First Sunday of Advent

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. It marks the start of the new liturgical year. This year we will again be following the Holy Heroes Advent Adventure.

This is a fun way to help learn about our Catholic Faith and the true meaning of Christmas. I have also made an Advent Calendar, well actually Advent Chain, which has activities the family will do throughout Advent. Things like writing the Christmas cards, baking cookies, and serving at the Sharing Table as a family.

We will be making a bed for the Baby Jesus. This is an empty manger into which we put pieces of “straw” (yellow and brown yarn) based on the number of good deeds or sacrifices the children make through out the day. The idea is to have a soft, fluffy bed for the Infant Jesus on Christmas Eve because the children have been showing compassion and a servant’s heart for everyone in the family and others outside the family.

We light the Advent Wreath and have a little devotional before dinner and have at least one family night a week. This includes things like a favorite family dinners, watching family favorite holiday movie or even a game night. In this hurried time of year, I think it is a good thing to try to slow down, connect as a family and enjoy each other.

What are some of your family’s Advent traditions?

Pax Christi,

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Silly Saturday

Today we are going to be decorating the house for Christmas. We like to enjoy the lights and the decorations for as long as possible, so we put up our decorations the weekend after Thanksgiving. Richard actually put the outside lights up last weekend since we had perfect weather for it.  Which is unusual for mid-November around here.

So we will be putting up the Christmas tree, the indoor lights and some of the lighted Christmas houses. When we replaced our 20 year old TV, we had to get a new TV stand, the old entertainment unit which used to hold our houses, was relieved of duty. We now have two little tables on which to display the houses. So this year all of us will pick and chose our favorite ones to display.

After the decorating is all done, we will sit down and watch some more of the classic Christmas shows. I might even make some hot chocolate to go with some freshly baked sugar cookies. Those are always special treats around here.

What are some your family’s favorite Christmas decorations?

Pax Christi,

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Thanksgiving Eve

Today is a prep day around the house for tomorrow. We are making pumpkin and apple pies. Probably three of each type. That way they can be refrigerated. We like to eat our pies cold. I know. We are weird. I have heard that quite often in the past few years about many things. So you saying we are weird because we like cold pie won’t phase me.

We will make the rolls that we will be eating. My family LOVES rolls. To make sure I have enough I will make them today, then I can just pop them in the oven to warm them up tomorrow.

I will also mix up the stuffing and get that ready to go for the morning. It doesn’t take us long since I use the Pepperidge Farms Seasoned Bread, but why worry about getting up crack of dawn early to make sure everything is done.

I will mix up a traditional green bean casserole or two, or three. My family loves this and I do not make it often. They will also head to the fridge to await cooking tomorrow.

The sweet potato casserole will be put together too. One less thing to have to do on the actual day. I only make one of these since only a few people like to eat the entire thing, most of them just like the browned marshmallows on top.

I will make sure the turkey is defrosted and ready to go into the oven in the morning. I will even make sure to take out the bag ‘o guts. My sister-in-law forgot about them the first time she made a turkey and was horribly embarrassed at the time. We joke about it now.

I will use that bag o’ guts to flavor the broth to make the gravy, which I may or may not start today. It will depend on how much I can get done and how much stove and refrigerator space I have available.

My mom used to make all the Thanksgiving food items and put them in the garage on the top of the huge chest freezer. That garage was like a walk in refrigerator in the winter, so it made life easier around the holidays. I wish I had a garage like she has.

All that will remain to do tomorrow is cook the bird, make the mashed potatoes, bake the green bean and sweet potato casseroles, and reheat the rolls.  I think all the day before prep, makes for a much easier Thanksgiving Day for my family. We can all sit together and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and them move onto some Christmas videos. Yes Christmas videos.  Things like Rudolph and Frosty. We all know the Christmas season starts after Santa arrives at the end of the parade. So that is when start to watch our favorite Christmas shows.

What are some of your Thanksgiving family traditions?

Pax Christi,

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

In a Pickle

Have you ever heard of the German Tradition of hiding a pickle ornament in the branches of the Christmas tree? I grew up with a pickle in our house. Of course my grandmother was considered a 1st generation American. If you would like to own your own pickle, head on over to Olivia and Me and enter her drawing for a free pickle.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

We are Finished Shopping for the Children. YEAH!

Yeah! We gave completed a major milestone. The Christmas shopping for the children is completed. Doing the happy dance! All done. All nine done. WAHOO!!!! And we did it under budget too. I have to also add I am done with Richard’s shopping. I guess I should give him a list for me so he can get the same feeling. LOL

Now that we are finished with the shopping I get to do my least favorite thing — wrap. I cheat and don’t use bows. The cats always take them off anyway so why bother.

Back when we lived in Glen Burnie one of my dearest friends and I used to hold a present wrapping night. We would turn on Christmas carols, make hot chocolate, get the scissors and tape and the spend the evening wrapping all of our presents. Depending on the number of presents, we would take about 3 to 4 hours and get them all done. Now that we have moved away from that area, we don’t do that anymore. I find that I am missing it. I will have to call her and see if she would like to do a wrapping afternoon instead. 🙂

Now all I have to shop for are my in-laws, and a niece and two nephews and we are done with the shopping. Since the niece and nephews live out of town, I may just get gift cards for the younger two and a pre-paid Visa for the 13 year old.

For the children’s teachers I make a cinnamon streusal bread. I will make those the week before the children go out on their break. My daughters have bought the presents for their friends too, so once they are wrapped they are also done.

The only other thing to do is bake the Christmas cookies. We will do that starting next weekend.