Thursday, May 28, 2015

Prepare The Way

November 30, 2014
 Advent begins today! I love this time more and more each year as I turn my focus to teaching my children the importance of the season. December and the entire holiday season can be so very stressful. I used to survive the whole season, and feel like I could breathe again when it was over. That is a terrible way to move into the time of preparation for our Saviors birth. These past few years, as I have made more of an effort to teach my girls more about the season I have learned more myself, and have a renewed love for the season. Funny how that works! Here is the plan for this Advent...

In addition to some of the things we implemented the past couple of years I have a few new ideas this year. I never was able to find the wooden Journey to Bethlehem statue I had been looking for to match my Nativity set, so I just finally decided to purchase this one.  

It just arrived yesterday! I am so happy to have this! Now I can see Mary and Joseph on their way instead of looking at them adoring an empty manger!!

We will once again count down with our Advent basket, but this year I have lowered my expectations based on last year’s reality check! I am using some of the same books as last year, but have also added these to the collection:
(There are NO affiliate links in this post!)

And these awesome new books I just discovered from Liguori. They are great little books!

In an effort to cure the focus on “Me, myself and I” this year we plan to take the family to purchase some things to bring to a homeless shelter and deliver them together. I hope this will help the kids to think about the needs of others vs. their own wants.

We always did the Santa thing with the first three kids, but my fourth really didn’t care for it. She would get so nervous about some man coming into our home at night while we slept. (Even if it was Santa!!)  It was so upsetting to her it just wasn’t worth continuing the tradition. To be honest it was a bit of a relief to be finished with that, as I was always torn about whether that took the focus off the real reason for the day. When my youngest came along four years ago we just decided to not start that up again. She has never cared. But now she has started to ask about Santa. At first I was torn but then when I thought about it I just decided to fix this dilemma with a bigger observance of the feast of Saint Nicholas. We had friends years ago that gave their children their Christmas stockings on December 6th, in honor of Saint Nicholas, instead of Christmas morning. I love this idea and have decided to try this out this year. The girls will wake up to find their stockings on the feast of St. Nicholas. The stockings will be filled with a few meaningful gifts instead of just typical little stocking stuffers.  And of course a little chocolate! I am hoping this will put the focus on the right people at the right times; Saint Nicholas on his feast day and Jesus on Christmas.

I have really wanted to teach the girls more about the liturgical seasons. I have been working toward the kickoff lesson being the first Sunday of Advent since this is the beginning of the liturgical year. Many years ago a friend showed me her Atrium for her Catechesis of The Good Shepherd class. I loved the whole thing, but what really struck me were the miniature liturgical vestments. I thought it was such a great way to show children the different seasons. Those Liturgical Calendars can be confusing for a little one! I have since discovered that many people create these miniature vestments to use at home with their kids. Unfortunately I could not find any to purchase. I cannot sew well, but decided to take this on! I found quite a few to choose from to base mine off of. I am keeping these things simple!! I printed the pattern for the chasuble from this site. I printed it at 75% and it was the perfect size. 

 How do you like my template? Amateur sewing at its best!!

I decided to go with the cross idea from this site as a stand for the vestments.

 Here is the first one! 

Not too bad for an amateur! I still need to finish the others. I also forgot to purchase rose colored fabric, so for the rose vestment I had to do it the old-fashioned way!  I cooked down some cranberries and strained them. 

Then soaked the white fabric in it for a few minutes. 

The color turned out really nicely. 

From the same website I found the pattern on, I really loved how she had pictures for each part of the priests clothing with an explanation of each piece. So I created some cards using the images and the explanation and prayer. I then printed and laminated them and put them together on a ring.

Here are a few of the cards close up

Lacy over at Catholic Icing has an awesome printable liturgical wheel for only $2-! I have printed and laminated this to use with the girls. Michelle Quigley has a more traditional printable Liturgical Calendar here

In my search for all of this liturgical goodness I found this website. I think I will purchase some things from here in the future. They seem to have many great printables to use in teaching about our faith.

I am very excited to now have Mary of Nazareth and The Nativity Story in our collection! I can’t wait to watch them as a family.

This Advent is a shorter one and we have many things on our calendar so I don’t know that we’ll be able to celebrate any more feast days throughout the month, but my little one has a serious devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe so we may need to do a little something on her feast day. 

Father Barron's Lenten reflections were such a big hit he is offering Advent reflections too. You can sign up here

I also wanted to share the beautiful artwork of Nellie Edwards. Her work touches my heart. We are so happy to have some of her prints in our home. A few favorites are:

 Mother of Life
 Sacred Communion

 You can find these and more of Nellie's beautiful work here.

 Praying you have a very blessed Advent,

Linked up with Catholic Bloggers Network Advent Link 2014

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