen our relationship with Christ.

Practice Silence
Between holiday parties and social commitments, Christmas is often a loud and busy time. In contrast, Advent is a time to be quiet! Dedicate the beginning of each day to nurturing your relationship with Him by praying for a friend, reading your favorite Bible story, or listening to your favorite worship music on the drive to work.

Advent Wreath
An Advent wreath represents Christ’s eternal love for us. On the wreath, there are four candles: three purple and one pink. There’s also a white candle in the center of the wreath. The purple candles represent our preparation for the Messiah through things such as prayer and fasting, the pink candle represents our joy for His coming, and the white candle — also called the Christ Candle — represents His purity and ability to wash away our sins. The colored candles are lit each Sunday to remind us of the light Christ delivers compared to the darkness of sin.

Give to Charity
God calls us to serve others, and Advent is in the heart of the giving season! There’s a surplus of giving opportunities around the holidays, so consider donating your time to serving your community. If free time is scarce during the busy holiday season, you and your family could also set money aside to give toward the charity of your choosing.

Daily Devotional
Sometimes what we need is a small dose of nourishment through a devotional. This can be done on your own, or you can gather friends and family to complete the devotionals together. You may be surprised how many people would love some company while digging into the Bible! You can hold each other accountable, help answer each other’s questions, and encourage one another when you become frustrated or confused.

Nightly Bible Time
Children greatly benefit from observing the Advent season! If you don’t already have nightly Bible time, Advent is an excellent opportunity to spend evenings talking about the Bible together. As Christmas gets closer, spend your time reading about the birth of Jesus, and talk to your children about what we can learn from Advent.

As an Orlando private school, our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.