November 30, 2010

Advent Traditions.

Advent 2009, I love the glow on their little faces!

Just a quick little note about some Advent traditions we do around here.  First and foremost, is the Advent wreath.  Our "wreath" is a little untraditional--I got tired of candles falling in the middle of prayers (and that the wreath didn't fit in the middle of the table with plates) so Ken drilled me four holes in a cherry board and viola!  I love it.  Just another reminder that it is okay to make traditions work for your family.  Go here for prayers if you need help getting started.

Usually we combine our Jesse Tree readings with our Advent wreath prayers.  You can go here and print out ornaments to color with readings.  We were very blessed to be able to do a Jesse Tree ornament swap with our homeschool support group two years ago and thus, the wide variety of homemade ornaments. 

Some novenas we enjoy:
  • Immaculate Conception Novena--starting today and ending on the 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary (also a Holy Day of Obligation).  You can see Elizabeth Foss's novena and candle craft here.
  • Novena to Our Lady of Guadelupe--since the feast day is traditionally the 12th (a Sunday this year), my calendar says it can be observed on either the 11th or the 13th (also the feast of St. Lucy).  You can also go here to check out the Basilica and watch a video of the inside.  Very cool.
  • Holy Family Novena--this year the feast day is on December 26th (usually the 28th), so start on the 18th.
Of course, there are lots more out there (like the St. Andrew novena) but those are the three we usually focus on.

And don't forget to hang your stockings for St. Nicholas day on December 6th!

Along with all of these feast days and novenas, we also celebrate Ken's birthday during Advent (I also have an aunt and two sister-in-law birthdays during this time!).  For Ken's birthday, we always go see the train display downtown and sometimes walk around Fountain Square and watch the ice skaters.  Then we come back for dinner, cake and presents!

Patrick and Nathan, loving the trains in 2004.

November 29, 2010

I am so excited...

Our photo from last year.  Taken by my tripod.  Um, yes, those are sheers hung over our french doors.  Lovely, I know.  Hoping for better this year! :)

Well, I am so excited about many many things, especially everything that I love and enjoy about the Advent season and preparing for Christmas.  One thing I am particulary excited about is .... wait for it..... christmas cards.

Yep.  That's what I said.  Christmas cards.  I love sending them and receiving them and especially I love the photo cards because I love, love seeing how everybody's kids have grown (especially old friends we don't get to see but every few years) and showing off how my kids have grown as well.

So, when Sarah mentioned that bloggers had an opportunity to review Shutterfly's photo card line--I was pretty excited about that as well! 

And the best part?  This year, my husbands family is having their pictures professionally taken (all 33 of us!) so that means that I won't be trying to snap a picture of the kids by the tree on Christmas Eve eve!  I will actually have a beautiful picture to add to one of these beautiful cards.

Now, my requirements for Christmas cards are that they have some religious aspect to them.  That's just me.  I feel that it is a small way of reflecting the season and what we believe to those we know and love, far and wide.

My first choice for some reason is this beautiful black and white version.  It just struck me as classy.

Which, for our family photo, we'll all be dressed in blacks, whites, greys and reds.  Could be great on this card!

This is would be my second choice:

And, I do have to say that there are soo many beautiful choices, religious and just festive for cards (isn't this one pretty?) or new year's cards (you know-- if you are the ultimate procrastinator.  Or maybe you just prefer to wait until Epiphany!)---you'll just have to get on and check them out for yourself!

In past years, I have used Shutterfly for photo books and photo calendars (always a hit with grandmas!) and the quality and service have been awesome.  So, I can only expect the same of their photo cards.

Shutterfly has a great selection on their website of all sorts of cards (lots and lots of beautiful ones) and photo gifts (can you say custom mug with chocolate? yum!). I think the hardest part will be making a decision!

Happy shopping!  And if you post a pic of your finished card on your site, you should leave me a link so I can oooh and ahhhh over your kids! :)

And if you want to apply for Shutterfly's promotion for bloggers (50 free cards!), you can go here.

November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from my gang of turkeys to yours.  May your day be blessed and the turkey be cooked!  We give thanks to God for all of our many, many blessings.  Especially the blessing of food, shelter and family.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.
 ---Psalm 107:1

November 22, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook--Thanksgiving edition.

November 22, 2010

Outside my is partly sunny, which really means it is mostly cloudy with a glimpse of sun every so often.  Warm (70 degrees!) and windy.  My kids are loving the day.

I am thinking...about cleaning my laundry room.  I am so overwhelmed with the house and family politics that it just seems the best thing to do.

I am thankful for...chocolate.  For comfy beds.  For a pregnancy with little morning sickness (my best pregnancy ever!) and just tiredness.  For big houses that have room to welcome new babies.  For play-doh and crayons and kittens who enjoy a good chase by a little girl.  For internet shopping.  For liturgical seasons.

From the learning rooms...chug chug chugging along.  I started this year with the plan that our learning was largely going to be literature-based.  I'm finding I feel really unsatisfied by that.  I'm also finding that my husband also needs to see the kids do more concrete work.  I ordered more workbook-type materials for Nathan that he is starting to dig into (and enjoy) and I think come January I will order a couple little things for Patrick.  Stuff like handwriting and spelling work really well in workbook form.  I think I just don't have the patience to manage it the other way.  Still sticking with a lot of books, especially for Nathan. 
From the kitchen...oh gosh, I have no idea.  Menu planning went out the window with the nausea thing.  It has turned into--what can mom stand to smell while it cooks tonight??  And some days, I'm really good and manage to throw something in the crockpot early on.  But then, that SMELL thing comes back to bite me sometimes...

I am exercise pants and a t-shirt.  My wardrobe is really limited right now.  Don't want to wear maternity clothes yet (I wore a maternity shirt to mass yesterday and I felt like it made me look huge. ugh).  Still have a few normal clothes that fit, but those will be filtered out here soon I'm sure.

I am creating...a baby.  'Nuff said.

I am going...nowhere I don't have to go.  Low and Slow is how we're rolling these days.  Of course, there will be Thanksgiving on Thursday at my SIL.  But other than that, no plans.

I am books and magazines.  I can't seem to focus on much.

I am hear the baby's heartbeat at my OB appointment tomorrow.

I am hearing...Liz and Nick playing under the table.  They dumped their oyster crackers and are now eating them off the floor because they are puppies.  Cute!  Good thing I just mopped that floor.....  :)

Around the house...well this weekend is the exciting switch over from fall-decor to Christmas decor.  Very exciting, I love it.  I'm thinking I will need to clear off our school counter to make room for the Jesse tree and place to keep the advent wreath when not in use (otherwise some little person will distribute candles around, I'm sure).  I also need to move the desks in the front room up to the loft or basement for the season.  I am trying to get caught up on cleaning that fell behind the last few weeks.

One of my favorite things...second floor laundry! No more toting baskets and baskets of laundry.

A few plans for the rest of the week... grocery shopping, Thanksgiving get-together, redecorating, maybe get a tree (we'll see), starting the Advent wreath and Jesse tree.  Love this time of year!

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Late-night deck helper!

Visit Peggy for more great daybooks!

November 16, 2010

Double Digits!

10 days old!

The big 1-0!  Ten!  It is absolutely amazing to think that you, Nathan, are ten.  We are so proud of you.  You have a zest for life and energy that is beautiful and hard to keep up with all at the same time.  You were our smallest baby at 6 lbs 3 oz (nearly 4 weeks early) and you indoctrinated us into parenthood.  You've taught us what it means to be self-less (and reminded us when we are selfish!) and you are our go-getter.  Always the one to get things done, our strong shoulders!  And yet, you have big emotions and are very sensitive to everything going on around you.  We have enjoyed growing with you these last 10 years and look forward as you grow into adulthood in the next ten.  We love you lots and lots!

10 years old!