Friday, December 6, 2013

My Daybook :: The First Week of Advent

Note: I meant to publish this post yesterday and didn't have a chance to finish uploading the photos before going out shopping with my mom all evening (before the snowstorm hit today)! I'll be back with a few pictures from today, but in the meantime -  Happy Feast of St. Nicholas!

Outside my window... It is COLD!  We have a "Winter Storm Watch" with a 100% chance of snow on Friday, the Feast of St. Nicholas!  It doesn't snow here very often so the children are all very excited!

I am thinking...        
about driving into town to pick up a few things, before the storm hits.  Hot Cocoa, whipping cream, cherries, and some Nutter Butters, plus a few other things just in case we lose power.

I am thankful... 
for our wood stove fireplace insert! It helps keep the house so warm and cozy.

Learning all the time... 
We are back to school this week following our Thanksgiving break... In the past we have tried to take all of Advent off of our formal schoolwork to focus on Advent and preparing our hearts for Christmas, however as the children get older it has gotten harder to take that long of a break during this time of the year.  If all goes as planned we will still be able to take a few weeks off beginning with the feast of St. Lucy on December 13th!  Now if we can push through the rest of this week and next....

Celebrating the liturgical year... 
as we always do during Advent!

Adding the Noah's Ark ornament to our original Jesse Tree
My "baby" is getting so big!

From the kitchen... 
I had a little helper making cookie dough the other morning!


It didn't take long for us to make quite a mess, but isn't my new can of baking powder cute!  I couldn't resist the pink and white can, even though I already had some in the cupboard.  ;) 


I am working on... 
praying for and doing extra special things for my "Christkindl!"



I am creating... 
St. Nicholas Coins for the feast.  I found the bag of Belgium Chocolate Coins at Costco, printed out the images, and quickly cut them out with a Fiskars Circle Punch!


I am going... 
to start wrapping some more Christmas gifts!  This and this arrived this week (I had pre-ordered them for the boys) and this* arrived for Bud (*just the figurines - at a great sale price!).  I don't know who is more excited about Christmas, me or the kids?!?  I can't wait to give them these gifts!

I am hoping... 
that I will find a new source for Advent candles that I love as much as the ones I always purchased from the Abbey... How I wish the monk would have been able to continue making these gorgeous candles.  My favorites were the round pillars, but this year we are using a set of square pillars I purchased a couple years ago (the very last set available in the gift shop) when I found out they wouldn't be carrying them any longer.  How hard is it to learn how to make candles? ;)



I am praying... 
Advent prayers each night with my family.  These few pictures were taken just after our wreath was blessed (by my husband, while I lit the first candle) and we prayed our St. Andrew Christmas Novena and Family Rosary on the First Sunday of Advent.




Each week of Advent my husband adds to our Nativity Scene.  This week it is very simple with just the stable and manger, Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, donkey, ox and a tree. 


I am reading... 
Come, Lord Jesus: Meditations on the Art of Waiting.

Pondering these words...
from Mother Teresa:

The season of Advent is like springtime in nature, when everything is renewed and so is fresh and healthy. Advent is also meant to do this to us–to refresh us and make us healthy, to be able to receive Christ in whatever form He may come to us.

I am listening...  
to Advent at Ephesus, Adventus (Tracks 1-5 for the First Week of Advent), and Legends of Nicholas.


Soon we will start listening to Mater EucharistiaeThe Story of Christmas (First songs including Ave Maria, Angelus, Breath of Heaven, and Magnificat...), the beautiful Mañanitas CD from Sister Servants, and Matins for the Virgin of Guadalupe for the upcoming feasts of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe!

I am also considering purchasing a copy of Voice of Joy, after reading Melody's recommendation!

Around the house... 
the Wise Men have been on the move each night, searching for Baby Jesus!  Our oldest two boys have been moving them after everyone else is in bed and having a blast... Here are the places they have been found the past few days.

If you are searching for Baby Jesus you might have to scale a wall... or at least a baby gate!
The Wise Men took shelter under the rosemary bush and noticed a beautiful fragrance.  (It is said that the rosemary's fragrance arose after Mary hung her linens to dry on its branches!) They also spotted "a star in the East!" and started climbing to get a better view!
"Okay!  Who spilled the beans? It looks like we aren't the only ones searching for Baby Jesus!"
After hearing so much about Noah on the 4th day of Advent, the Wise Men decided to stop by the Ark and say hello... If only they could get to the top without slip-sliding down all the rainbows! As for the camel, he's busy catching up with some old buddies!  (You can find Noah's Rainbow Race at Amazon or at Catholic Child.) 

One of my favorite things...  
watching the little ones take turns unwrapping the books from our Advent and Christmas Book Basket each night after our family prayers.  Last night it was Snuggles turn and he offered to let Rose help him.    I wish I would have videoed Bud unwrapping his book on Sunday night.  It is amazing that pulling wrapping paper off a picture book can bring so much joy and excitement to a child... And the fact that their daddy looks forward to reading the stories to them each night makes this tradition even better!


This week's plans...
  • Mrs. W tutoring on Thursday
  • Celebrate the feast of St. Nicholas!  Unfortunately with the snow storm we won't be able to make the drive for Friday morning Mass... 
  • Spend Saturday at home playing in the snow, assembling puzzles, and enjoying our time together as a family!
  • Mass for the Second Sunday of Advent

A little peek at my day...


These two were having so much fun with some leftover cookie dough.
(They choose to use the Mini Noah's Ark Cookie Cutters - so perfect for this week of Advent!) 

17 comments:

  1. Hi Jessica - Your blog posts are always a feast of ideas - thank you! Have you ever considered rolling your own Advent candles using sheets of beeswax? Super easy and fun, too!

    Blessings!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Kelly! Yes, I've considered kits like this one in the past, but we love to burn our candles for at least an hour each day, so the pillar candles are the most cost effective for our family...

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  2. Hi Jessica, we have made candles a lot (my husband made them growing up with his family) and they are easy to make, particularly pillar candles -- you just need the right mold to pour the wax into. And you don't need to buy a mold, you can use other things, even small size milk cartons! However, it is more expensive than you might think. Wax -- especially beeswax or soy wax -- is pricey, though paraffin is cheaper. What would be tricky with making advent candles though is the color. Getting a very bright color is difficult -- adding stuff to the wax, either colorants or scents (we have always used essential oils) is a balancing act because if you add too much, the candles won't burn properly. There is an art to making colored candles -- that's probably why it's so hard to find ones with such rich color that actually burn well! Anyway though, it's a fun project for kids, and worth doing, and if you like it enough you can try to make Advent candles next year. Be sure to pick up a cheap little stove top pot at Goodwill or something for melting the wax, because you really can't clean it all out and you don't want to ruin your good pots. You can then use the same pot for all wax crafts. We get all our stuff from a local store, but there are online places you can order from. One cute thing to do for gifts is teacup candles -- get some little, inexpensive teacups from Goodwill and put the wax and wick in them. You can make candles in eggshells, walnut shells, glass jars, so many things once you get started. We've never done dipped (for tapers) at home but we've done many pillars, votives, etc. We always buy advent candles though, go figure! Have fun!

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  3. Snow! We haven't had snow yet here in our part of Connecticut.

    My mom made candles for years. She found that old juice cans made the best molds for pillars. I always say I'm going to start making them, but have yet to do it. We had a chance to make dipped candles at Sturbridge Village last year (they have hands on activities for kids) and that is definitely harder than poured.

    We've been burning our candles for longer periods this year than last since we moved our Advent Wreath to our coffee table instead of the dining room. I think we'll have to invest in pillars next year!

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  4. It looks like your Advent is off to a beautiful, blessed start! The pictures are all wonderful but I especially love the one of the two unwrapping the book together - such a sweet and simple joy and so dear of them to do it together. And the shots of your menfolk in prayer is just beautiful -seeing the future of the church, those young boys on their knees like that, is very edifying. Sometimes we can feel so odd and alone in trying to live the Faith, and look, there's a family on the other side of the country looking so very similar, Scapulars hanging out, on their knees, candles lit. So beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Advent blessings to all of you.
    PS your Wise Men are fabulous! :-)

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  5. What a great start to Advent and yeah for snow! We are enjoying the winter weather as well, but with more ice than snow and for the first time in my life as a Catholic, I just found out Mass has been cancelled due to road conditions. At least we still have power! I always love your Daybooks, but especially this one!

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  6. Such beautiful, peaceful photos!! I always get the same bag of coins at Costco in Japan! I used your images to decorate ours again this year - I just love how they turn out. I really do need one of those circle cutter thingies, though, because I inevitably end up cutting them out painstakingly with scissors until very late the night before! Thank you so much for sharing your ideas - I hope you know how many moms you bless and encourage!!

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  7. Oh - I have to remember to look in Costco for the gold coins for St. Nicholas day next year. Had a moment myself last night where I went to get my little stash picked up from Trader Joe's weeks ago to set out for the kids - only to find that my 4 year old had been sneaking coins for weeks and putting the wrappers back in. LOL. He adores chocolate - and really can't resist it. So, the leftover Halloween candy hidden in the back of the freezer for gingerbread houses came into action. :-) I love your ideas - we wrapped up our books this year - although I was a bit short of the 24 - so we ordered a few of your suggestions! Thank you.

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  8. I totally understand regards Advent and academics. When my kids were all little we just focused on Advent but around the time they were your boys age we couldn't anymore. though we have a little this year being so late in pregnancy. and I was going to recommend Friar Alessandaro to you!! I've just been listening and listening to him on youtube, oh the JOY the intense joy on his face!!

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  9. This reminds me that I have that Legends of Saint Nicholas CD - somewhere!! I am so bad about losing CDs!

    I also love the photo of your boys praying, as Kimberlee said in a comment above - just absolutely beautiful. When you do your evening family rosary, do you typically pray the whole rosary together, or just a decade? We have been doing just a decade, and I wonder if you have any tips on moving to saying the whole thing with young children. My oldest is 8 and would do fine with the whole rosary, I think, but the 2 year old would of course just run around! I think first we need to set up a more prayerful place for it, light candles, etc.

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  10. My brother makes jarred candles, but I should see if he would be interested in making Advent candles. He could probably pay for his own small Christmas. His candles are beautiful.

    For the first time (duh!) I wish we could take Advent off, but Faith, too, has so much work to be done. We're cutting as much as we can. :-)

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  11. Love all those Advent pictures of your family! Thank you so much for your CD suggestions--I am eyeing some of them for the future...

    For candles, you might look at Twin Peaks Ambrosium. The owner is very nice and is willing to make custom candles, including solid beeswax ones. http://twinpeaksambrosium.com/

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  12. I love seeing those "sticks" out for keeping the dough thick enough when little hands are helping to roll the cookies!!! :) Everything looks so beautiful ... as it always does at your house - especially this time of the year! TOTALLY jealous of your snow, though!! We had a dusting of snow a while back... not enough to do much with. I. Love. Snow. Wishing I would have sent the wisemen on an adventure with "Bud" this year - he would have loved doing that. I think I will be hunting for a set to do that with. Love that idea!!! :)

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  13. Well, Jessica, another lovely Daybook. You do such a wonderful job of pulling it all together, and you make it look effortless! Happy Advent to you! +JMJ+

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  14. Your Advent Postings fill our family with Joy after each reading...God Bless you and your beautiful family..Continued Prayers of good wishes to all~~Ro

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  15. Jessica do you have any suggestions for books for a 13 yr old boy..sports related. Perphaps something inspirational
    Thanks
    Mary Pat

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    1. Sports related... Hmmm... What about the books by Fr. Francis Finn? Depending on the 13 year old, they might be slightly young for him. I think they are recommended for ages 10+... Tom Playfair is the first in the series, but it also includes books like That Football Game and Claude Lightfoot. They are also available directly from the publisher: Tan Books.

      A few of the books my boys will be receiving include: The Gate by Nancy Carabio Belanger, The Royal Ranger,The Haunted Cathedral, and The Fire of Eden. (None of them are really sports related...)

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