Sunday, December 29, 2013

Spreading a little Christmas Cheer

"The best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear."  ~Buddy, the elf

A few days before Christmas, we gathered a large group to carol at my Grandma's nursing home.  I made up about 20 song packets for everyone to use, and we wandered up and down the halls and even bopped into some rooms.  It was such a blessing to bring some Christmas cheer to many people who are forgotten about not only on holidays, but throughout the year.  It it always a grace-filled experience when we go to the nursing home, and I know the love which we give out is multiplied in what we receive!

"Go Tell it on the Mountain"

 "Deck the Halls"

"Away in a Manger"

"Jingle Bells"

"Angels We Have Heard On High"

"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"

My beautiful grandma!!!  

"O Christmas Tree"

"Silent Night"

"Good King Wenceslaus"

"Hark!  The Herald Angels Sing"

**I searched and searched online, and had a hard time finding a songbook that I liked.  If you would like the file I created, just leave a comment with your email and I'd be happy to send it on to you!!  Maybe someday I'll figure out how to share documents online.  

Wassail - a perfect drink to celebrate the New Year!!

The last two years, my brother-in-law has brought wassail to the holidays to share, and we have became hooked!!  We love warm drinks already in our family (hot chocolate, coffee, hot tea) and now we have another hot drink to add to the list.  

Love and joy come to you,

And to you your wassail, too,

And God bless you, and send you
A Happy New Year,
And God send you a Happy New Year.

Recipe for Wassail (we actually double this and fill the crockpot for our large crew!)
Apple Cider - 1/2 gallon
Orange Juice - 2 cups
Lemon Juice - 1/2 cup
Cloves - 1 teaspoon (or 12 cloves)
Cinnamon Sticks - 4 sticks
Ginger - pinch
Nutmeg - pinch

**Measure, mix and heat in the crockpot til warm (3-4 hours)

And now a cute video of the song and some lyrics for you!  Sing away!!!  :)  


**here's a little history on the carol as well**

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Fourth week of Advent

Today we lit the fourth candle in our dvent wreath, traditionally known as the "love" candle.  And, Christmas is only three days away!!

"We're so close!  The last purple candle might not even have a chance to burn more than a couple of days.  As we anticipate Christmas, let's feel the love even deeper that this special birth means for us.  God loved us so much he sent his Son, and he sends him again every single year.  Light this candle and know of the love of God."
                     (from our Advent Devotional - Welcome Baby Jesus)

Since we are close enough to Christmas, we also put up our tree, although we will wait for the ornaments until Christmas Eve.  However, the kids put the snowballs that St. Nicholas brought into the tree to make it look a little prettier!  It looks lovely!   And, those snowballs are the coolest thing - they don't freeze your hands and they actually have a slight "crunch" feel like snow.  Super cool!!  :)

As another celebration since we are so close to Christmas is family movie night watching one of our favorite Christmas movies and dinner in the living room.   Such a treat!!

May God bless you all as you continue to prepare the way of the Lord!!

Look who is 4!

Pookey is now four and a little one we still adore.

He is silly and goofey.

And we will love him forevermore!  

Loving God, you created all the people of the world and you know each of us by name. We thank you for "Pookey", who just celebrated his birthday. Bless him with your love and friendship that he may grow in wisdom, knowledge, and grace. May he love his family always and be faithful to his friends. Amen. 

School pics 2013

We had pictures taken last month and I am SO happy how they turned out!  I guess I should expect that from a bunch of cute kids though, huh?  (just a tad biased, eh??)

**Fone - 12 years old - 7th grade**

**Mario - 10 years old - 5th grade**

**Melody - 9 years old - 4th grade**

**Ariel - 7 years old - 2nd grade**

**Max - 5 years old - kindergarten**

**Pookey - 4 years old - pre-school**

**Rose - 1 year old - pre-pre-pre-school**

++Thank you, God, for these beautiful children who call me "mom".  You have given them to me and appointed me to the best job in the world, in leading them closer to You.  Please help me be the best mother I can be to them, and bless them every moment of their lives.++

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Welcome, Jesus!!

We had lovely Thanksgiving celebrations with both sides of the family last Thursday and Friday.  Great food, great fun, but even more importantly, a great family to celebrate with and thank God for!!  Have I shared how blessed we are to have both sets of parents, all siblings, and all our nieces and nephews within 15 minutes from us??  Then on Saturday, our sweet Melody was able to attend a Handmaiden Retreat with the Apostolic Sisters of St. John!  Wow - again, how blessed we are to have such a beautiful community of Religious so close!  Then, to end the weekend on the best possible note, Ariel was able to receive Jesus for the very first time.  And to double the fun and blessing, her cousin was able to celebrate and receive her First Holy Communion at the same time! 

Our two oldest boys, Fone and Mario, served at Mass, with their cousin and it was the first time their cousin served at our church and the first (of many!) that all 3 boys served together.  I was one proud momma, although I was a tad nervous that those boys would be a bit comfortable up on the altar and goof off.  They were perfect though!!  :)

Here are some more pictures after the First Holy Communion and the party we had...

I remembered that we had to make a banner less than a week before her FHC.  A quick trip to Hobby Lobby and using some patterns and ideas online - viola!!  It turned out lovely - Ariel did a great job!!!  (we will no longer be buying the banner kits, as this was easy peasy and allowed for more freedom)

the whole crew

Ariel and Father Paul

Ariel and her Godmother

"What has passed our lips as food, O Lord, may we possess in purity of heart, that what is given to us in time, be our healing for eternity. May Your Body, O Lord, which I have eaten, and Your Blood which I have drunk, cleave to my very soul, and grant that no trace of sin be found in me, whom these pure and holy mysteries have renewed. Who live and reign, world without end. Amen. We humbly beseech You, almighty god, to grant that those whom You refresh with Your sacraments, may serve you worthily by a life well pleasing to You. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns, world without end. Amen."

(found here)

Hmmmm, is this going to work??

I was uploading some pics to Google Photos and noticed that in my most recent album, there was snow falling in one of my pictures - actually from my last post.  So, just trying to see if this is going to work on the blog......  "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!!!"
Gotta love Google animation!!!!!!!!!!!!    :)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, December 9, 2013

Signs of Advent

We are now in our second week of Advent and are in the midst of this beautiful time of preparation for the birth of Christ.  Here is a peek into our home and all the "signs of Advent"....

(I love how it takes votives, which are so easy to find, and I can easily change out the scents.  I found the above link on amazon, but bought ours from our local Religious Supply company many years ago)

THE song
We sing this every time we light our wreath.  
 (thanks to Elizabeth Foss for sharing it years ago)

Our Jesse Tree and new ornaments

Advent devotionals 
(we have also used Jotham's Journey and Destination: Bethlehem in the past.  Both are wonderful - we just like to switch things up a bit.)

 Advent Lego calendar
(there are so many to choose from!)

Baby Jesus missing from our Nativity sets
(one is the Playmobil set and the other is an Isabel Bloom.  My wonderful husband gave me once piece each year for until I had the whole Isabel Bloom set!  I treasure this set!!)

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