Tuesday, November 13, 2018

New Christmas Books for the Feast of St. Nicholas {and a St. Nicholas Giveaway!}

The feast of St. Nicholas is just a few weeks away! On December 6th our children always wake up to find that the letters they wrote to the Holy Child and/or St. Nicholas have been taken and their (sometimes new/replaced) slippers have been filled with little treats, oranges, chocolate gold coinscandy canes, and often times a note from St. Nicholas. Our children (and teens!) have always received a new Christmas book as well, which has helped us build an amazing collection over the years!

“A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.” - C.S. Lewis

I picked out some of this years books months ago, before life started getting really crazy with our out-of-state move, and last week I went hunting for bookstores near our new home to find a few last books to finish the list. I haven't wrapped them up yet but plan to once again use the brown paper, red ribbon and little St. Nicholas labels.

You are welcome to download my St. Nicholas labels over at Dropbox with either Black or Green text. 

{Note: All of the links to Amazon are affiliate links. If you choose to click any of the links, then add an item (any item!) to your cart and complete the purchase, I will receive a commission. We are so grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you!}

Here is the list of books my husband and I picked out for our children this year:

For Captain:

"Celebrate Christmas with Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang in this gorgeous deluxe storybook retelling of the beloved Christmas special! Christmas is almost here, which means ice-skating, Christmas carols, and sparkly lights everywhere—even on Snoopy’s doghouse! Everyone is enjoying the holiday celebrations except Charlie Brown. Can the Peanuts gang help Charlie Brown discover the true meaning of Christmas? Find out in this beautiful deluxe storybook with a cloth cover, lush foil stamping, and incredible illustrations! This makes the perfect holiday gift for fans of Peanuts and the classic Christmas special."

Our eldest son has always loved Charlie Brown! This book will be a fun addition to his collection. 

For Ranger: 

"On a snowy hilltop in the north of England lives a lonely old farmer. Every night, he watches the lights flickering cheerily in his village--until World War II brings darkness to his country. As Christmas approaches and the village is threatened by enemy bombers, the old farmer devises a plan to bring hope and light back to his friends and remind all of the peace the Christmas season brings."

I had a hard time deciding which of the boys to give this story to... They will all love it! 
(Originally I thought I'd give this one to our 11 year old and the LEGO Ornament book to Ranger...
but Sean voted for the opposite.) 

For Twinkle Toes: 

"Queen Charlotte brought her family's festive holiday yule bough from Germany to England. While planning a Christmas Day party in 1800 at Windsor Castle for over 100 children, she realized a single bough isn't enough. So she brought in the whole tree instead, making it the first known Christmas Tree in England. This story tells a little known fact about a favorite holiday tradition."

For Chiquita:

"A warm and wonderful story of the creation of the timeless hymn, Silent Night, and its creator Joseph Mohr. Silent Night celebrates the 200th anniversary of the beloved hymn, and shares the story behind the creation of one of the world's most recognizable tunes. "

Our older two girls have both joined the choir at our new parish and I know they will especially love reading this story about the hymn Silent Night.

For Snuggles: 

"Building instructions for 16 clever Christmas ornaments that can be built from standard LEGO parts that fans are likely to have in their collection. These small and uncomplicated ornaments are quick to build and a joy to display. "

**I might end up just giving this to all the kids and giving Snuggles the brand new book by Susan Peek, Saint Rudolph and the Reindeer

For Rose: 

"When Wilma decides her garden needs a new beginning, she gathers string, scissors, shovels, sixty-two dozen balsam seedlings, and Parker, her five-year-old neighbor. Year after year, Wilma and Parker nurture their trees, keeping careful count of how many they plant, how many perish, and how many grow to become fine, full Christmas trees. A cozy, holiday read-aloud and a lyrical way to usher in the month of December."

For Bud: 

"This classic Christmas story about a shy boy who plays his trusted drum for the newborn king will charm children and parents alike. A brand new story from Bernadette Watts, never before published."

For Grace: 

"With this colorfully illustrated board book version of the classic Christmas-time ballet, Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver present a new holiday favorite, The Nutcracker: A BabyLit® Dancing Primer. This board book features soldiers marching, mice prancing, snowflakes swirling, dolls bending, and buffoons skipping as a way to introduce basic movement terms to babies and toddlers."

Bonus - For Sean and I: 

Michael Foley, author of Drinking with the Saints, presents cocktail recipes and wine, beer, and cider recommendations that will keep hearths warm and parties joyful throughout the holidays. With stories about the history of St. Nicholas and other saints, as well as an advent calendar leading up to Christmas, this gift book is a must for anyone who starts stringing lights and playing Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving. Let the Christmas games begin!

Bonus - Family Read Aloud: 

I found this book on Ebay a few years ago (back before Grace was born when we still had seven children) and keep forgetting to pull it out for the feast of St. Nicholas. It's about seven children in New Amsterdam who worry that St. Nicholas will not be able to find them in the New World. I'm hoping, as we get settled into our new home, that I'll be able to find the time to read it aloud this December. I'm looking forward to it! 

The darling wooden St. Nicholas toys in the above two pictures are from Naturally Catholic and Almond Rod Toys

.: Giveaway :. 

I'll be hosting four Advent and Christmas themed giveaways again this year - at least that is the plan! I had hoped to get them on the blog each weekend of November leading up to Advent but I'm running way behind with the move. Here is the first giveaway in preparation for the feast of St. Nicholas!

Prize #1 - Set of Five Cookie Stamps with Recipe Booklet 

Prize #2 - A Brand New Picture Book by Susan Peek

A baby reindeer longs for a name. Before his mother can choose one, invaders come and the herd flees . . . except for him. His wobbly legs are too weak to run. Captured and taken to a new land, the little reindeer yearns for escape . . . and for a friend. Meanwhile, as Christmas Eve draws near, a saintly bishop and a holy monk plan a surprise for the poor of their village. When problems arise, all seems doomed, until their paths cross with that of the baby reindeer . . . and a legend is born.
- sponsored by author Susan Peek (value $11.95)

Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter box below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For additional Christmas book suggestions you can find some of our lists in the archives: 

Saint Nicholas & the Nine Gold Coins {Beautiful book!}

Christmas Mosaic: A Review & Featured Book List

35 Favorite Christmas Picture Books for Children

Feasts & Seasons :: Advent & Christmas Collection

Our 2015 Advent Book Basket and Printable Labels 

Our 2016 Advent Book Basket and Printable Labels 

Our 2017 Advent Book Basket and Printable Labels {I'm planning to share our 2018 Basket and Labels soon!}

New Christmas Books for the Feast of St. Nicholas: 

2009, 20102011, 2012, 20132014, 2015, 2016, 2017

Stacks of Books on Christmas Morning or Epiphany: 

20132014, 2015, 2016, 2017

Even more St. Nicholas themed gifts can be found in these past posts filled with Christmas Gift Ideas & Stocking Stuffers from 2015, 2016 and 2017 including suggestions from our children!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Celebrating Martinmas

Our Martinmas celebration is simple this year but we are reading a new picture book that was sent to us from Pauline Books & Media: The Sword and the Cape: A Tale about Saint Martin of Tours

We also pulled out Snow on Martinmas to read again as well and might try and have a little bonfire this evening after Mass.

"Martin, so comfortable on his horse and cozy within his beautiful thick coat, took the coat from his shoulders, cut it with his sword and draped the largest part on the man. Something spoke inside his heart and said it was the right thing to do."
- Snow on Martinmas


On Friday morning, when I went out for early morning Mass, I realized just how unprepared we are for a winter up north... As I stood shivering in my little sweater type “jacket” a friend was telling me what type of winter coats to look for and where the best thrift shops in the area are located... Not even an hour later another woman from our new parish, after hearing that we needed coats, showed up at our doorstep with a car full of coats (14 to be exact) just before the snow hit! What a blessing!! The girls especially love their new red coats and I now have plenty of coats for winter too. Everyone at our new parish has been so incredibly welcoming. May God reward her abundantly for her St. Martin like generosity!

Hope you all have a very blessed Martinmas! 

Friday, November 9, 2018

Prayer for the Holy Father on the Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran Basilica

Pope and Swiss Guard Set • Vaulted Cathedral Cake

"For even now miracles are wrought in the name of Christ, whether by His sacraments or by the prayers or relics of His saints."
- St. Augustine

After attending the early morning mass at the Carmelite convent near our new home, I came back and found the box with all of our Naturally Catholic toys and dug out the Pope and Swiss Guard Set for the little ones to play with while I baked a Vaulted Cathedral Cake for today's feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran!

(While the cake was baking we had our very first snowfall in our new home so I dusted the cake with powdered sugar too! The ground is now covered with snow. The kids are all thrilled and I'm trying to decide whether or not to still try and make the long drive back to Oregon tomorrow...)

The Lateran Basilica is the cathedral of Rome, the Pope’s church, and “Mother of all churches of urbe et orbe.” On this special feast, and each and every day, let us remember to pray for our Holy Father.

Lord, source of eternal life and truth, give to Your shepherd, the Pope, a spirit of courage and right judgment, a spirit of knowledge and love. By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care may he, as successor to the apostle Peter and vicar of Christ, build Your church into a sacrament of unity, love, and peace for all the world. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Sponsor Love :: Quarterly Update & Current Specials

We are working on unpacking and settling into our new home. What a crazy month it has been! I'm hoping to share some pictures here on the blog, and I'm also working on putting together my pre-Christmas giveaways, but first I want to share a little about a couple new sponsors as well as some awesome coupon codes!

Please welcome my new sponsors:

Grace & Grit Design Co. 

We outfit women to beautify their domestic church with religious goods for both the home and lifestyle. We provide stylish, on trend products that are meant to convey the HOPE that we have in Christ so that others may see our HOPE and are encouraged to learn more.

Right now you can SAVE 15% off any product through Dec. 31, 2018 with coupon code: XMASROSE

In addition to visiting the website, you can also follow Grace & Grit Design Co. on Facebook and Instagram

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Ministry thru Mystery
What does Ministry thru Mystery mean?

I’m so glad you asked. Basically, it’s a simple way to describe my writing.

I’ve always had a passion for mysteries. Even as a child I was drawn to who-dunnits, spending hours puzzling out those intriguing plots. If the book also happened to include elements of humor, a touch of romance, and positive messages, then I was in heaven. Now that I’m an author, my novels include this potpourri of styles.

Stories are an incredible way to reach people and I strive to create novels that can strengthen the faith of others. Each of my books has an underlying theme: using your gifts and talents to help others, recognizing who God wants you to be, having the courage to say “yes” to a Divine call, and being a witness to others.

Sadly, our kids are inundated daily with negative and damaging messages through movies, television, music, social media, and even mainstream books. As a mother myself, I understand this problem. In fact, that is how my writing career began.

Years ago, when my children were searching for YA novels, I was having a hard time finding any that would be fun, adventurous, and also reflect our family’s values. I remember wondering why no one was writing the kinds of books I was searching for not knowing that I would eventually become that person.

God has led me on this incredible journey and I pray I can help others who may be facing the same parenting struggles that I did. Besides writing faith-filled novels, I have also started reviewing Christian and Catholic books on my website. Surrounding our children with good, value-based examples is becoming harder and harder to do but I hope to help change that culture one book at a time.

In addition to visiting www.LesleaWahl.com, you can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter

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A special THANK YOU to all my continuing sponsors! 

Prayer Pillowcases
Prayer Pillowcases are more than just a pretty place to lay your head! They're a unique way to bring Catholic art and prayer into your home and a practical way to share the Faith with your family and friends. Our distinctive line combines original art and favorite Catholic prayers that appeal to all ages and transform pillows from the ordinary to the divine! Honor a special occasion or make any occasion special with the gift of a joyful, lasting (and personalizable) Prayer Pillowcase. We're always working on new designs and hope you'll visit again soon to see even more ways to help your loved ones begin and each day with a prayerful heart.

Prayer Pillowcases make lovely Christmas gifts!

Early Bird Shoppers: 20% off  all Prayer Pillowcases now through November 15th with coupon code: EarlyBird

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Culture of Life Studies Program (CLSP)
The Culture of Life Studies Program serves teachers and parents as they guide their students in building a culture that respects and protects the dignity of every human being regardless of age, appearance, or ability. We have two exciting announcements this Fall.

We turned our best selling 100% Pro-Life T-shirt into a super warm and comfy hoodie. Visit prolifehoodie.com and get one today! All proceeds go toward providing pro-life educational materials and support to parents and teachers across the US and Canada.

We have also teamed up once again with the Institute for Excellence in Writing to provide students the opportunity to win cash, prizes, and publication on our website for articulately expressing their pro-life knowledge. Visit prolifeessay.com for more information.

Shower of Roses readers can always save 20% off their entire order using the code: ROSES20

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Sacred Heart Books & Gifts
We are here to serve your needs for Catholic books, curriculum, and gifts. We offer most of our products at 15% off retail. If you are looking for something and can't find it on our site, please contact us and we will do our best to find it.

Follow Sacred Heart Books & Gifts on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for updates and specials! 

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Gail's Designs
Gail's Designs has been creating unique, elegant jewelry and cherished rosaries since 2009. Gail has been an artist for most of her life and is grateful for her faith and being able to make elegant jewelry and cherished rosaries for people of the Catholic faith.


In addition to the website, you can also follow Gail's Designs on Facebook and Instagram for updates and new designs!

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"Behold Publications, LLC is more than just a publisher! Family owned and operated since its founding in 1999, we have developed great Catholic clubs like the Little Flowers Girls' Club and Blue Knights Catholic Boys' Clubs for Catholic girls and boys ages 5 and up. What makes these clubs unique is that they are at their core faithfully Catholic. We don't "tack on" Catholic identity as other clubs might, but begin and end with a Catholic world view. We also believe that local clubs best operate the way they see fit, so there is no national organization, policies, registration or dues. Groups can easily adjust the program to fit their local needs. Behold Publications also produce a line of historical fiction based on American history and American saints for ages 7-15."

You can still find my revised and updated Little Flowers Crafting Pages available on their website along with so much more!

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Peanut Butter & Grace 

The mission of Peanut Butter & Grace is to help Catholic parents raise children who know and love Christ and his Church. We do this by providing digital and print resources that assist parents in forming their children in the faith within the daily life of their family. All of our products are made for Catholic parents—either to use themselves, or to hand to their kids.

Free shipping on orders of $25 or more, whole-book previews, and 45-day review!

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Kolbe Academy
With salvation as the ultimate goal, Kolbe Academy’s educational programs allow you to tailor the formation of each child in the Catholic tradition, with a classical approach.

All three of our high schoolers are currently enrolled with Kolbe Academy and working towards the Magna Cum Laude Diploma. In addition to all the benefits of enrolling, I really love the flexibility that Kolbe offers and that we can continue tailoring our curriculum to our family's preferences and our children's needs.

In addition to visiting Kolbe Academy's website, you can also follow them on Facebook or Twitter for updates and specials! 

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Sleightholm Folk Art
"Welcome to Sleightholm Folk Art, formerly known as Audrey Eclectic, a unique collection of American folk art created in the heart of the Oklahoma prairie. My inspiration comes from faith, folk lore, family and good books." You can read more about Heather's work here.

In addition to the Etsy Shop you can also find Sleightholm Folk Art on Facebook and Instagram!

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Family Friendly Audiobooks on CD. Wholesome entertainment and education for all ages! 

Sign up for our newsletter and receive a one time use 20% Off coupon!

Also be sure to visit St. Clare Heirloom Seeds specializing in Non-GMO, Non-Hybrid, Non-Treated Heirloom and Open Pollinated Vegetable, Flower, and Herb Garden Seeds

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Almond Rod Toys
Almond Rod Toys makes Saint Blocks that are just the right size for little hands and can be used for imaginative play, building, stacking or collecting. The front has a print of original watercolor artwork. The back has a quote or a prayer chosen to inspire little ones and the one that cleans up behind them. The saint's name, feast day and patronage are also listed; just enough to be a reminder and an inspiration for further learning.

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Catholic Cuisine Aprons
All of our aprons are embroidered, not screen printed, giving them a rich, elegant, look! Our durable 100% cotton-twill aprons, with soil-release finish for added stain protection, provide ultimate full length cover and comfort.


 I think I might order my girls one for Christmas! ;)

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Have you ordered your Advent Candles yet? 

The 100% Beeswax Advent Candles from The Dominican Nuns that we've used and shared and used in the past are available again in limited quantities over at The Cloister Shoppe! 
These never last long! 

Thank you to all of my sponsors and visitors for your support! May God bless you all!