December 31, 2006

Truly Modest Clothing and Apparel

This is Eleanor sporting her new nightgown. Have you ever seen such a pretty nightgown with all it's tucks and pleats! Even the inside seams are beautifully done! The best part is that it is great for twirling in!
Be sure to check out Truly Modest Clothing and Apparel the owner is a good friend of mine and I can personally vouch for her incredible sewing skills! And this is just the nightgown, you should see the dresses, they are so beautiful!

December 30, 2006

Catholic Devotion Meme

I was tagged by Heather (This is the first time I've ever been tagged, I hope I do this correctly!).

1. Favorite devotion or prayer to Jesus? "Merciful Jesus, I consecrate myself today and always to Thy Most Sacred Heart" also "My dearest, sweetest Jesus, have Mercy on me." I highly recommend having the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in every home!

2. Favorite Marian devotion or prayer? a simple Hail Mary and the Most Holy Rosary

3. Do you wear a scapular or medal? Yes, I wear the brown scapular with 3 medals on it: St. Benedict, Crucifix and Miraculous Medal. I buy mine at Mother of Our Savior

4. Do you have holy water in your home? YES! Couldn't survive without it! We get ours from our Church St. Mary's Oratory, Rockford, IL, it is exorcised Holy Water. Very powerful against the evil one. You can also get some from Cukierski Family Apostolate if you do not have it available to you.

5. Do you ‘offer up’ your sufferings? Yes. I find offering little sacrifices for the children very effective in helping them, too!

6. Do you observe First Fridays and First Saturdays? I wish! We live a long ways from our parish so once a week is all we can manage at this time.

7. Do you go to Eucharistic Adoration? I would go if we had it available within driving distance!

8. Are you a Saturday evening Mass person or Sunday morning Mass person? Sunday Morning

9. Do you say prayers at mealtime? Yes. Grace before and after meals and a prayer for the dead.

10. Favorite Saint(s)? St. John Vianney, St. Philip Neri, Padre Pio, St. Joseph, St. Mary Magdalen and of course St. Anthony is called on daily!

11. Can you recite the Apostles Creed by heart? Yes.

12. Do you usually say short prayers (aspirations) during the course of the day? Always, I am not a patient person, I need all the help I can get!

13. Where is your favorite place to pray? In front of the Blessed Sacrament or in our living room in front of the pictures of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, Crucifix, Relics (St. Julie Billart, St. Maria Goretti, St. Paul, St. Alphonsus and St. Elizabeth Seton) and St. Michael statue.

14. Bonus Question: When you pass by a automobile accident or other serious mishap, do you say a quick prayer for the folks involved? Yes - always.

Helen’s bonus question: If you could visit any of Our Lady’s apparition sites, which one would you choose? Our Lady of Fatima and since I'd be over there I'd head on over to Our Lady of Lourdes, oh, well, I think I'd just keep on going and hit them all "in the area"!

I'm tagging Alice and Bridget.

December 27, 2006

Christmas Around the World

For Christmas our children and their cousins put on a show "Christmas Around the World". My very talented sister-in-law pulled together a beautiful show, writing up the script, working on costumes and buying/baking goodies. Each child was dressed as a saint representing a different country. They walked out and distributed goodies from the country to the audience (parents, aunts,uncles and grandparents). When they arrived at Baby Jesus they placed a gold heart with their name on it in the basket next to the manger.
Frodo represented England, St. Nicholas, Bishop
Galadriel represented Sweden, St. Lucia, Queen of Light. She was very proud of the crown she made out of an advent wreath kit.
Eowyn represented France, St. Clotilde, Queen
Our Nephews represented
Norway, St. Olaf, King and Knight and
Czechloslovakia, St. Wenceslaus, King and Knight
Rosie represented Colonial America, St. Katherine Drexel
Eleanor represented Ireland, St. Brigid, Queen. My neice in the background to the right represented Poland, St. Hedwig, Queen.
Our neices represented
Italy, St. Clare, Countess and
Scotland, St. Margaret, Princess
Merry represented Germany, St. Swithbert. Note Merry's leiderhosen, those were the very ones given to my sister Bridget and me from our Aunt Mag when we were tots! They are the real thing right from Germany, probably likely the first occasion we've had to wear them!
Samwise represented St. Isaac Jogues and Pippin was a little Indian Brave. Pippin's poncho was also compliments of Aunt Mag when I was a child! I think it was from South America somewhere.
When all the children knelt down in front of Baby Jesus the idea was they would all recite the poem "What can I give Him" followed by singing Silent Night.
What can I give Him poor as I am;
If I were a shepherd, I would give Him a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I would do my part.
But what can I give Him? I will give Him my heart.
Our plan is to use the stories that were recited in the background as they passed out their goodies for a school project next Advent.

December 25, 2006


May God Bless you during this Holy Season of Christmas!

We attended Midnight Mass. It was absolutely gorgeous! For an hour before Mass we thoroughly enjoyed a lovely string quartet mingled with beautiful solos and choir music. We arrived home at a weary 3:30 am and all "slept" in ... if Baby-alarm at 7:30am counts as sleeping in (not to mention he was up 2 times in between!)

We enjoyed a delicious brunch of stuffed french toast bake and sausages. Some of the odd ones in the family "enjoyed" some egg nog if egg nog is something that can actually be enjoyed!

We spread our gift opening out over the 12 days of Christmas. Christmas day is for Grandparents and stocking stuffers.

Tomorrow, St. Stephen Day, we will enjoy movie day and this year we bought the extended version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The children will probably spontaneously combust with excitement when they open the new video! We are BIG Narnia fans, I can't count how many times we've read the books! And of course we also will enjoy our cheap WalMart tin of popcorn (which incidentally they raised the price and shrunk the tin!) *I* would prefer to enjoy Dale and Thomas Popcorn. Their drizzle corn is very well nearly literally to die for! (I once got a couple "free" samples.) But at $30 a tin we'll settle for our cheap tin! (Excuse the commercial but I really highly recommend the peanut butter and white chocolate drizzle and the chocolate... I'm sure the others are grand too but those I tried... and tried to make but didn't quite succeed!)

Our day will continue with a ham from our butcher for a late lunch. Then we'll head over to Tom's family's house where the children and their 5 cousins will have "Christmas Around the World" followed by an appetizer-style dinner.

Our Tallest Tree Yet!

In 2005 we were in the midst of packing and moving so we had a mere 3 foot fake Christmas tree (the one I used back in my single teaching years). There was just no room for a real tree among all the boxes! So this year we somehow ended up with the tallest tree by far that we've ever had. Samwise measured it up to a mere 13-1/2 feet tall!

The tree itself, much to Sam's disappointment, is a little closer to Charlie Brown than to the gorgeous grand tree at our State Capitol. But we still like it and think it is lovely.... enough!

One does learn quickly that a couple "normal" strings of lights doesn't go far on a 13+ foot tree nor does 27 feet of garland. But we have plenty of ornaments to fill some of the gaps and enjoyed setting it up on the 3rd Sunday of Advent. Of course we set it up at least once a day every day after that, or at least the bottom few feet have needed a daily over-haul!

To avoid the bottom 1/4 only being decorated we brought in a step ladder and also did some decorating from up in the loft!

Here is Rosie checking out one of the upper-most decorations.

2006 Fontanini Nativity

When we were married June 24, 1995 we received a gorgeous Fontanini Nativity set. The set included the Holy Family, Kings, shepherd and a few other items. I have since added to the set each year with a piece of two. This year we added the Inn and Inn Keeper and I could resist the little duck family.

Grandma Maher gave each of the children a piece to add for this year too plus a few extras including the grand pond and palm tree. We were tickled to have a pond for our little duck family!

For Advent we add a piece each day until Christmas. The only ones missing in this picture are the Kings of course, they (and their camel) will arrive on the Feast of Epiphany.

St. Nicholas Day

We hang our stockings up for St. Nicholas Day. This year we hung them along the bannister going up to the loft. In the morning the children woke to find their stockings full of goodies and little playthings.

The piano was our latest exciting addition to our home! Everyone loves making a variety of joyful noises. Galadriel and Eowyn are taking piano from Aragorn's sister. They love it. And we all love singing practice. And some *really* enjoy cacophony!

Now, for me to get my violin out again!

I must add that the stockings are courtesy of Grandma Maher (my mom). She gave each grandbaby a stocking for his/her first Christmas.

Charming Eleanor

Rosy-cheeked, curly-headed Eleanor at 3-3/4 years.

Advent Cubes

Sorry for the poor picture! This was our Advent project. Based on Alice's post on O Night Divine Blog we made Advent Cubes. We took 1 inch square wooden craft cubes and mod podged paper drawings on each of 6 sides.

1 - Date
2 - Jesse Tree Symbol
3 - O Antiphon or Bible Verse/Story
4 - Creche Figure to add to our Nativity
5 - Sacrifice of the Day
6 - Saint of the Day

To make the paper squares, I made a simple grid (table) in word doc and typed in the needed words. Then we printed it up and drew in symbols for each side of the cube. Cut those out and mod podged them to the cubes.

Each day of Advent we chose the cube-of-the-day and did all the activities. They ended up being our presents for Baby Jesus.

December 10, 2006

Christmas Photo Shoot 2006

Well, *almost* everyone is looking at the camera and smiling. We'll make allowances for the baby!

This is the photo we'll be using in our Christmas cards this year, whether they be e-cards or paper cards.