Monday, December 29, 2008

The Fifth Day of Christmas

We are busy celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas. Some say each day represents a code for our Christian faith. We are adding an ornament for each day of Christmas. I just came across these great coloring sheets. We are also working on our Nativity lap books. The big girls are working on this one and the little ones are working on this one while we continue to enjoy our Christmas music.

By the way, Honeybee got her pink guitar for Christmas.

Mama had a BIG SURPRISE of her own! I'd better get to practicing....

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Merry Christmas everyone! We hope your Christmas is as blessed as ours continues to be! This year we placed our gifts around the stable after the kids went to bed. They were so excited to wake up on Christmas morning, put the baby Jesus in the manger, and sing Happy Birthday to Him. As many of you know the Christmas season lasts into January after the Wise Men arrive on, or near, Jan 6 (Epiphany) and ends after Our Lord's Baptism (on Jan. 11th this year). Our bishop shared a devotion for the 12 Days of Christmas.

Bishop Baker suggests a return to the ancient Christian custom of celebrating the 12 days of Christmas. The 12 days are from Dec. 26 through the feast of the Epiphany, the coming of the three Kings, on Jan. 6. The Liturgical Christmas season lasts until the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

The Christ candle may be lit at the main meal of Christmas and placed in the center of the Advent wreath. A prayer may be offered as an invitation to commit doing something constructive, some random act of kindness or a reconciliation as soon as possible.

The song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, tells the story of gift-giving; and the composer carefully chose gifts that would appear unusual, yet be filled with meaning to those who knew the translation. The true love mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor but to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. The partridge in the pear tree is Jesus Christ. The other gifts in the song refer to beliefs of the Catholic Faith.

Bishop Baker suggests that families celebrate the gift of Jesus to us by his coming into the world. Celebrate your own 12 days of Christmas from Dec. 25 to Jan. 6.

Light the Christ Candle of Hope at the main Christmas dinner and during the 12 days of Christmas. Repeat the lighting of the Christ Candle and the Prayer each day.

The Christ Candle of Hope Prayer

God Our loving Father, you sent your Son, Jesus Christ into this world to conquer all the forces of evil: sin, suffering and death. He came to overcome evil with the power of good; hatred with the strength of love, your own great love for us in Jesus. Help us never to curse the darkness, but to join with you in bringing your light into this world, the light that is your Son, born of the Virgin Mary, in Bethlehem. Help us to be instruments of your light and love by doing one special act of kindness or being your special instrument of reconciliation this Christmas season. May the Christ Candle which we light symbolize our desire to bring light into a world of darkness and hope into a world of despair. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Crippled Lamb

The Crippled Lamb is a WONDERFUL video for Christmas! It's definitely worthily of belonging to your Christmas movie collection.

Today we put the straw shredded paper in our stable with the sheep crippled lamb and the shepherd boy.

Mary, Joseph, and the donkey are traveling towards the stable in Bethlehem.

I'd post some pics but I'm having trouble downloading my pictures? Have a blessed day.

O Come Emmanuel!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Blessed Woman's Daybook

Monday December 22, 2008

Outside My Window...
Coldest morning of the season, yeah I know it just began. :) It's sooooo wonderful to have the briskness in the air. Now it feels as though Christmas is almost here!

I am thinking...
Cookies for breakfast are yummy but make you want to go back to bed :(

I am thankful for...
Too many things to list. Thank You God!

From the learning rooms...
Catching up on the O' Antiphons copywork. We have been living the advent season like never before. It has been truly wonderful. The kids were in our homeschool Christmas play on Friday. The House Cat did an awesome job leading the music on her guitar. Snuggle Bug sang beautifully and also narrated "No Room in the Inn" perfectly. Buck was an adorable shepherd and Honeybee was an angelic angel!
My parents celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary and we delivered a big, beautiful poinsettia and some homemade molasses cookies to their door.
On Saturday the girls and I went to a cookie swap while Dad and Buck finished up some Christmas shopping. The cookie swap was a lot of fun and we came home with some wonderful new recipes. The molasses cookie recipe came from a close friend's grandmother and were really yummy. The recipe's below if you'd like it.
Yesterday we enjoyed our monthly Teams of Our Lady meeting. We had a good time with our ornament swap(or steal you may say.) :)

From the kitchen...
All's quiet today as we prepare for our caroling at Children's Hospital tonight.
Tomorrow we will bake cookies and treats for our neighbors.

I am going...
To start a new diet on Jan 1. :)

I am reading...
The O'Antiphon's and Jesse Tree readings each evening with my family.

I am hoping...
TO get by The Catholic Center of Concern today or tomorrow to drop off all of our gifts for Jesus.

Around the house...
The tree is light and the stable is up. The shepherd boy is there with his sheep and a donkey is resting. Buck pointed out to us that the donkey wasn't there yet because Mary was still riding on him. Out of the mouth's of babes!

One of my favorite things...

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
Tonight we join other homeschoolers to sing Christmas Carols at Children's Hospital. It's also my mama's birthday. Happy Birthday Nae-Nae!
Tomorrow we'll bake and wrap gifts. Then dad will be off for the rest of week! YAY!
Mass on Christmas Eve and lots of hugs, happiness, and thanksgiving as we celebrate the birth of Our Lord Jesus!

God Bless You All with a wonderful Christmas!

Grandma’s Molasses Cookies

Step One - Melt ¾ cup shortening over low heat and let cool for a couple of minutes. Stir in ¼ cup molasses, 1 cup sugar, and 1 egg. Mix well.

Step Two - In a separate bowl combine 2 cups all purpose flour, 2 tsp. baking soda, ½ tsp. cloves, 1 tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. ginger, ½ tsp. salt.

Step Three - Slowly add flour mixture to shortening mixture until well combined.

Step Four - Form mixture into walnut sized balls and stack in a dish (use cling wrap in between layers.) Refrigerate for at least 2 hrs.

Step Five - Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray silver pan with non stick spray. Roll cookie balls in sugar and then place on silver pan. Bake for 11 minutes or until they flatten a little and begin to crack.

Here is picture thought I am sharing

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Come "O Lord and Ruler"

Snuggle Bug's copy work for today

Today we celebrate the 2nd O Antiphon, where we call to God again to come and save His people. Tonight we will put the lights on the Christmas tree. This seems fitting since the Jesse Tree readings and the O Antiphon symbol both point to light(Moses and the burning bush).

We set up our new nativity scene last night that Dad and Buck so craftily made for us. Dad blessed it using this blessing

God of every nation and people, from the very beginning of creation you have made manifest your love: when our need for a Savior was great you sent your Son to be born of the Virgin Mary. To our lives he brings joy and peace, justice, mercy, and love.

Lord, bless all who look upon this manger; may it remind us of the humble birth of Jesus, and raise up our thoughts to him, who is God-with-us and Savior of all, and who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

R. Amen.
and we put the animals in. We are all joyfully anticipating the arrival of Joseph and Mary on Christmas Eve!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

O Wisdom

The House Cat's Copywork For Today

The O Antiphons begin today! YAY!!!

As we countdown these last days of Advent, here are some great links to check out.

Domestic Church


Shower of Roses has lots of awesome ideas to celebrate these last days of anticipation of our Lord's birth.

Jennifer shared an awesome post on Catholic Cuisine.

We are joyfully anticipating Christmas around here. We are decorating very slowly this year trying to really think about what and why we are doing what we are doing. I'll share more on that later.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Angelic Inspiration

I truly believe that the good ideas that pop into our minds are the whispers of our guardian angels. Well, this morning as I sat and watched my children playing Mass, I "heard" a beautiful message for today. So today we will spend our day going through toys and clothes to see what we can give Jesus for His birthday present. We will take these things to our local Catholic Center for Concern. Jesus and His angels will give these things to those who otherwise may not have gifts for Christmas. My heart is full of joy and excitement as we begin this day living for God. There is such happiness found in living for Him!

A friend of mine sent this to me and I wanted to share it with you. God Bless.
The Legend of the Candy Cane

Friday, December 12, 2008

Terrific Tilmas

House Cat and Snuggle Bug did a GREAT job on their tilmas. Snuggle Bug also made some pretty roses from coffee filters and pipe cleaners. Pretty crafty, huh?

Buck's and Honeybee's Tilma's turned out soooooo cute!

Our Mexican Wedding Cakes turned out yummy! Although I did have to add a litle extra milk to get them to stick together. I also baked them about 18 min.

My honey made the enchiladas this time and did a GREAT job!

We hope your day was as full of fun and blessings as ours was.

Our Lady of the America's
Pray For Us!

St. Lucia

Just want to share this great
post for tomorrow. God Bless

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Tomorrow is one of our favorite Marian feast days of the year. During his 1999 visit to Mexico, Pope John Paul II declared Our Lady to be the Patroness of the Americas.

Older children can look up Our Lady of Guadalupe, and then share what they learned to their siblings. A couple of great books to read are The Legend of the Poinsettia
by Tomie dePaola and Our Lady of Guadalupe
by Francisco Serrano. The CCC video on Juan Diego is also a wonderful visual of this. Go here for a free activity on how to draw Our Lady of Guadalupe.

In Our Lady's honor, bake: Mexican Wedding Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
8 Tablespoons of powdered sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk

(Bag of powdered sugar to roll cookies in after baked.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray sheets with non-stick spray. Mix all the ingredients togetherwith a mixer. Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and place on cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 min, Cool then shake in a plastic bag of powdered sugar.

We will also make a batch without nuts.

We may try our hand at a couple of activities. Go here and here for a couple of great ideas. We'll definitely be coloring this awesome sheet from Waltzing Matilda. Thanks so much for sharing these with us all!

If Honeybee's feeling better, we'll go out and buy a poinsettia.

Happy Feast Day, everyone. God bless you and your families!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

2nd week of Advent

I've decided to put my computer time and blogging at the end of the day for a while. I have to say my days are definitely running more smoothly and definitely more productive. With that being said, my posts may be a little more sporadic. We'll see what God's plan is. Here are some things that we've been working on this past week. God Bless!

We are all enjoying working on our Jesse Tree (Jesus' family tree)

My hubby pointed out we should be starting from the bottom instead of the top, then The House Cat, noticed the weeks would be out of order(the pink strip needed to be moved up one). Beside from the fact that it's crooked on the wall, I think we've got the rest of it straight now:)

I bought purple folders for everyone to keep their work in for Advent. I also did this for November. It seems to help to keep all of the months activities in each child's own folder. I may continue this into next year and see if I feel a little more organized with it :)

I started Hooked on Phonics with Buck,5, and Honeybee,3 1/2, this week. I had been using "The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading but was having a little trouble keeping them interested. It was probably because I never got around to purchasing the magnetic board and extra letter magnets you need :(

We were so blessed to be GIVEN the complete set. God is so good! Anyway, they are off to a terrific start with it and asking to do more. I really like how the lessons are laid out, with a book to read after a couple of pages in the lesson book. They LOVE putting the stickers on the chart as they read the books. Buck was so excited yesterday to read his own book. He jump around saying, "I can read, I can read!"

The House Cat,12, is really coming along with her guitar playing. We are working on Christmas songs now to be played at our home school Christmas play and also at Children's Hospital. We try to sing/play carols each year for those who are not able to be at home with family. This will be our first year at the children's hospital. Previously, we've played at nursing homes.

Snuggle Bug and Buck have also picked up the guitar and learned a few chords this week. Honeybee's upset she doesn't have a "pink" guitar to play. We'll have to see what we can do about that!

Snuggle Bug's still progressing nicely on the piano. We'll carry the electric keyboard along for her to play while we carol.

St. Nicholas Slippers

After morning prayers we enjoyed watching
this wonderful video.

Buck remembered that daddy had a special rosary with Our Lady of Guadalupe's image inside the cross. He ran and got it to share. Honeybee was sooooo cute trying to squint and look inside.

Saint Juan Diego Pray For Us

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Saint Francis Xavier

December 3rd St. Francis Xavier

"Lord I am here! What do you want me to do? Send me anywhere you like."
In honor of this great missionary, we'll have tempura tonight. I've got some frozen shrimp ready and waiting. I'll probably include bell pepper and onions. Here's the recipe if you'd like to try it yourself or you can follow the link to the Catholic Cuisine site on my sidebar for another idea.

Since St. Francis is the patron of foreign missions and one of the Church's most illustrious missionaries having traveled to and labored in western India, the island of Ceylon, Malacca, Moluccas Islands, Island of Mindanao (Philippines), and Japan, an option for dinner on this feast day would be tempura. Tempura is generally regarded as having been introduced to the Japanese culture by the missionaries from the Iberian peninsula (Portuguese most likely) - and being as St. Francis was the most famous missionary to the orient this would be fitting.

Tempura Batter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2/3 cup ice water
Oil for deep frying
Your choice of dippers; shrimp, scallops, and vegetables are good.

Sift together the dry ingredients. Beat egg slightly and mix with the water. Add the dry ingredients. Stir only until mixed; mixture will be slightly lumpy. Dip shrimp or vegetables into the batter and deep fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Advent Prayers

Advent Prayers You Can Use When Lighting The Candle Each Night.

We also enjoy singing our atrium songs. From Sing with Joy (The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light, Light one candle for hope, and Sitting by the advent wreath) I continue to be incredibly blessed through my work with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. I highly recommend learning more about this if given the opportunity.

1. O God,
as light comes from this candle,
may the blessing of Jesus Christ come to us,
warming our hearts and
brightening our way.
May Christ our Savior bring life
into the darkness of this world,
and to us, as we wait for his coming.

2. How dark outside!
but see -- a star's in the sky;
Mary and Joseph are passing by.
So let's light a candle to welcome them
as they go on their way to Bethlehem.
We'll light a candle in church each day,
We'll light one candle each week and pray.
We'll light a candle at home each day,
We'll light a candle each week and pray

3. Children and Their Families Pray:

Each Week of Advent
The prayers for each week of Advent are based on the "O" antiphons, found in the Old Testament prophets' writings. In medieval manuscripts, the first letter was elaborately ornamented. The first prayer each week is for adults; a prayer for children follows.

First Week

O Jesus Christ,
Emmanuel, come and dwell with us.
Desire of all nations;
Gift to every generation,
Come, make your home with us.

All nations, everybody,
is waiting for you,
Indians and Esquimos
are waiting for you,
People in New York
are waiting for you.
People in Beijing
are waiting for you.
Jesus, come to us.

Second Week

O Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace,
come and save your people.
Joy of every heart,
Strength of those who are poor,
come quickly to help us.

Prince of Peace,
teach the lion and the little lamb,
teach the cat and the mouse,
the the hawk and the tiny bird,
teach everyone who doesn't get along
to live in peace.

Third Week

O Jesus Christ,
Key of David,
come and set your people free.
Open the gates of heaven for us;
come, deliver us from evil.

King David was a mighty king
who built a city long ago.
He left a key
that Jesus found in the manger hay.
Key of David, Jesus Christ,
open heaven's gates for us.

Fourth Week

O Jesus Christ, Holy Wisdom,
come and teach us your way;
Word of life, Word made flesh,
come, speak your truth.

Jesus, come and teach me,
how to sing and play,
how to learn new words;
tell me what to say.
Teach me how to be a child,
for you know the way.

My Daybook Entry

Monday December 1, 2008...

Outside My Window...
Cold and cloudy. A thick blanket of leaves cover the deck and the ground

I am thankful for...
The gift of shelter that is warm and snug and a loving family to share it with.

From the learning rooms...
Looking forward to starting our Christmas Mosaic, An Illustrated Book Study for Advent and Christmas
The girls will keep up their Saxon Math this week.

From the kitchen...
Need to put away lots of things that seem to find their home on the breakfast bar :)
Later today we'll make more pies to take and share with my parents tomorrow for our Thanksgiving feast with them.

I am creating...
My December section in "my" notebook.

I am will be reading...
Lots of Advent and Christmas books listed in The Christmas Mosaic book.

I am hearing...The Rescue Heroes movie.

Around the house...Advent wreath, Jesse Tree, lots of cleaning to do.

One of my favorite things
...A comfy bed to crawl in after a day filled with God's work

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
My honey's on vacation this week. Yeah!! I'll also celebrate a birthday and we hope to have some good friends over on Friday to "jam" with us. Lots of musicians around here. We also need to have a family photo taken.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Praying the Rosary keeps us close to Jesus