Friday, December 2, 2016

Advent Plans in SQT

So, I realized again last night that I have not written anything is days and days.  Kelly asked everyone to put down their Advent plans and link up, so that is what I am doing. 




1
How is it December already?  I was reading off the schedule for my children's art school to the family, it was in the latest email update, when I finished, I said, "And just like that it's 2017.  I haven't even gotten used to it being 2016." 

Hubby replied, "That's because we are getting old!"

After that I didn't want to admit that I still struggle with the fact that we are even in the 2000's and lived to tell about it.  As a child, it seemed too hard to believe and life was supposed to be like a Sci-Fi movie by year 2015....anyway back to Advent. 

2
On the note of time flying, though, my biggest plan for this Advent is to have this baby.  Even more than not believing it will be 2016, I can't believe we are just a couple of weeks, literally days, from having a new little one in this house.  Can I admit that I am still in disbelief that I'm even pregnant!  I know a whole lot of surprised wonderment going on here!

I am trying very hard to get everything packed up and ready to go.  I was so focused on what the baby and I need for the hospital that it took until last weekend to remember I need to pack for the other kids, too.  I'm almost there.  In figuring out what the kids each need, I realized that Little Man would not make it through if I packed up a few shirts because he often goes through 3 shirts a day and despite me getting him fall clothes (with the help of his aunt) he never seems to have enough as it is.  

So I hit the Cyber Monday sales and got some great deals at Kohls. I then began to worry that throwing new clothes into a suitcase and shipping him off may be more than he could handle.  He is attached to his clothes and a homebody. So, before I submitted the final order, I had him pick out what HE wanted from my own highly clearanced choices.  Now, he can't wait for the clothes to arrive and I am hoping it will be a happy surprise when he opens his suitcase.  I know, this still has nothing to do with Advent...bear with me..my brain is on lots of hormones. 

3
Normally, we would decorate gradually for Christmas, putting out just the Advent wreath and a nativity and then building from there. I like to save the big decorations for closer to Christmas so that we have more of a delineation between Advent and Christmas.  However, this year, I decided I needed to just get it done while I could.  So, for the first time ever, everything came out on Black Friday.  Then I took a nap! :)

4
The one piece of the decorating puzzle that I couldn't figure out was the tree.  We usually buy a real one a couple days before Christmas.  This year, the cost of a real tree just wasn't something we could afford.  In addition, it would require me figuring out how to get it decorated either extremely pregnant or with a brand new baby.  Then there i the watering and cleaning up needles.  It just wasn't happening.  I announced that we would have a fake tree and began surfing the whiles of the world wide web for  a deal.  And boy did I find one, only $16 for a 5' tree with shipping.  Buddy helped me pick it out and we eagerly waited for it to arrive.

AHEM...it arrived all right!  And I learned once again that you get what you pay for.  It is a darling little tree, and is still bigger and fuller than Charlie Brown's, but that is about as much as I can say.  Our Jesse Tree is actually taller!  Sigh....at least we have one.  

The kids decorated it and threw on some big old-fashioned lights and now it looks almost as glorious as when the Peanuts gang finished sprucing up the tree for the Christmas spectacular.   

5
This is the first Advent that I was not crawling around in a super short attic with barely any light trying to find Christmas decor.  Now that everything is piled in our storage room, I can't believe how much we have.  There must be a million ornaments--ironic considering quick take #4!

I have realized something else, though.  Over the years we have worked to turn our entire focus to the birth of Christ not the hoopla of the commercial holiday, and our decorations reflect that.  Aside from the millions of ornaments, most of our adornments are nativities.  I think we are at 10 and counting! Oh, wait...make that 11, we have one for outside that needs to come out of the shed.

I am pleased and blessed to see how our Advent and Christmas traditions have developed, and also that my children love all the nativities so much.  For them it really is about waiting for Jesus, with some gifts on the side.


6
I am also planning St Nicholas Day and everyone is so excited.  It will be a simpler celebration this year than most, but isn't that more in keeping with the spirit of the feast!  I have some special meal plans--still working on breakfast!  Some little treats have been gathered for shoes.  Our cousin gifted us with two bags of crafting items (Thank you Jesus) including a huge fit to build and decorate a foam gingerbread house.  We usually make our own gingerbread or graham cracker on St Nick's day, but I wasn't sure how I was going to get the money to buy the supplies--lo and behold, God always provides.  It is a silly thing, but my kids are thrilled. So, it may be a toned down celebration, but we will have all the special elements they look forward to each year--including the gingerbread house.  I'll post pictures next week sometime, I promise. 

St Lucy's day, I still need to work on A LOT!  At least, this year we know where the crown and gown are--last year everything was still in boxes.  I'm not sure what to do for treats.  Hubby and I don't drink coffee anymore and I can't have gluten and milk.  Need to find a allergy friendly option that doesn't require pricey ingredients.  Suggestion would be greatly appreciated! 

I usually make a Swedish feast for dinner for St Lucy's, but I think we are just doing the pea soup and buttered noodles this year.  It will be special to mark the feast and I am trying to remind myself that it is about celebrating the liturgical calendar, not going all out.

Then there is Our Lady of Guadalupe and St Juan Diego to consider...at least Mexican food is an easy option.   
   
We have concerts and recitals, a gallery opening event (for Cowgirl's graphic design class), a book report meet-up, 4-H, volunteering, a healing Mass with the pilgrim image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a craft fair to work, cookies to bake, a charity celebrity to meet, bambinellis to get blessed, and a partridge in a pear tree in the coming weeks.  Once all of that is over, the time of waiting for this baby will be, too!  Then comes the most special birth of all--Christmas day!  It is going to be a busy and wild season but it is very blessed.

What are your plans for Advent this year? 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Christmas is Coming--A Shopping Guide

Here are my quick takes, I didn't number them, I think there are seven.  I may be wrong.  Either way, linking up with Kelly for this Friday after Thanksgiving. 

Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat....actually I think the goose has nothing on me right now.  I'm feeling very round!  Hubby says that is a good thing, he also says I look like a grape--I'm taking that as a term of endearment!  I can't believe Christmas is right around the corner!  This baby will be here before we know it.  As much as I want to savor every moment of pregnancy, I am getting itchy to cuddle this little love in my arms!  I'm already getting the best present ever, but for the rest of you, have you started shopping?

I really like to shop from local and small businesses. There is something about knowing the person who made what you are buying that is so gratifying.  Every year I try to highlight a few of my favorite businesses to introduce you to their products and give my favorite vendors a bit of free publicity. This year I am focusing on Catholic vendors.

The wonder of the internet is that "local" takes on a new meaning.  I can purchase items from across the country or around the world and still build up a relationship with the vendor. Many have become special friends, as well.  So please indulge me as I present my picks for this year!


Fleur de Lis Veils
A new apostolate and new Internet friend, Marsha is a woman with a big heart and a growing business.  Her veils are beautiful and prepared with such loving care.  Whatever your veiling preference, Marsha has a veil for you.  Veils begin at only $25.  Each veil package includes a veil, prayer card, pouch to keep the veil clean, snap on clip to keep the veil in place, and a free gift. I can't wait for my veil to arrive.  I ordered the black medium sized veil, pictured below, and am also receiving an infinity veil that is a gift for a friend.  Here is a peak at some of her veils, you can learn more about them at her website. (More is being added each day!)
Isn't this pink veil darling for a young girl?

I so look forward to wearing this one to baby's baptism.

 This long veil is so striking from the back.

From Marsha:
"Our veil apostolate is an extension of our family. The many women who buy veils from us sometimes pay us a visit not only to purchase their veils but also to pray for the intentions of those who we have already connected with in the past. We are like a circle of prayer chains-unbroken and ever evolving.  We pray before we purchase veils and after they have been bought.  We pray together four times in a day and we are fortunate to have an adoration chapel nearby.

Our veils are chosen not only for how they look but also we keep them as comfortable and long-lasting as possible.  We travel out of town and out of the country to purchase the veils that our customers request us to make.  We all have different requirements and preferences and we truly understand the women who express specific preferences. in their choice of veils.  My husband works as a Project Coordinator in an acoustic manufacturing company and is responsible for designing products that also include overseeing the quality of fabric design and such.  Hence, he is a "quality improvement expert" and inspects every potential threat to quality in the final veil product."


Dolls from Heaven 
Do you remember the beautiful St Therese doll that premiered last Christmas?  Well, Dolls from Heaven has a new, saintly doll for that special little girl.  Introducing St Joan of Arc. 

" As you probably remembered we started our company Dolls from Heaven a year ago, with St. Therese as our first doll and we have been working hard in bringing another saint doll whose story will be  a great inspiration to all, especially to young girls. We are very excited to introduce to you our newest saint doll, "St. Joan of Arc," a young peasant girl who was called by God to save her beloved France from the English invaders during the hundreds' year war. She became the commander in Chief of the armies of France during a time when the thought of a woman going war, nevertheless, leading an army was unthinkable. We hope St. Joan of Arc's doll and story will teach children to be brave and that nothing is impossible with God.  Also this doll will be perfect for a special horse lover in your family. :) "





Battle Beads
The owner of Battle Beads, Mary, is a very special friend of mine.  Our friendship began when I first discovered her website several years ago.  Over the years we have shared stories, and prayer requests, but what's more, her shop is always the first place I look when I need a gift. I have lost track of how many rosaries, sacrifice beads, and bracelets I have ordered--not nearly as many as I wish I could--but I can say this, every order has been absolutely perfect and beautiful.  Her one of a kind designs have delighted every recipient.  Here are just a few of her many creations.  If you don't see what you want, just email Mary.  She is always happy to accommodate custom orders and her prices are amazing for the level of craftsmanship, detail, and attention every piece receives.





Saint Clare's
This is my go to seed company, nit just because of their quality and prices, but because of the amazing customer service I have received. I also truly appreciate the amount of information provided on botht he seed packets and their website.  No more guessing how and when to plant. Run by a lovely family, please remember them when you are ordering seeds in a couple of months. 

BUT, there's more!!! Saint Clare's also produces and distributes high quality audiobooks.  Their collection is impressive and continually growing, as is my wishlist of what I want to order.  Audiobooks aren't just a great tool for homeschooling, they are also a wonderful source of entertainment.  Close off the screen, put away the games, and escape to a land of your own choosing in a book.  My children will do anything for a new audiobook!

If you thought it couldn't get better, here's a coupon code.  Now through Cyber Monday save 25% on everything St Clare's sells with code THANKS2016

 St. Clare's Stocking Up Vegetable Garden Seed Collection - St. Clare Heirloom Seeds





 

Aurelius Cabrini
So perhaps it is wrong to feature myself, but I have created some new items and I am eager to present them to you.  Through my blog, I am offering a discount on all my items.  All my vocation peg dolls are only $3 plus shipping.  Faerie Leigh Modest Fairy dolls are only $2 plus shipping. Handkerchief baby bonnets are only $10 plus shipping.  Here is a small sampling of what I have created for recent orders from local customers. There are a couple more dolls in the works that I will post once they are finished.  Let me know what you like, every order is custom made with love.  













So what's your favorite Catholic shop?  I'm always looking for new ones.

 
  




 




Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Let's Get Planning: Buddy's Lesson Plans 3rd Grade

Well, I decided not to reinvent the wheel this year.  I modeled his plans on Mater Amabilis, although I couldn't help but do some tweeking and trimming here and there.  However, all and all it was much easier to start with a pre-made list of books and build from there.



Religion:

OSV Catholic Encyclopedia (reference)




Math:







English:

(Harp and Laurel Wreath--dictation and memorization)


Readers: Seton, Christian Liberty Press Nature Readers 1-3,

Writing: Nature Journal 10 mins daily




Literature:

Audiobooks: (*all are public domain books available on Librivox or Loyal Books.)

Jo’s Boys by Alcott*

Little Men by Alcott*

Peter Pan by Barrie*

Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Sidney*


Narration books:


National History:



Ancient History:




Ancient Civilizations by Cooke

Geography:

Map work: Asia

People and Places:


Earth Studies: Extreme Environments
  1. Desserts
  1. Jungle
  1. Arctic:


Science:


Sea Life Notebooking pages by Harrington Harmonies (**See my affiliate link to the right, and stay tuned for a review of these pages.)

Music Appreciation: (on the go)


Masters of Classical Music

Practical Work:
Make a paracord belt
Learn to stack wood
Learn to cook on a fire

Handwriting:
D'Nealian Cursive

Latin:






Sunday, November 6, 2016

God Bless America--A Flying Novena

I was raised to love my country, to serve her, to pray for her, to guide her and her citizens in any way I could.  My parents, grandparents, and great grandparents always told us how blessed we were to be Americans, how proud we should be that we are citizens of a great, shining beacon of hope.  I have vivid memories of my mom dressed in red, white, and blue saluting the flag with tears in her eyes at festivals and events.  She learned God Bless America in sign language and taught us all to sign the song, even though she knew nothing of sign language.  There were endless rehearsals in our kitchen with the music blaring.  Every student that she taught, also learned to sign the song with pride, emotion, and reverence.  My one regret in planning her funeral was that I wasn't able to get up and sign that song one last time for my mother.



I didn't always appreciate this great land.  I remember going to Elks Club dinner dances with my grandparents and how my grandfather had tears streaming down his cheeks every time they did the 11th hour remembrance of fallen brothers.  How he stood with beaming pride and love, his hand placed firmly over his heart as the National Anthem was sung.  I loved my grandfather but didn't understand his devotion, after all aren't there better places all around the world? 

I dreamed of sailing abroad, walking the streets of Paris, visiting buildings twice the age of our nation, seeing history and beauty all around me.  I yearned for the taste of fine cuisine and the mix of languages I could encounter in just a short trip.  I saw the jewels of Europe and couldn't wait for my chance to dive into them. 

That chance finally came when I was 20 years old and required to study abroad.  Three semesters away and in exploration.  It sounded like Heaven on Earth.  I did indulge in the delectable pastries and chocolates of France, Belgium, Ireland, England, Germany, and Austria.  I marveled at the magnificent castles and cathedrals, the likes of which I had never seen.  However, once the initial allure wore off, I realized that I was a stranger in a strange land.  I would always be an outsider no matter how well I spoke French, or how I dressed like a "native,"  this wasn't my home, and I wanted home.  It was an amazing and unforgettable experience.  I will forever be grateful for the opportunity that my parents afforded me. (And my grandmother, who paid for my plane ticket.)  It is overseas that I found my true home, in America.  It was in the lights of Paris, that I fell in love with my own country.

Now my country needs prayers.  I don't know what God's Will is for this election.  I don't know who He would vote into office.  However, I am pretty sure it would be for a candidate who loved this land, liberty, and life.  I am asking everyone who reads this to say a special Flying Novena tomorrow, November 7th for a Godly result to our election.  Pray for mercy to be bestowed upon this great land, that the hearts and mind of every voter and candidate would be opened and converted to the Truth that sets us all free.  Please, Share this with family and friends--let us pray our way to the polls. Thank you.



Flying Novena for Our Nation

Dear Father, you have greatly blessed our great land.  You have bestowed upon us life, liberty, and hope.  It is by Your Grace, and for Your Glory, that this country has become a beautiful, shining example of freedom and aide to those in need.  We have turned our backs on You, You who are most worthy of all our praise.  We have trampled the bounty You set at our feet, and mowed down the innocent in the name of choice.  Please, Dear LORD, hear our prayers and rescue this country.  Open the hearts of our countrymen to upright character, faith, and charity.  Convert the hearts of the lost, and bring us all to our knees is penance and thanksgiving.  Please guide every voter this election, and may Thy Will be done.  Amen.
Memorare--pray 9 times
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.



Thank you everyone.  Please remember to vote!  God bless America!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

All Saint's Day 2016

Well, I can't believe it has been over a month since I last posted.  The time has flown by at lightening speed--seriously the shortest month in the history of months.  We have been very busy with activities, sports, midwives' appointments, and life in general.  I have been blogging in my head but haven't had enough time to sit down and add anything to this little space of mine on the Internet.  Did you miss me?  I have missed being here.

November is a slower month for us--aside from the crazy rush to Thanksgiving that always happens.  I am trying to cut back a bit and not run myself ragged in these last weeks before baby comes.  Only 7 more to go!!!!  I am definitely in a mixed emotions season of my pregnancy.  On the one hand, I am still trying to get a grip on the fact that I am actually pregnant.  You would think with the big 7+ month belly it would be hard to forget, but there are still times that it absolutely amazes me!  Then there are the jitters and nerves of binging home a new little love, I'M JUST NOT READY.  I feel like I can't do it, this pregnancy has flown by even more quickly than this October and my brain can't process how close to the end we are.  I can't wait to cuddle this new miracle and know that everything is all right, the hard part of waiting and hoping is over, yet I don't want to rush a single moment any more than it already has been.  I want to savor every second of this miracle of deliciousness because I know that I will probably never walk this path, again.

I thought a day book might be a good way to jump back in here.  It's only been 27 months since my last one....



Outside my window...
 Autumn is in the air and leaves are all around.  I enjoy this time of year, it always reminds me of my mom.  This was her favorite season. She loved everything about it and once the trees begin to turn color, I have many teary drives around this beautiful area she loved so much.  The kids are soaking up the last bits of warm sunny play and I don't have the heart to stop them.  I know winter is around the corner and all accounts are calling for a cold, snowy one.

I am thinking...
that there is so much ugliness going on in this world.  However, my news feed on Facebook has been flooded with all the new babies from my Catholic pregnancy support group, just looking at them gives me hope and shows me how much beauty we still have.

I am thankful...
for God's provision, even when it seems we are losing the battle, He is winning the war!

Learning all the time...
Have I mentioned that I am learning to play the guitar with Buddy? It is a humbling experience to be in a class of young children and be struggling to catch up.  My body just isn't as flexible as their so it has taken a lot of practice to make some progress.  I am enjoying it though, it is something I have wanted to do for a long time.

Celebrating the Liturgical Year...
Today is the feast of All Saints.  Last night, my daughter's St Therese Scouts troop hosted an All Saints party.  We had such a great time! The kids all designed their own costumes and Cowgirl baked a delicious cake.  I made some allergy friendly dishes so that I knew I would have something to eat.  We played games, did line dancing, and shared a delicious meal with some wonderful friends.  Can you guess who the kids were dressed as?





From the kitchen...
We've been doing a lot of simple dishes with rice and beans. Trying to economize but I am not feeling very creative.  I can't wait to do some Thanksgiving baking.  I have been researching making a pumpkin delight--I delight in all things pumpkin--that is dairy and gluten free.  As much as I don't want November to go quickly, I am so looking forward to whatever pumpkin dessert I end up making.

I am creating...
some new items for my etsy shop. It has been pretty neglected this past year.  I want to breathe some new life into it and we could use the extra money so my plan for the next week is to make what I can to fill it up once more.


I am going... 
to be posting the rest of our plans for the year before the year is out, I promise!

I am hoping...
for a smooth labor and delivery.  Lately, I have been having flashbacks of Little Man's birth which was very difficult and traumatic.  I thought I had deal with all the emotions, but approaching another delivery has conjured them back up.  I am hoping to begin feeling hopeful that this time will be better and to breathe easy trusting in God's plan for this new life.

I am praying...
for our Pastor who had quadruple bi-pass surgery a couple of week ago,

for our nation and our Church that seem to need so much guidance and deliverance,

for these elections to bring our country together instead of tearing it apart,

for my goddaughter who has been having unexplained medical issues,

for our finances and my husband's new career, things are rough but God is good,

and for so many others that I hold in my heart.

I am reading...
Cardinal Sarah's book.  I am only a little more than half way through and have decided I need to read it again, too much good meat in that book to absorb it all in one reading. If you have not read it, you must!

I am pondering these words...

Lamentations 3:22-23New International Version (NIV)

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.



 
I am listening to...
the boys set up for Mass on our covered porch.  Buddy is the priest and Little Man is the altar boy.  They even checked the calendar to make sure they had the colors correct.  Since I was up all night monitoring Little Man's breathing (we thought he was having an allergic reaction, turned out to be a cold) and am now coming down with his cold, this may be the only Mass I get to assist today.

Around the house...
I'm trying to nest and get ready for winter but my body is slowing me down.  With so much going on, we have fallen very far behind.  We have already had a few freezes and sleet one morning. It is time to winterize. I am hoping we get to it this weekend. I want everything clean, and neat for baby's home coming.  I don't know how to accomplish that!

One of my favorite things...
is feeling baby's wiggles and kicks, although the kick are packing a punch these days and are sometimes painful, but it never gets old.  I wish I could somehow bottle this feeling and take it out whenever I want for the rest of my life. I will miss these little love taps in a couple months. 

Plans for the week...
Wednesday- co-op all day (I hope, Little Man is feeling worse and so am I.)
Thursday- A day at home to catch up on school and cleaning.
Friday-- Well check ups for the kids, they are so thrilled!
Saturday-- Adoration and first Saturday Mass in the morning.  Going to a charity auction that Hubby is running in the evening, it will be nice to be out.
Sunday--  Mass in the morning, some rest in the afternoon, and Youth Group for Cowgirl in the evening

How is your fall going so far?