"Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy will." ~ Luke 1:38

Friday, December 27, 2013

~ Twelve Days of Christmas 2013: Gingerbread Cookies ~

The only thing better than gingerbread cookies, are nativity gingerbread cookies.  Or certain gingerbread girl cookies.

Butterfly and Little Lamb have really been baking up a variety of wonderful cookies this Christmas season.  I'm just the clean up crew...and the taste tester.  And that is just fine by me.

Years ago we made a Gingerbread Nativity & Manger and we placed these gingerbread cookies along side.  Wilton sold a Nativity kit...sadly, they no longer sell the kit.

Here are some wonderful ideas for DIY Gingerbread Nativity Scenes:

Mangers instead of gingerbread houses!  love this idea!
This one is over the top:

"Away in a Manger" by MJ D. and Barb E. (Standout Execution)
Remember, you can keep it simple and sweet.  We did.  :o)

~ Twelve Days of Christmas: Days I, II & III ~

On the first day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
A Partridge in a Pear Tree
"My true love" refers to God

I mentioned in this post, last year, how we celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas with gifts (in addition to special activities).   One gift for each day. 
New ornament for the Christmas tree

We began by opening our stockings on Christmas Eve, after the Vigil Mass and before Midnight Mass.  It was a Mass Marathon.  :o)
Actually, I missed both my girls singing in the choir at the Vigil Mass...Little Lamb was running a fever.  So I attended the Midnight Mass with my son (he wanted to serve both).

Then on Sunday morning, before the later Mass, we sat around and opened the first set of gifts while enjoying some homemade baked goods.

We started out with a 'community' gift, rather than individual gifts. 
I had wrapped several gifts that the family could enjoy over the Christmas Holydays. 

The Civil War 1000 piece puzzle, and the Ronald Reagan CD & DVD I had purchased during our summer family vacation.  The variety of books were purchased from our local Catholic store to add to our (leisure reading) library. 
We had the traditional gingerbread house to work on during the Christmas holydays.

Past Christmas gift

I was the happy recipient of beautiful Twelve Days of Christmas ornaments.  I thought I would re-purpose our Advent Jesse Tree (thankfully I haven't had time to store it back in the garage...way up top). 

We are enjoying listening to Christmas music, feasting, sitting around a lit Christmas tree.  :o)

Taking walks, sipping hot chocolate, watching movies, reading, and working on this...

And this...

Christmas 2013

The “three French hens” represent the Three Persons in God.

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The “two turtle doves” represent the two natures in Jesus: human and divine; also, the two Testaments, Old and New.

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The “partridge” is Jesus himself, and the “pear tree” is the Cross.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

~ Merry Christmas 2013 ~

Just after Midnight Mass...
A Blessed Christmastide
filled with His Joy
His Peace
His Love

Monday, December 23, 2013

~ Bearing Gifts ~

Keeping it simple, however, things get hairy at times.

Recognizing baby Jesus as the Messiah, the Three Kings traveled thousands of miles to worship Him.

They were persistent.  Following a star that would lead them to the Holy Babe.

Guided by a wondrous star, the magi doggedly sought the Light.

Carrying their gifts of great symbolism, they doggedly pushed forward.

Gold for a king.
Incense for a priest.
Myrrh, used to anoint the dead. 

Drom relies on straw (in more ways than one) to give him strength and stamina

Quite the expedition.

The star is leading them to Bethlehem.  In Hebrew, Bethlehem means House of Bread.  Hmmm.

They were from the East. 

They were, the Magi.

Stopping a bit from the treacherous journey,
they leave an impression in some places.
When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect Light.

View previous travel days here and here

Catholic Inspired
Joining Catholic Inspired
Wise Men ADVENTURE Link-Up

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Advent Activities: {p,h,f,r,} Style

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter
Cookie Exchange and Rosary Night...
Youth Group Retreat...
Wise Men ADVENTures...continue...
Parish Retreat for our CCD Program
We are finding much happiness in our Advent preparation.
Go to Like Mother, Like Daughter to find more contentment...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

~ Our Lady of Guadalupe ~

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars”
~ Revelation 12:1 
Isn't she lovely?
I just love her.  The Patroness of the Americas.  This is the only apparition where Our Lady left an actual picture of herself! 
On December 12, 1531, her image was imprinted on the tilma (or cloak) of St. Juan Diego.  Now, nearly 500 years later, it is still perfectly preserved!
A miracle?
And so many interesting scientific discoveries surrounding this image...
Go ahead, search it.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!
“Listen and let it penetrate your heart…do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?”
~* ~ Our Lady’s words to her servant Juan Diego ~*~

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

~ Westward leading, still proceeding ~

And so, the ADVENTures of the Wise Men continue...

Conferring with the kings & queens of different lands...
While the kings & queens exchange pleasantries,
the camel is weary and confides in the horse
We are looking for thy perfect Light...have you seen Him?
Day Four is spent on higher ground, making it easier to survey the land and seas...

Onward they travel...
Little do they know the potential danger of where they now stand.  Thankfully they are on their way before the "towers" catch fire!

The camelus dromedaries is found eating holly...they are famished.  Drom, as the camel is now called, is having a rough go...but he valiantly pushed forward.  As do the three wise men.

Wonder!  Is this the Mediterranean Sea?  Or the Sea of Galilee?  Or could it be...the Dead Sea?  Dun-dun-Duuuun!!!!

Stay tuned for more ADVENTures as the Wise Men search for the Truth...

Joining Jennifer over at Catholic Inspired for the FUN AND FABULOUS


Sunday, December 8, 2013

~ St. Nicholas ~

As our Homeschool Group's First Friday Mass Coordinator, I thought it would be fun to celebrate the feast of St. Nicholas, who is the patron saint of children, with a festive flare.

So I visited this website and came up with some fun activities to help celebrate the occasion.

Some of the activities included:

St. Nicholas Coin Toss
Chocolate St. Nicholas craft
Nutter Butter St. Nicholas Cookie Decorating
St. Nicholas Guessing Game (adapted from Catholic Inspired)
Apple St. Nicholas
St. Nicholas roll-up
Coloring Table of St. Nicholas, St. Lucia & Our Lady of Guadalupe
St. Nicholas Story Time

St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, carried a crozier to be a shepherd for his people.
Guess how many candy-cane “croziers’ are in the jar?
A hooked staff carried by a bishop; represents a shepherd's staff as the bishop is to be the shepherd of the people, as Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Again, a crozier is a general symbol for bishops, but unique to Nicholas among gift-givers.

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Life saver
for children
St. Nicholas, is a “Life saver”; he saved 3 children from the wicked inn keeper.
Guess how many “life savers’ are in the jar?

Show Nicholas as the protector of children, from the story rescuing young children or students from the evil butcher or innkeeper. Usually three children are in the tub, but sometimes only two are present.

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when sailors were in a ‘crunch’, as the angry seas tossed their ship about for 2 days; good st. Nicholas prayed, bringing them safely to the harbor of myra.

Guess how many “crunches” are in the jar?
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quick fact:  another st. Nicholas, st. Nicholas of tolentino, is know as a patron saint of animals. A studious, kind and gentle youth, at the age of 16 Nicholas became an Augustinian Friar.
Guess how many “animal cracker cookies” are in the jar?

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the fish in the sea swam in the angry seas that tossed the sailors about, before st. Nicholas brought the boat to safety.
Guess how many “swedish fish” are in the jar?
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st. Nicholas gave of his own ‘coins’ to help 3 young maidens pay for their dowry, sparing their lives from slavery.

Guess how many “coins” are in the jar?
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Advent is a time to reflect on the lord's coming.
December holds many opportunities to learn about him,
to know him,
through his saints and through his mother.
~ advent ~
Preparing our souls to receive Christ worthily.

Linking up to Equipping Catholic Families Saints Cele-Linky
Catholic Bloggers Network
~+~ Homeschooling & Liturgical Calendar ~+~