Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Novena Starts Today

The St. Andrew Christmas Novena starts today. Say it fifteen times a day from today until Christmas. It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (30th November) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment
in which the son of God was born
of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight,
in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold.
In that hour vouchsafe, O my God,
To hear my prayer and grant my desires,
through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ,
and of His blessed Mother.
Amen.

Immaculate Conception Novena

The Immaculate Conception - Satan's Mighty Foe - by Piola, Domenico from Church of Santissima Annunziata del Vastato, Genoa
The Immaculate Conception Novena was supposed to start yesterday, but I am a little behind. Start today and end on December 9th, the day after the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th. You can light a novena candle to say with this prayer, pulling aside the veil on the last day of the novena to reveal the baby Jesus inside. There He can stay until Christmas when he is placed in the manger.
The Immaculate Conception Novena Opening Prayer God, Our Father, you have given us Mary whom we honor as the Immaculate Conception. You have favored her with holiness and purity, freeing her from the stain of sin, to be chosen as the Mother of Jesus. Through her intercession and protection, may we live our lives in holiness and in complete trust of your loving plan for us. Amen. Day 1 O Blessed Virgin Mary, from the beginning of time God chose you, sinless and full of grace, to be the Mother of Jesus. Because of your unselfish “fiat,” you are for us the example of perfect faith and obedience to what God is calling us to do. O Mary of the Immaculate Conception,
help us to be open to the Word of God in our daily lives.
Hail Mary, full of grace… Day 2 O Mary, Mother of God, we honor you for your submission to the unfolding mystery of salvation history. From Bethlehem to Calvary, you were present to Jesus as faithful mother and courageous disciple, sharing in the mysteries of his life. O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, may we be for others
a living presence of God’s joy and compassion.
Hail Mary, full of grace… Day 3 O Mary of Nazareth, you were filled with the light of the Holy Spirit as you prepared for the birth of Jesus. You became the Mother of God and the Mother of the Redeemer, our mother and intercessor for the People of God, his Church. O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, may we wait in hopeful expectation this Advent for the coming of the Lord Jesus in our hearts.
Hail Mary, full of grace… Day 4 O Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, you were in a sense the first tabernacle for Jesus. In your womb his Sacred Heart beat under your Immaculate Heart. You are the Vessel of Honor, the Ark of the Covenant, and Gate of Heaven. Filled with grace, you give Jesus to us that we may bring him to others. O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, may we have a deep and reverent love for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Hail Mary, full of grace… Day 5 O Mary, Mother of Sorrows, your heart was pierced with a sword as you stood on Calvary beneath the cross of your Son. Only a mother could experience such deep pain and anguish to see her only son die such a death. O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, may we acknowledge that suffering can become for us redemptive and truly identifies us as one with Jesus.
Hail Mary, full of grace… Day 6 O Mary, our Life, our Sweetness and our Hope, from age to age you are called blessed among all women. You, above all others, have a deep communion with God. You are the model of virtue, prayer and discipleship. O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, lead us into a prayerful and deeply authentic relationship with Jesus so that we may be holy and reflect his goodness to others.
Hail Mary, full of grace… Day 7 O Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, your holiness and obedience changed the course of history through the redemptive power of your Son. You give us the example of discipleship and what it means to witness to the Way, the Truth and the Life—Jesus. O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, we pray for holiness, especially as lived through the priesthood and consecrated life.
Hail Mary, full of grace… Day 8 O Mary, Mother of Divine Grace, you intercede for us and lead us to your Son. Jesus said to John, “Behold, your Mother.” You are our spiritual mother, who draws us ever closer to your Son. O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, may our devotion to you increase our love for Jesus.
Hail Mary, full of grace… Day 9 O Mary, Seat of Wisdom, you gave Jesus, the Eternal Word made flesh, to the world. What a privilege was yours—to bring him forth into the world so that all peoples and nations may be drawn to him, Incarnate Wisdom. O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, may the Gospel of Jesus Christ, reach the farthest ends of the earth. Help us to grow in knowledge and love of the Blessed Trinity.
Hail Mary, full of grace... Concluding Prayer Mary, we honor you as the Mother of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, we delight in your singular privilege of being born with the fullness of grace, completely preserved from the stain of original sin. Blessed among all women, you are especially favored by God. Confident in that honor we place before you our needs and intentions (name the intention). Through your intercession, may it be brought to fulfillment. In gratitude for your motherly concern, O Mary Immaculate, patroness of the United States of America, we pray: You are all beautiful, O Mary. The original stain is not in thee. You are the glory of Jerusalem, The joy of Israel, The great honor of our race, The advocate of sinners. Virgin most prudent, pray for us. Intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Sweet Song

I came across this song "Smallest Wingless" by Craig Cardiff as I was doing some blog-hopping reading the beautiful life stories of families who have experienced the birth and death of a baby with a poor prenatal diagnosis.

By the way you can spend many hours watching videos of all the sweet babies on YouTube, but it makes me think of all those little angels not given the chance to be held in their mother's arms, even for a moment.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Advent Wreath Prayers

Our Advent Wreath tradition is to turn the light off and light the candle(s) on the wreath and then say the Advent prayer for that week. Then we sing a Christmas song of the children's choice. Then one child gets to blow out the candle. Aren't these candles beautiful (and they smell wonderful too). I admired them here last year and just had to give the Mount Angel Abbey bookstore a call this year to get some. They are handmade by a monk and the Abbey bookstore was kind enough to have one of the monks bless them for me before they mailed them to me.
Our evenings in Advent begin after dinner with the Jesse Tree reading and ornament, followed by the lighting of the Advent Wreath and prayer and Christmas song, and then the children get to open their chocolate Advent calendars as a final treat each evening.
Here are some Advent Wreath prayers to choose from:
I particularly like this set of prayers from St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, but here are some other prayers for the Advent Wreath: more traditional shorter (look under the alternate prayer for each week for the shorter version) longer and more modern On the First Sunday of Advent, the head of the household can say this blessing of the Advent Wreath O God, by whose word all things are sanctified, pour forth thy blessing upon this wreath, and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and may receive from Thee abundant graces. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

"Give thanks to the LORD who is good, whose love endures forever!" Psalm 107:1
Hope you have a day filled with the blessings of faith, family and good food (...and football). Try to spend some time alone today to thank God for all that you have. the Pslams are an especially good source of scripture to read, some of my favorites Psalms of thanksgiving being
Psalms 100, 105, 107, 111, and 115.
Thanksgiving Table Prayer O Gracious God, we give you thanks for your overflowing
generosity to us. Thank you for the blessings of the food we eat
and especially for this feast today. Thank you for our
home and family and friends, especially for the presence of those gathered here. Thank you for our health, our work
and our play. Please send help to those who are
hungry, alone, sick and suffering war and violence. Open our hearts to your love. We ask your blessing through Christ your son.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving Treats & Crafts Ideas

Here is a list of some fun things to do for Thanksgiving in the next week or so or on Thanksgiving Day.
Books to Read

Thanksgiving Day by Gail Gibbons Pilgrim's First Thanksgiving by Ann Mcgovern The First Thanksgiving by Linda Hayward This First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Story by Laura Krauss Melmed The Story of Thanksgiving by Nancy J. Skarmeas P is for Pilgrim: A Thanksgiving Alphabet by Carol Crane The Story of the Pilgrims by Katharine Ross The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh Thanksgiving Is... by Gail Gibbons Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland Clifford's Thanksgiving Visit by Norman Bridwell A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman Arts & Crafts

Make Pinecone Turkeys (with paper feathers would be easy too)
Hand traced-turkeys (glue on construction paper feathers, orange foam triangles for the feet and the beak, red foam circles for the wattle and a googly eye)
Indian Corn (coloring marshmallows with markers in red, orange, yellow and brown and glueing them). This counts as a treat too.

Color this Cornucopia coloring page

Make Ginny's beeswax leaf garland or beeswax leaves for decoration on your table. we actually got our act together and did this and this is our garland on our mantle.

There's still time to do a Thanksgiving Countdown Turkey

Some other cute ones:

Pilgrim Hat Centerpiece

Pilgrim hat

Finally, Make & Takes has even more ideas here and here.
Yummy Treats

Make Oreo Candy Corn Turkeys

Make Pumpkin Yogurt Popsicles

Mix a rough 2:1:1 ratio of vanilla yogurt, canned pumpkin, juice (we happened to have carrot apple baby juice). Stir until homogenized and then using a funnel pour into popsicle molds. Freeze and then enjoy.

I also love this Fruit Gobbler from Family Fun as a great centerpiece decoration and appetizer to munch on before dinner.
Activities
Sing the Turkey Dinner Song
(Sing to the tune of Frère Jacques) Turkey Dinner, turkey dinner, Gather round, gather round, Who will get the drumstick? Yummy, yummy drumstick, All sit down, all sit down. Cornbread muffins, chestnut stuffing, Puddin' pie, one foot high, All of us were thinner Until we came to dinner; Me oh my! Me oh my!
Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Love Autumn

This is just my favorite time of year. When I saw Ginny's leaf garland, I knew it was the perfect way to bring the beauty of Autumn inside to my home and make it more cozy.
I was a little nervous, hot wax and little ones didn't sound like such a good combination. So I decided it would be a weekend project with two adults, but apparently I incredibly underestimated the amount of time it would take to melt beeswax in a Little Dipper crockpot. So after an hour or so of waiting, we gave up, I thought until this time next year.
But it all just worked out the next day and even with just me and three little curious and clumsy kiddos, it was actually very easy and of course fun. I gave the beeswax many hours to slowly melt and then set-up our little dipping station in our screened porch (which I love so much about my new house). We went out, baby in the wagon and picked all sorts of leaves, red, yellow, orange, brown and green. The best ones for dipping and hanging were the ones still on the tree instead of the partially wilted leaves on the ground. The littlest one of all even helped collect leaves as they fell. We even played in the leaves. A few simple rules for being around hot wax, and before I knew it we had a table full of preserved Autumn leaves.
I didn't have quite enough time to string them on a thread for the garland before dinner and bedtime so that was an evening task for me, probably for the best.
I just love this garland on our mantle. Thanks Ginny for the inspiration. I didn't think I could like Autumn more.
Now I just need to go light that pumpkin candle.

Scottish Feast for the Saints of Scotland

This weekend before Thanksgiving would be a great time to make an easy and delicious Scottish meal in honor of the feasts of the patron saints of Scotland, St. Margaret (November 16th) and St. Andrew (November 30th). For ideas and recipes, see my last year's Scottish Feast post. Pictures for this year to come.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Jesse Tree 2010

Our 2009 Jesse Tree at the half way point
The Jesse tree is a symbol of Jesus' family tree. It is based on the below verse from the book of Isaiah, and is a way of teaching the Old Testament background for the coming of the Messiah, which is the first long "Advent."
"A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots" - Isaiah 11:1
The first we did the Jesse Tree year we used a big branch that Pumpkin picked out spray painted gold and and printed these pictures and cut them out as ornaments. We also colored coordinating coloring pages. Last year I ordered this kit.
Since every year the number of days in Advent is different, I tweaked last years reading list for this year. I also changed it to better match this particular ornament kit, which meant deleting some significant Old Testament stories. There are various symbols for each story that will coordinate with multiple different ornaments. Here is a link to a calendar with additional daily activities for the Jesse Tree. Below each reading and symbols is a link to a coloring page that corresponds to the story (I have a coloring page for each day except I could not find one for Tobiah's Journey, please let me know if you do). November 28 Creation: Gen. 1:1-31; 2:1-4 Symbols: sun, moon, stars, animals, earth Creation coloring page November 29 Adam & Eve: Gen. 2:7-9, 18-24 Symbol: Man & Woman, tree Adam & Eve coloring page November 30 Fall of Man/Original sin: Gen. 3:1-24 Symbol: Serpent, tree, apple Adam & Eve Expelled from the Garden coloring page December 1 Noah: Gen. 6:5-22; 7, 8, 9:1-17 Symbol: Ark, animals, dove, rainbow Noah's Ark coloring page
December 2
Abraham: Gen. 12:1-9, 15:1-6 Symbol: Stars, torch, sword, mountain Abraham coloring page
December 3
Jacob: Gen. 28:10-22
Symbols: Ladder, kettle Jacob wrestling with Angel coloring page
December 4
Joseph & his brothers: Gen. 37 Symbol: Multi-Colored Coat, bucket, well, silver coins Joseph coloring page
December 5
Joseph's Greatness: Gen. 41 Symbol: shock of wheat Joseph storing food coloring page
December 6
Moses as Prince: Ex. 1 & 2 Symbol: basket, baby in basket, river and rushes Baby Moses coloring page
December 7 Moses and the Burning Bush: Ex. 3
Symbol: burning bush Moses burning bush coloring page
December 8
Moses - Plagues & Parting Sea: Ex. 5-12:1-36
Symbol: frog, parted sea
December 9
Moses receiving Ten Commandments: Exodus 19, 20, 24:12-18
Symbol: stone tablets
December 10
Moses water from the rock: Exodus 17:1-7
Symbol: staff
December 11
Samuel: 1 Sam. 3
Symbols: Oil lamp, candle lamp, temple
December 12
David Chosen King: 1 Samuel 16:1-13
Symbol: sheep
December 13
David & Goliath: 1 Samuel: 17
Symbol: slingshot
December 14
Solomon's Wisdom: 1 Kings 2:1-6, 3:4-28
Symbol: Scales of justice, temple, two babies and sword, crown
December 15
Elijah's Contest: 1 Kings 18:3,21-39
Symbol: burning rock
December 16
Jonah: Jonah 2:1-2, 11 or entire book of Jonah
Symbol: Whale
December 17
Tobiah's Journey: Tobit 5, 6:1-9, 10:1-6, 11:1-15
Symbol: fish
December 18
Daniel and the Lion's Den: Daniel 6:1-29
Symbol: Lions
December 19
John the Baptist: Luke 1:5-25, 57-80
Symbol: sandal, Shell with water, river
December 20
Annunciation: Luke 1:26-38
Symbol: Angel
December 21
Visitation: Luke 1:39-56
Symbol: Mary
December 22
Joseph: Matt. 1:18-25
Symbols: Joseph, Carpenter's Saw, hammer, chisel, angle
December 23
Journey to Bethlehem: Luke 2:1-6
Symbols: manger
December 24
Jesus is Born: Luke 2:6-20
Symbols: baby Jesus
Epiphany - January 6
Visit of the Magi: Matthew 2:1-12
Symbol: shining star

Friday, November 12, 2010

What better way to start off the day...

than with a little free-spirited dance...

video

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thanksgiving Turkey Countdown Craft

We did this craft last year and hung it in our kitchen and the children loved it. It is easy and you can actually use the turkey base again each year and just cut out new feathers.
This turkey is a cute craft for counting down to Thanksgiving, while every day writing something you are thankful for as a family. You make enough feathers as there days left until Thanksgiving, and every day you tear off a feather and write on it something you're thankful for. On each feather I wrote down something that each child said they were thankful for (sometimes they were hilarious) and their name. We saved all the feathers in a mason jar on the kitchen counter and then read them all on Thanksgiving Day. On Thanksgiving the children had fun listening to what they had been thankful for the past few weeks.
From Make & Takes (tweaked a little):
Supplies:
Brown paper – cardstock or construction paper for the turkey’s body and head. Colored paper – cut into strips, as many as days until Thanksgiving Black crayon or 2 googly eyes (optional) gluestick and glue
Directions:
Draw and cut a large circle out of the brown paper, as big as it can go. Then cut a smaller circle, but with a square neck at the bottom. Bend the square part of the small circle back and glue it to the middle of the big circle, it’s for a 3D head. Now draw eyes on the head or glue on two googly eyes with glue, glue on a beak, and glue on a snood – the red thing hanging over the beak! Cut your colored paper into feather strips and glue them to the back of the turkey body. Write what you’re thankful for when you pluck the feather each day. Now it’s ready for Plucking! Everyday you get to remove a colored feather strip, getting you closer to Thanksgiving. Save each feather with written thankful note and read them all together on Thanksgiving Day.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Solemnity of All Saints

The children had a special day dressing up as their saints of choice for the first time to celebrate All Saints Day. We had a little party at our new home with some friends, and it was so much fun.
Pumpkin wanted to be St. Michael the Archangel.
And Peaches wanted to be St. Therese the Little Flower.
I dressed Sweet Pea as the Blessed Mother Mary. They looked so sweet, but of course the costumes and props didn't stay on all together very long as there were games to play and treats to eat.
The children marched out of our house to the backyard in their costumes to "When the Saints Go Marching In." There were so many cute saints including St. Franics, St. Lucy(s), St. Therese of Avila, Blessed Mother Teresa, St. Therese the Little Flower, St. Daniel, St. Michael the Archangel(s), St. Rose of Lima, St. Clair, St. Nicholas, St. Dymphna and more.
Then we played games. A sweet friend put together the games. We played a twist of musical chairs called St. Francis' Furry Friends Frolic where each child had a stuffed animal and they marched around to the music and every time the music stopped a type of stuffed animal was called out and that person was out. The child holding the last stuffed animal won a prize. We also played Pin(or tape) the Rose on St. Therese which we got from Jessica. My friend had Charlotte's St. Therese of Lisieux's coloring page blown up and it looked so wonderful.
Peaches was so happy we were playing a game with her saint's name.
There was lots of fun play and chatting and baby holding.
There were lots of treats including rosy Jello for St. Rose (I think), adorable archangel rice krispie treats for St. Michael the Archangel, taquitos for St. Juan Diego, animal crackers for St. Francis and cookies for St. Nicholas. There were more but I couldn't catch it all with so much activity. Then we gathered around the cake and the children sang "When the Saints Go Marching In" and then it was time for cake.
I made this cake which is meant to be a Saints on The Clouds of Heaven cake. The cake inside is blue for the blue sky and the marshmallow fluff meringue frosting is swirled like fluffy clouds. I used this recipe with the following variations:
I only made 3 layers with 2/3 of a white box cake in each pan.
I used only blue food coloring
I used almond flavoring instead of lemon
I used applesauce instead of oil and it was so moist and delicious (I will never use oil again)
I decorated the top with some small plastic statues of Mary & St. Joseph and some skewered felt Saint Softies.
Hope you had a blessed Solemnity of All Saints.
P.S. I must share this adorable link to Elizabeth's childen's home made video of the Litany of the Saints they made for their mother. It is so precious.

My Halloween Cuties

It was a Happy Halloween for this crew.
and this little bumblee bee was just so happy to be along for the ride.

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