Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas - 2014

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!!

Jesus is born!!


Twelve Days of Christmas basket and ideas

Yesterday was Christmas Day and the first day of Christmas!  So, chronologically, that makes today the second day of Christmas!!  Keep on celebrating!

For the past several years, we have celebrated each of the twelve days by singing the song, doing the motions (you cannot forget to do those!!), and reading what each day symbolizes in our faith.  We had a grand celebration and dinner at the end of the twelve days, with food items to go with each day's theme.  It was always so much fun to see what they remembered at the end of the Twelve Days, not only the fun gift but also the spiritual gift symbolized.

When we drew names for my family's Christmas to swap gifts, I asked my sister if they would like a Twelve Days of Christmas themed basket.  When she said "yes", I was so excited to share this beautiful tradition of ours and to put it together.  As I was buying gifts for their basket, I thought some of the items would be great for our own family.  So when my sister-in-law asked for ideas our family, I told her a Twelve Days basket would be great for us too.  It's so nice when it works out so beautifully that way - many of the same gifts we bought and gave away, we received for our own family!   :)

Here is a look at what we put in the Twelve Days of Christmas themed basket and how we packaged it...

Items for each of the twelve days 
(we wrapped each of these in brown paper and labeled them with their day number and the date it could be opened)

(a partridge in a PEAR tree) 

 (two turtle DOVES)

 (chicken noodle soup for the three French HENS)

 (bugles look like megaphones to represent the CALLING birds and four evangelists proclaiming the Good News)

 (five RING pops --- yeah, these are skeleton ring pops....   we forgot to get these out and give them away at Halloween time, but remembered them for when we needed RING pops at Christmas time- lol!)

(silly putty EGGS for the six geese-a-laying)

(a fun game with a SWIMMING Nemo on it to help us remember the seven swans-a-SWIMMING)

(goat's MILK soap and MILK MAIDS caramels)

(a pirourette is a ballet DANCE move) 

(These chips look like little crowns and the LORDS-a-leaping are kings and all kings wear crowns.  We put a note on this item to save and eat it with day 11's item.)

(salsa is a PIPING hot dip) 

(bongos = DRUMS)

Jesse Tree Treasures on Etsy created and sells a beautiful set of ornaments to hang on your tree on each of the days.  

You have to include some beautiful picture books, right?  

Here is a beautiful puzzle and you have twelve days to complete it as a family!

We made this lapbook many years ago and it has been THE staple to help us remember the symbolization of each day, so we made up another one for the gift basket.  

Throw it all in a laundry basket (I am way too practical - who can have enough laundry baskets??) and top it off with a soft velvety blanket (you can never have too many blankets!), and VIOLA, there you have a fun and faith-filled Twelve Days of Christmas basket!!

Want a printable for the kids to color and keep track of each day as you celebrate it??  Seton Magazine shared one this morning - how convenient!!  Isn't it beautiful!  

Have a blessed Twelve Days of Christmas and keep on celebrating!!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

5 things we love about you...

#1- how you are always wanting to help   

#2-  how you are so much like your biggest brother - you have his big brown eyes, his contagious laugh, and are intense like him

#3-  your cute smile with your dimples!!!  

#4-  your positive attitude (especially that you love to do school!)

#5-  your cute squeaky/growly voice 

(how lucky you are to not only have 5 candles today - but you get 4 extra candles with you having an Advent birthday and it being the 4th week of Advent!!)

Loving God, you created all the people of the world and you know each of us by name. We thank you for "Pookey", who is celebrating his birthday today. 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.

Friday, December 19, 2014

7 quick takes - a week in review

Christmas is coming!!!  Only one more week!!

#1 - Last week we celebrated two Mexican feasts in our domestic church - Saint Juan Diego and Our Lady Guadalupe!!  Easy kid friendly Mexican food was served both days.  How great it is to be Catholic and having so many reasons to celebrate!!
++Saint Juan Diego and Our Lady Guadalupe, pray for us!!++

#2 - Neil and our big boys got to test out those cool new guns that Saint Nicholas brought them.  Fone was extra prepared and had 4, yes FOUR, pairs of pants on for cushion.  Such a goofey kid!!  I don't know who had more fun - the three of them running around the yard or the little kids and I on the inside running around from window to window to watch the air soft wars.  

#3 - We celebrated another special saint on Saturday and surprised the kids with our plans....  After Mass, we grabbed a bite to eat and had a "picnic" in the van and drove around our area to see all the beautiful Christmas lights.  Thank God for Facebook and my wonderful friends who offered all the suggestions on where to go.  Our favorites were a house that had a light show set to all the Frozen songs and another house that had hundreds of blow up decorations.  What a fun way to celebrate the patron of LIGHT!!
++Saint Lucy, pray for us!!++

#4 - The big girls and I treated ourselves to a fun brunch and show at a local dinner theater.  We went with a good friend and her two oldest daughters.  Twas the Night Before Christmas was showing and we were all happy with both the performance and the delicious food!  

#5 - Christmas caroling on Sunday in the town where I grew up!!  Neil took the 4 big kids out while I stayed back at the church hall with the 4 littles - you gotta do what works, eh?   Taking a toddler and a baby outside this time of year doesn't work too well, and Pookey and Mark were not too thrilled wandering around outside in the dark either.  After the caroling bunch was done, we all shared and enjoyed cookies and hot chocolate at the hall!!    (It was a jam-packed weekend of fun, family, food, and faith!!)

#6 - This beauty of ours celebrated her second Baptismal anniversary as well.  Keep shining His light sweet Rose!!  

#7 - Christmas is coming, right?  And we all know who that special day is about?  Santa?  NO!  (St. Nicholas comes to our house weeks earlier to allow the focus on Who it should be on Christmas). Me?  NO?  (It's definitely not about me, myself and I and what I get, although the Who is actually a gift for us all.  We don't buy our kids any Christmas gifts for THE Gift has already been given). It is about Our Heavenly Father sending Love down to us all to be with us in a very real way.  It is about a Baby who is the One who will save us all!  Ah yes, Jesus, the Messiah, born on Christmas Day - THE best gift of all!!  Still waiting and still preparing!!  It's almost here!!!

For more quick takes, click on the image below....

Feast of St. Nicholas - 2014

A couple Saturday's ago, the kids awoke to full stockings, toys, games, books and more from jolly ole Saint Nicholas!

What a blessing that he comes to our kids on his feast day rather than on Christmas, so that the focus is on Jesus instead of "me, me, me" on His special day.  Makes for a more peaceful and meaningful Advent in our home as well.

Some of the favorites this year were....
air soft guns for the big boys
a cool Hobbit lego set for Fone
an electric guitar for Mario
barbies and girl dart guns for Melody and Ariel
a beautiful castle and new playmobil's for the littles to share
fuzzy big foot slippers and remote control cars for Max and Pookey
baby bottles and a leap pad for Rose
new jammies for all 8 kids
sleepers and a sling for baby Yoda

Phew!  That was a lot to list - guess Saint Nicholas thought our kids were good this year!!  

++St. Nicholas, thank you for your intercession and generosity to all children.  Please pray for us that we may be loving and generous like you and that we may always grow closer to Our Lord!++
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