Tuesday, November 30, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday-PEACE and No Ordinary Blog Hop!

I give Joy to the World when I continually strive to create peace in my heart and home this Christmas season and always!

Lynda, Anna-Marie, and myself are giving Joy to the World when one blessed blogger will receive a $30 Target gift card from our "No Ordinary Blog Hop" giveaway!  Just click on the button below for more details on how you can join this fun blog hop throughout December and try to win a Target gift card at the same time.  Hurry! The last day to enter the giveaway is on Dec. 10th, but you can continue to link your blog hop posts until the end of December!  

Monday, November 29, 2010

Advent Adventure with Holy Heroes

On the first Sunday of Advent, I posted about some of the ways our family celebrates the Advent season with this post

Another great resource we love is the Holy Heroes website which has an Advent Adventure for families.  It is free to sign  up and each day our family gets an email with the next day's adventure lesson.  My children love to watch the children on the videos and hear the Bible stories and history of Advent.  Holy Heroes also has a Lenten Adventure in preparation for Christ's resurrection at Easter.  We participated in the Lenten Adventure for the first time this past year and we are enjoying our first Advent Adventure so far.   Holy Heroes is a great and fun resource and our family has learned so much together as a family about our Catholic faith with Holy Heroes!

So if you are looking for another great way to enhance your Advent season with your family, check out the Holy Heroes website and enjoy your adventure!

I am thankful for Holy Heroes and for my friend A.R. for reminding me that Holy Heroes is definitely a great website to share with others who visit my blog! 

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Advent - Some Ways Our Family Prepares

Advent Wreath Tradition 
It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is over and now it is time to prepare for the celebration of Christ's birth! Today is the first Sunday of Advent so one of the first decorations we pull out is our  Advent wreath which we display in our kitchen.   After we eat dinner as a family we light the candle(s) depending on which week of Advent we are in.  So this week we will be lighting one purple candle after we bless our wreath with a special prayer.  This year we will be reading Jotham's Journey, A Storybook for Advent with our children.  We will try to read it with using only the light from the candle(s).  It's beautiful to see that as we get closer to the celebration of Christ's birth, each lit candle makes the room brighter and reading easier.  I love how this symbolizes how we anticipate the coming of Jesus Christ, the Light of the world! 

Jesse Tree Tradition
We will also be decorating our Jesse Tree and reading scripture as our children put on one symbol per night on our "tree" (which is a branch we found in our woods in a pot covered with purple cloth).  Our symbols are made out of paper and our children colored each picture. I then laminated them and punched a hole to tie a string to the paper.  I made copies of these symbols from this page on Domestic-Church.com  . We have enjoyed reading The Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean in years past and we will continue with this tradition this year.  We read one story each night which relates to the Jesse Tree and its symbols. 

Advent Tree and Wrapped Christmas Books Tradition
If you are like me, you may have a lots of Christmas books that you have collected through the years.   A few years ago I found a great way to read our religious and secular Christmas books and at the same time have my children anticipate Jesus' birthday.  I wrap up each book with purple wrapping paper.  I usually find the purple paper in our local Dollar Tree store.  Then beginning on Dec. 1st, one child opens one book and we read it as a family.  Then on Dec. 2, our next child opens a book and so on.  My children really love this idea of opening their Advent Christmas book.  I have a small "Advent tree" in our great room decorated with purple balls and under this tree is where we have our wrapped Christmas books.  This small Advent tree goes up at the beginning of Advent and then we buy our real Christmas tree sometime later in December.   
I also number the books and put each child's name on the back of the wrapping paper so I don't have to remember who gets to unwrap the next book!

Family Fun Bucket Tradition
Last year a friend of mine made this family fun bucket for me. 

Inside the bucket are strips of white, green, and red heavy paper with simple fun things to do.  Each night in December, each family member picks out a strip of paper, reads it and then our family does what is on the paper.  For example, one says "What is the real meaning of Christmas?" or "Shhh! the secret phrase is : "Christmas Lights." Describe the phrase and see who can guess it." or "It's sing-along time! Everyone sing "Silent Night".   There is a great variety of simple, fun things to do and this has been really great to do as a family!
I have made several Family Fun Buckets for family and friends for gifts and everyone has enjoyed this low cost and meaningful gift!  I have the list of all activities on 7 pages saved on a file in my computer.  If you would like to have this list please Contact Me and I will be more than happy to email you this list!

The season of Advent is such a special time and I am thankful that our family celebrates the true meaning of Christmas by doing several fun and meaningful Advent activities to prepare for the day when we can sing "Happy Birthday to Jesus!"

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Crafts and Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving !

This past Monday and Tuesday, we stepped away from our regular studies and did alot of Thanksgiving themed work and projects.  I had a bag of candy corn that I bought near Halloween.  If it was up to my children they would have eaten the entire bag rather than participate in this craft I thought of !  
I found a turkey printable on the computer, printed it on white cardstock and had some of my children and their friends glue the candy corn as the feathers.  We also cut the candy pumpkins in half and glued them on to make a pumpkin patch at the bottom of their creations.  The girls thought of drawing aprons on the turkeys and gluing buttons on them. 

Then we made "I am thankful for..." turkeys where they wrote one thing they were thankful for on each feather.  I was so happy to see that my oldest daughter wrote that she was thankful for her "faith", which is written on the red feather on the lower right side.  I hope this will always be something she is thankful for!  I had the turkey head, body, feet, and feathers already assembled since this was a craft that I had extra copies of  from a last year's homeschool gathering.  The children had fun writing what they were thankful for and taping the feathers on and the googly eyes. 

I am thankful for all of God's blessings in my life!  May you have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday-Garden Princesses

Join Me at The Homeschool Post!
Also, I am thankful for my blog nomination for the Homeschool Blog Awards this year!  The winners have been announced and all the nominees are listed here.  Even though my blog didn't win in the "Best Encourager" category, I am thankful that my blog was listed with so many great blogs and thank you to all those that voted for my blog!  Congrats to all the nominees and winners! 

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Princess Party with a Castle Cake

I am thankful for our 3 year old princess who turned 3 this past Friday, Nov. 19th.  On Saturday, family and friends came over for a princess party.   I used this Family Fun cake idea to make this princess castle cake:

Lighting the 3 birthday candles

Before we had cake and ice cream, the guests did some arts and crafts.  The girls first decorated a wooden princess crown that was on a stick that I found at the Dollar Tree.  Here is our daughter painting her crown before sprinkling glitter on it: 

Then in the cake decoration section at Wal-Mart, I stumbled upon these great edible rings (that were on clearance) with edible ink markers that the girls decorated, then ate!  Wilton makes these rings and they were a hit!
After having a royal dinner of hot dogs, chips and fruit and eating cake and ice cream, our princess enjoyed opening her gifts.  Then each guest received a princess treat bag filled with a wand, candy jewelry, princess juicy snacks, princess silly bands, and a tube filled with a lollipop and a couple of pieces of candy jewelry.  
The tube (empty toilet paper tube) is in the left side of the bag covered with pink paper.  Here is how I made this great and easy craft that can be used for any occasion/holiday:

I cut a sheet of tissue paper in half and filled the tube with the treats.

The I rolled the tube up with the paper

Finally, I tied the ends with a shiny curly ribbon and placed a sticker in the middle then put each one in the treat bags.  So cute and easy!

Our daughter and our family and friends had a great time celebrating another special occasion in our family's life!

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happy Baptism Day !

I am thankful that each year we celebrate the day each of our children were baptized as infants into our Catholic faith.  We have always celebrated this special day in their faith journey, but this article,  A Universal Call to Party:  A New Family Tradition, from The Word Among Us publication has given our family great ideas to keep this tradition alive and fun!  I found this article in 2006 and have been using it as a reference for each baptism anniversary.  To remember each baptism anniversary, each of my children have a gold/silver platted candle stick holder with their name and baptism date engraved in it.  This has been a meaningful and great way to remember yet another important date in our families' lives!

So on Thursday, November 18, we celebrated our son's baptismal day with dinner as a family, lighting his baptism candle, singing "Happy Baptism Day to You", reading Scripture passages related to the sacrament of Baptism (Matthew 19: 13-15, John 3:5, and Mark 1:9-11), as a family we renewed our baptismal promises, and then we concluded with an "Our Father" before we ate our dessert to celebrate his special day.  This year our children recited the "Our Father" in Latin ("Pater Noster") since we have been learning it in our homeschool days.  It's amazing how much my children retain with only 10 minutes of Latin vocabulary each day!

Happy Baptism Day to our son!


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I'm Tracy. I love my faith, family and on most days, homeschooling my 5 blessings. When I'm not busy baking cakes for my family or making memories in real life or dreaming I had a housekeeper or professional chef, I enjoy documenting a slice of Smith life in blog land.

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