Thursday, December 24, 2015

2015 Christmas Video Card

We wanted to try something new this year and put our Funny Boys' video-making skills to use and create a Christmas Video Card.  The boys (Mario especially) worked hard on all of this, with only a few suggestions/ideas from Mom and Dad.


May God bless you abundantly this Christmas season and over the New Year too!!  

Homemade Prayer Calendars in 4 easy steps

Going on over 15 years now with this homemade Christmas/New Years gift-giving tradition for our families and close friends.  

It is truly the gift that keeps giving.  Wrapping the completed prayer calendar always seems like the easy part.  It looks so simple.  Just a plain old calendar with pre-printed dates and holidays, just waiting to be filled in with the receiver's events and activities for the upcoming year.  But turn the pages, and you'll notice something quite different....  a virtue and/or prayer intention and verses to go with it.  And our pledge to pray for the receiver daily throughout the year and focus on that monthly intention.

So, how do you make one of these?  Truly quite simple, until you get to steps #3 and #4.  They are the hardest parts.  


#1 - pick out and buy calendars.  I get a combination of bigger dayspring calendars and faith-based calendars.  For the faith-based calendars, I chose these Year of Mercy calendars and also Michele Quiqley's beautiful liturgical wall calendars

 #2 - pick out the virtues and prayer intentions to go with it.  You can even use this book to get you started.  It's already based on a virtue per month and has a different quote for each day.  This year, I used most of these virtues, but changed out a few.   I print them on sticker sheets, so all you have to do it cut and peel to place them on the calendar.  I used to use normal paper and glue sticks.  Oy!!  So glad I moved to the sticker sheets a few years ago.   Here are my choices for this year....

January – JOY
“A Christian is never bored or sad.  Rather, the one who loves Christ is full of JOY and radiates    JOY.”     ~Pope Francis

February – FAITH
“If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel   you believe, but yourself.”            ~St. Augustine

“The world admired only spectacular sacrifice; it does not realize the value of SACRIFICE that is hidden and silent.”                ~St. Josemaria Escriva

“It is not hard to OBEY when we love the one whom we obey”  ~St. Ignatius

“For GRACE is not given because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.”        ~St. Augustine

“PRAYER is the place of refuge for every worry, a foundation for cheerfulness, a source of constant happiness, a protection against sadness.”   ~St. John Crysostom

“Pride leads to disgrace, but with HUMILITY comes wisdom.”      ~Proverbs 11: 2

August -  CHARITY
“To love our neighbor in CHARITY is to love God in man.”              ~St. Francis de Sales

September – DILIGENCE
“How easily we could win heaven day by day just by doing what we have to do – but doing it for God!”    ~St. John Vianney

October – PATIENCE
 “Let nothing trouble you, let nothing make you afraid.  All things pass away.  God never changes.   PATIENCE obtains everything.  God alone is enough.”          ~St. Teresa of Avila

November – GRATITUDE
“The secret to happiness is to live moment by moment and to THANK God for what He is sending us every day in His goodness.”         ~St. Gianna Beretta Molla

December – PEACE    
“Do not be afraid to take a chance on PEACE, to teach PEACE, to live PEACE…  PEACE will be the last word of history.”               ~Pope Saint John Paul II

#3 - the assembly!!  Now I will not lie to you, this is super time-consuming.  You have to cut out all the verses and virtue/intentions.  Then you have to put these on the calendar for the appropriate month.  For me, it's times 13 this year!  But, you can kinda put them together "assembly line" style and do one month at a time.  I even put my kiddos to work!  They especially love the holiday sticker part!

#4 - PRAY!!  Yes, that's right, it's not called a "prayer calendar" for nothing.  You are pledging to pray for the receiver daily throughout the upcoming year.  We offer up these prayers during our family prayers at night.     DO.  NOT.  FORGET.  THIS.  STEP.  


And, if that's not enough, here's two options....
Option 1:  Pretty them up with holiday stickers.  We buy and use a variety of stickers and place them on the actual square for the holiday.  The kids especially love this part!!  
Option 2:  You can add in birthdays and Baptismal Anniversaries.  We do this for all our family members and Godparents of our children.  

So, there ya go!!  Simple, yet meaningful, with a whole lotta love and hard work and your prayers to top it off!  Makes a lovely Christmas or New Years gift for anyone on your list!!  

Monday, December 21, 2015

6 things we love about YOU!!!

Happy birthday to our sweet Pookey today!!  

We've been blessed to have you in our lives for SIX years now!!

There are so many many reasons why we love you, but here are SIX that stand out to us....

1 ~ that you play with me

2 ~ your smile and dimples

3 ~ you are a goofy and fun kid

4 ~  how rambunctious and full of energy you are but can sit still patiently enough to build lego's and put together puzzles

5 ~ how you are always willing and asking to help

6 ~ you are a mini me (from Fone) - how he has my brown eyes, likes video games, my squeaky voice, and has a lot of passion

We love you, buddy!!!!!!  

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.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wordless Wednesday (almost)

Am I the only one who does this when kids are NOT sick, just to be prepared IN CASE they start yacking?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

An Advent Litany - "Litany of the Word"

Our oldest girls have sang in our children's choir at church for over 5 years now.  They practice weekly and sing once a month.  It's such a blessing to see them grow more confident in this gift and give their all for Jesus as they sing. They are like little angels singing in a choir.  It's such a joyful noise to hear all the children raising their voices to Our Lord in song.

We were first introduced to this song a couple years ago, and the same day I heard it, I came home and had to google the lyrics.  It's became a favorite ever since.  An Advent Litany, "Litany of the Word", sang by 7 of our 8 young ones....

And, what does "maranatha" mean, you may ask?

**Definition - "An Aramaic expression occurring in St. Paul (I Corinthians 16:22) in the verse "If anyone does not love the Lord, a curse on him. Maran atha." The Christian Fathers understood the term to mean "Our Lord has come." But more probably it means what St. John has at the close of the New Testament, "Come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20)."

**"The Apostle Paul uses the Aramaic word maranatha only in 1 Corinthians 16.22.[1] This use indicates that Greek-speaking Christians borrowed this transliterated word from the early Aramaic-speaking Jewish Christians of Judea and Galilee and made it a part of their own liturgy. Its meaning is complex.[2] If parsed marana tha, it is a request and means “our Lord, come;” but if parsed maran atha, it is a confession and means “our Lord has come.”"

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Our Cast of Saints - 2015

Realized that I never posted about our All Saints Day celebrations from last month - doh!

So, here goes....

All 8 of our crew dressed up as saints and we went to our homeschool group's All Saints Day party.  I was kinda pulled in last minute and helped plan and lead the games.  Not so hard to do though with all the great ideas on the internet.  Things turned out fantastic - great turn out and the kids had a blast. It was such a fun party!

Fone (Saint Longinus)

Mario (Saint Stephen)

Melody (Our Lady of Snows) 
& Yoda (Baby Jesus)

Ariel (Saint Catherine of Alexandria)

Max (Saint Joseph)

Pookey (Saint Wenceslaus)

Rose (Saint Zita) 

~~ St. John Bosco's juggling ~~

~~ Saint Nicholas coin toss ~~

~~ Musical Saints ~~

~~ Blessed Fra Angelica's Art Studio ~~

~~ Saint Anthony's Treasure Bottles ~~

~~ Saint Cecilia's Guess That Tune ~~ 

~~ Pin the Halo on the Angel ~~

 How blessed we are to have the saints' example, love and intercession and the beauty of our faith to remind us to celebrate their lives!!

++Thank you, God!!!++

Sunday, November 22, 2015

"The Show Must Go On"


Yesterday we woke up to almost 10 inches of snow on the ground.  It was the first snowfall of the season, so it hit all of us in the area REAL fast.  I had to get out and size boots for all these young ones.  Put away all our ball caps and bonnets and replace them with scarves, snow hats, gloves, and snow pants. And, of course, they can't wait to get outside to play and help clear the drive.  So thankful, my big boys actually do an amazing job of clearing the drive!!  The others just "help".  ;)

And, how inconvenient that it came on the day when we all had to be up, dressed, fed, and out the door to be over at our local children's theatre by 9:30am, which at that time, it was still snowing and the roads were in terrible shape.  I was really really really hoping that it would be delayed or rescheduled.  But it wasn't. With 260 kids performing that day, it was nearly impossible to reschedule the day.  So, as the saying goes - "The Show Must Go On"!  And, it was going to!  We had to get our little actors and and actresses to their performances.  Not wanting to chance being out in Big Red with the shape the roads were in and were only going to get worse, I sadly stayed home with the kids who were NOT in the morning showcase performance.  And, Neil braved the roads with our performers in tow.  Thank God Neil was able to record the performance, so at least I got see my Mama Sheep (Ariel) and Monkey (Max) perform.

Then that evening, the snow had ceased, roads were so much better, so we all made it to the performance of our two oldest boys.  Mario was the host, and Fone was the last contestant.  And, the rest of the boys are homeschooling friends of theirs.

This theater thing and interest is still so foreign to me.  Even with Hansel and Gretel performance in October and all the showcase performances that these young ones have taken part in, I'm still in awe at how our kids love to be up on stage and have the confidence to memorize all those lines and act.  So so thankful though!!!  It's such a great experience for them!

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