Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our Lady of Guadalupe Pop-Up Book

Our Lady of Guadalupe
by Francisco Serrano

I mentioned the other day that I did have another new book to surprise the kids with this Advent. I actually pre-ordered this book last year, but it ended up not arriving in time for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, so I saved it for this year. All year I've been dying to take it out of my closet to share with the kids. They are going to love it!

This book has twelve pages, which create six beautiful double page pop-ups, telling the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Here are a few examples:

The price for this book on Amazon seems to change frequently... It was listed at 20% off  the other day, and is now currently 32% off! Either way, I think it is definitely worth the price. 

The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is coming up on December 12th, preceded by the feast of St. Juan Diego on December 9th.   I'm not making any definite plans for a Mexican Fiesta or another Our Lady of Guadalupe Tea this year, since I will be "full term" by then, but at the very least we will be reading this book, beginning our Christmas Rose Novena, and enjoying some sort of Catholic Cuisine!

P.S.  Could you please say an extra prayer for us, as we all try and get over coughs, colds, sore throats, and earaches?  Nothing like getting sick to force me to try and rest and to cancel/reschedule the rest of our plans for the week... Thank you! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Favorite Advent and Christmas Books Link-Up

There are so many wonderful Advent and Christmas books available for children.  Every year I think "How can I possibly find more to add to our collection?" and every year I have no problem whatsoever, and usually end up with an ever growing wish list for the next year!

As Charlotte and I were discussing our Christmas Books, she asked me to host a link-up here so that we can all share our favorites in one place!  Won't you please join us?

I've already posted our Advent and Christmas Booklist for this year, along with the new books that we'll be adding to our collection on the feast of St. Nicholas, but now I'd love to hear all about your family favorites and discover some new treasures.   As Cay Gibson says in Christmas Mosaic, An Illustrated Book Study for Advent and Christmas, "This booklist is as endless as the possibilities for Christmas Tree Decoration."

Please add a link to your blog post below, or feel free to leave your favorites in the comment box.  Be sure to share the link to this post so that everyone can find the link-up.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Daybook :: November 28, 2011

Outside my window... we replaced our fall wreath with an evergreen wreath for Advent and Christmas.

I am thinking... about this year's Christmas gifts for our children.  I had hoped to have all the gifts purchased and wrapped before Advent began, but I wasn't able to pull that off this year.

I am thankful... that we were given permission from our local pastor for Twinkle Toes to receive her First Holy Communion from one of her uncles, during a Traditional Latin Mass, if one of them is able to come out to baptize our new little one in January.  I just need to take her in to be tested to make sure she is ready.  He may meet with Chiquita as well, and we may end up having two First Communions, in addition to the Baptism!  We'll just have to see!

From the kitchen... leftovers! Since we went to my parents on Thanksgiving, I knew we wouldn't end up with any leftovers, so I planned to make our own turkey dinner on Saturday.  I ended up spending much more time in the kitchen than I would have liked, but everything turned out great.   Here is a list of what we made, with links to some of the recipes:

To take to my Parents:

Cranberry Orange Bread
Homemade Whip Cream
(made with my iSi Easy Whip, Cream Whipper)
(tripled for a 9x13 casserole)
Coconut-Pecan Sweet Potatoes
(also tripled for a 9x13 casserole)
Hot Apple Cider
(made with our favorite Organic Mulling Spices)
Sparkling Apple Cider
Country Potato Dinner Rolls (store bought)
Crackers and Harry & David Pepper & Onion Relish Dip

For our Meal at Home:
Mashed Potatoes
Mallow-Topped Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Rolls
Jellied Cranberries
Black Olives
Pumpkin Pie & Veggie Tray (both from Costco)

We never did get a chance to make the Oreo Turkeys or Pilgrim Hat Cookies that we had planned, and the ingredients are all still sitting on the counter...  :/

Learning all the time... we are back to school after a couple days off last week for Thanksgiving.  My hope is to wrap up our Colonial Unit Study this week and have the children assemble their lap books.  I've had to cut back on a lot of the activities we began at the beginning of the year, since I just haven't been able to keep up with everything.  Mainly we have had to cut out the girls' weekly state-by-state recipe - we've decided to catch up with a States Dinner/Party sometime in the next couple months - though they are still studying a state each week.   I also haven't been able to spend much one on one time with Snuggles, though he has really enjoyed a few new workbooks and participating in the big kids projects.  This afternoon we will be heading out on a field trip that will tie in nicely to our Colonial studies!

Living the Liturgical Year at Home... Last night, before our family rosary, Hubby blessed our Advent Wreath and we lit the first candle.  The pillar candles from the Monastery Candle Shop arrived a little lighter in color than I expected, but they are very pretty and will work out nicely this year!

After the rosary we read the story of creation and added ornaments to both our traditional felt Jesse Tree (which I started to worry we weren't going to be able to find, since it wasn't with the rest of our Advent decorations), as well as a new beautiful wooden ornament to place on a little artificial tree.  The kids unwrapped the first book from this year's Advent Book Basket and cuddled up on the couch with their Daddy to listen to a story before bed.  It was a very nice and peaceful evening at home, even if the kids didn't get to bed until really late!

I am creating... (or will be just as soon as I can!) a Notebook page for this week's Little Flowers meeting, in addition to preparing for the craft.  I really wish I would have been able to finish my plans for this year this past summer.   Hopefully it won't take too long!

I am wearing... my hair a little shorter and darker.   I originally was just planning on getting it cut and layered last week, but the hair stylist convinced me to color it to match my roots, covering up the old highlights from a couple years ago.   It has taken a little getting use to, but I think I am starting to like having it all dark once again.  Captain cracked me up when he told me that he liked it "but wasn't sure if it made me look older or younger!"

Noticing that... now that the baby isn't breech, he is really low.  It is getting very hard to stand for long and walking through a store is next to impossible, without starting to contract.  (Thank goodness for online shopping!)  I am so glad that Hubby is coming home early to go on our field trip with us this afternoon.  I don't think I could manage it, without his help!

I am listening... to our Advent/Christmas station on Pandora, while I work on folding tons of laundry.

Around the house... after spending most of Friday and Saturday organizing and de-cluttering the kids bedrooms, they are finally almost done. I still just need to go through their clothing drawers.  Hubby assembled the drawers for the closet organizer in the babies room on Saturday, so I finally have a place to put his clothes, once I get around to washing them.  Maybe this week, once I catch up on the mountain that appeared after cleaning the bedrooms?  I am running out of time!

I am hoping... that I can move on to cleaning my bedroom and the schoolroom, now that the kids rooms are almost done.  The piles have gotten out of control.  I just haven't been able to keep up with everything lately.

I am praying... this prayer to my little ones, who I remembered especially this past week, on the anniversary of when they were born too early and miscarried, which happened to fall on Thanksgiving Day this year:

To an Infant in Heaven

My darling (mention the child’s name) you are now in joy in the presence of our God; and in your spotless innocence, which he loves, you can speak to him with a voice that he will heed.  You are still my little baby and will surely regard the prayers of your mother, who bore you. So with confidence, then, I speak to you. Intercede for me to obtain the favor that I here ask as a mother through her child who stands before the throne of God (here mention petition).  But if what I ask is not according to the wisdom and loving designs of almighty God for me and others, then ask Him to grant what is best according to His good pleasure and to give me the wisdom and faith to conform my will to His.

One of my favorite things... celebrating the seasons of Advent & Christmas at home with my family!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
  • Hubby went back to work today, after a very quick 4 days off.   I had hoped he'd be able to take a little more time off.  Maybe later this week...
  • Colonial Themed Field Trip, followed by Hockey Practice this afternoon
  • Tutor from 9-1 and Piano Lessons from 2-4 on Wednesday
  • Final Little Flowers Meeting (until March) on Thursday (which I haven't even begun to prepare for!) 
  • Team Hockey Practice on Thursday 
  • Boys' Hockey Game on Saturday Morning
  • Parish Anniversary Dinner on Sunday

A Picture thought I am sharing:

Family picture on Thanksgiving Day 2011

P.S. Charlotte has convinced me to host a "Favorite Advent/Christmas Book Link-Up" here at Shower of Roses! I will try and post the link-up either late tonight or tomorrow, so start working on a post with your favorites to share!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

New Christmas Books for the Feast of St. Nicholas

In our home on December 6th, the feast of St. Nicholas, we have a family tradition of giving our children new slippers (when needed) filled with treats and chocolate gold coins, along with a new Christmas Picture Book to add to our collection.   In the past I have never wrapped the books, but this year I think I might wrap them up in some brown paper and attach the children's annual "Notes from St. Nick" to the outside of each package.   For the notes, I ran across these beautiful gift tags on Etsy to use this year!

Here's a peek at the new Christmas books I purchased for this year:

For Captain:

"A charming, delightfully illustrated classic Christmas folktale from old Russia retold by Alvin Alexi Currier about a poor family who entertains an angel unaware. Although the story has a Christmas theme, it can be read at any time of the year, as an illustration of the text of Hebrews 13:2: "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

For Rascal: 

"Van Amsterdam the baker was well known for his honesty as well as for his fine Saint Nicholas cookies. He always gave his customers exactly what they paid for -- not more and not less. So, he was not about to give in when a mysterious old woman comes to him on Saint Nicholas Day and insists that a dozen is thirteen! The woman's curse puts an end to the baker's business, and he believes it would take Saint Nicholas to help him. But if he receives that help, will it be exactly what he imagined? Find out in this inspiring legend from Dutch colonial New York about the birth of an honored American custom. "

For Twinkle Toes: 

"Ivy, Holly, and Mr. and Mrs. Jones all have one Christmas wish. Ivy, an orphan, wishes for a real home and sets out in search of the grandmother she’s sure she can find. Holly, a doll, wishes for a child to bring her to life. And the Joneses wish more than anything for a son or daughter to share their holiday. Can all three wishes come true? This festive tale is perfectly complemented by beloved Barbara Cooney’s luminous illustrations, filled with the warm glow of the Christmas spirit."

For Chiquita:

"It is the night before Christmas! When Marie receives a handsome wooden Nutcracker from her dear uncle, she’s thrilled. But during the night, something magical happens...and when her toy Nutcracker transforms into a handsome Prince, Marie is whisked off to Toyland on a winter adventure she’ll never forget! The Nutcracker is one of the world’s favorite holiday stories. Now for the first time the beloved artist Mary Engelbreit offers her vision of that magical night, creating a picture book filled with joyful movement and rich detail that even the youngest child will enjoy."

For Snuggles: 

"A wild little troll runs away from home because he doesn’t want to do his chores. Rollo tries living with various woodland animals, but he finds out that there is no place like home, and returns to his family just in time for “the best Christmas ever.” Among the animals who take him in are an owl family, a mother bear and two rambunctious cubs, some playful river otters, a hungry lynx and a friendly moose family. Jan Brett creates an irresistible, mischievous character that kids will recognize in themselves. Jan transports us to a glorious Scandinavian landscape where a beautiful fall turns into a magnificent snowy winter. Her signature borders depict the troll family missing Rollo, and animals as appealing as those found in The Mitten. A warm, fun-loving Christmas picture book for families to share and love and laugh over together."

For Rose: 

"For centuries, the Gospels have brought to audiences of all ages the story of the birth of Christ, from the breathtaking appearance of the angel Gabriel to the arduous journey of the three wise men, from Herod’s chilling decree to the return of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus to Nazareth. The text of this book, drawn from the books of Matthew and Luke, becomes all the more vivid when paired with the luminous and detailed illustrations of talented artist Ruth Sanderson. Elaborate borders combine the traditional elements of an illuminated manuscript with a contemporary palette to make this spectacular volume a book to be treasured and shared with family and friends."

(Even though we have lots of picture books that tell the story of Christ's birth, when I ran across this book, written and illustrated by Ruth Sanderson, author of the gorgeous Saints: Lives & Illuminations and More Saints: Lives and Illuminations I knew we had to add it to our collection.)

For the Baby: 

"Vicky Austin’s family does one special thing each day of December to prepare for Christmas. This year, they’re also preparing for the birth of a new brother or sister, due after the New Year. Vicky is worried that the baby will come early—what kind of Christmas Eve would it be without Mother to help them hang up stockings and sing everyone to sleep with carols? This classic story of an old-fashioned Christmas is accompanied by merry illustrations by Jill Weber."

For Dad & Mom:

"Beginning with the first day of Advent and continuing through the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, these selections from the immortal pen of Fulton J. Sheen encourage readers to explore the essence and promise of the season. Those looking to grow in their prayer life and become more attuned to the joy of Advent and Christmas will find a wonderful guide in this spiritual companion."

(Recieved from a friend. Thank you Dessi!)

"Everyone in the village is bubbling with excitement about the new star in the sky—everyone except old Baboushka, who is busy sweeping, scouring, and polishing her house. Then three strangers arrive. When Baboushka invites them to stay the night, they ask her to join their search for a new baby—an infant king. But Baboushka is too busy with her chores. When at last she follows, bearing gifts for the baby, the newborn king is gone. Some say Baboushka continues her search to this very day, and at Christmas—whenever she sees a sleeping child or hears of good deeds—she will lift a toy from her basket and leave it."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Preparing for Advent :: Book Baskets

Our picture books are all wrapped, despite running out of the dark purple paper and having to finish up with light purple rather than making another trip to the store!  There is one wrapped for each day of Advent, with the remaining books placed in additional baskets.    I also filled a couple baskets with all of our remaining Christmas Books, and I don't think I will be needing to check any more out from the library this year... We have plenty to keep us busy all of Advent and Christmas!

Just like I have done in the past (here are our lists from 2008 and 2010, or you can scroll through all our Christmas Picture Books here), I thought I would share our list of books for this year.  I will be back soon with the new books I choose for the feast of St. Nicholas, and pictures from another new favorite we will be surprising the kids with in a couple weeks.

November 27 ~ Waiting for Noel: An Advent Story

November 28 ~ An Early American Christmas

November 29 ~ The Christmas Cobwebs

November 30 ~ Waiting for Christmas: A Story about the Advent Calendar

December 1 ~ Cobweb Christmas: The Tradition of Tinsel

December 2 ~ The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey with CD: Gift Edition

December 3 ~ The Little Fir Tree

December 4 ~ The Gift of the Christmas Cookie: Sharing the True Meaning of Jesus' Birth

December 5 ~ The Miracle of Saint Nicholas

December 6 (Feast of St. Nicholas) ~ A Gift from St. Nicholas

December 7 (Feast of St. Ambrose) ~ The Christmas Candle

December 8 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception) ~ Mary, Mother of Jesus

December 9 ~ Pablo's Christmas

December 10 (Feast of Our Lady of Loreto) ~ The Three Gifts of Christmas: Book with Audio CD

December 11 ~ An Orange for Frankie

December 12 (Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe) ~ Our Lady of Guadalupe

December 13 (Feast of St. Lucy) ~ Lucia, Saint of Light

December 14 ~ Hanna's Christmas

December 15 (Rose's Birthday) ~ The Legend of the Christmas Rose

December 16 ~ The Night of Las Posadas

December 17 ~ Night Tree

December 18 ~ The Clown of God

December 19 ~ Shoemaker Martin

December 20 ~ Mortimer's Christmas Manger

December 21 ~ Little Star

December 22 ~ The Donkey's Dream

December 23 ~ On Christmas Eve

December 24 (Christmas Eve) ~ The Night Before Christmas: Book & DVD

The following are wrapped in gold paper and will be placed in the empty basket on Christmas morning:

December 25 (Christmas Day) ~ Bethlehem

December 26 (Feast of St. Stephen) ~ Stephen's Feast

December 27 (Feast of St. John the Apostle) ~ Good King Wenceslas

December 28 (Feast of the Holy Innocents) ~ The Little Match Girl

December 29 ~ Saint Francis and the Christmas Donkey

December 30 ~ The Mitten 20th Anniversary Edition

December 31 ~ The Huron Carol

January 1 (Feast of the Circumcision) ~ All for the Newborn Baby

January 2 ~ Angela and the Baby Jesus

January 3 ~ The Stable Where Jesus Was Born

January 4 ~ The Last Straw

January 5 ~ The Story of the Three Wise Kings

January 6 (Feast of Epiphany) ~ We Three Kings

Our Additional Books for Advent and Christmas:

A Basket of Board Books for our Littlest Ones:

Note:  Quite a few of the books on our reading lists have study guides in either Christmas Mosaic, An Illustrated Book Study for Advent and Christmas or Catholic Mosaic: Living the Liturgical Year with Literature an Illustrated Book Study for Cathoilc Children, which we will be using as well!

Wishing you all a very Blessed Advent!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!

We just finished making this fun Turkey Veggie Platter, which was much easier than baking our turkey!   Now we are heading out to my parents home for our Thanksgiving Dinner, just as soon as I finish up the sweet potato casseroles.   

I have so very much to be thankful for today, including all of you - my online friends and visitors here at Shower of Roses.   Your prayers, support, and friendships have been such an amazing blessing!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Edible Indian Corn

Yesterday afternoon, as a little activity for our Colonial Life Unit Study, and with Thanksgiving coming up this Thursday, the girls spent a little time in the kitchen making Edible Indian Corn.   It was a great recipe for them to make (mostly on their own) and they had so much fun! 

Edible Indian Corn

  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 cups of mini marshmallows
  • 5 cups of puffed corn cereal (we used Honey Kix)
  • 1 1/3 cups diced dried fruit (we used raisins and cranberries)
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Fruit leather


In a large pot, melt butter and mini marshmallows over low heat.  This takes about 5 minutes.

Remove the mixture from the stove and use a wooden spoon to stir in puffed corn cereal and diced dried fruit. Allow the mixture to cool for about 10 minutes.

Using buttered hands, shape each treat by pressing 1/3 cup of the mixture around a Popsicle stick. 

Add fruit leather husks to the bottom of the ear, slightly moistening them to help them stick if needed. 

Makes approximately 15 treats.

What Thanksgiving Treats have you been making?  
We'd love to see them over at Catholic Cuisine!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

New World Explorers Unit Study and Lap Book

This year we are making Lap Books to go along with each of our six Unit Studies for American History. Our first Unit was based on New World Explorers. While the girls were busy working on their Kaya Lap Books, the boys were busy making their own Lap Books with printable mini books from the Time Travelers New World Explorers CD.

Resources and Books for Unit One: 
(you can print our Unit One Plans/Booklist here)

Core Text 
Additional Books read by the Boys:
Coloring Books:

Timeline Entries:
  • c. 484-c. 578 Brendan the Navigator
  • c. 1000 Leif Erikson discovers North America
  • 1492 Columbus Discovers America
  • May 4, 1493 - Line of Demarcation (set by Pope Alexander, the boundary divided the New World between the Portuguese and the Spanish)
  • Jan. 6, 1494 – First Mass in the New World
  • 1454-1512 Amerigo Vespucci
  • 1460-1521 Juan Ponce de Leon
  • 1480-1521 Ferdinand Magellan
  • 1485-1547 Hernando Cortes
  • 1531 Our Lady of Guadalupe
  • 1510-1554 Francisco Vasquez de Coronado

Here are a few pictures of some of the boys' entries to their History Through the Ages Record of Time timeline book during this Unit:

Additional Activities:




The dark blue center page/flap addition contains a little invocation to Our Lady of Guadalupe, with a miniture version of Charlotte's Coloring Page, at the top, and the Navigational Equipment Wheel on the bottom.

On the Left Flap: 
5 Reasons for Exploration

Line of Demarcation

On the Right Flap:
“Real Estate” Brochure

Sea Monster pop-up

Center Flap #2 : Treasure Chest; Anatomy of a Ship


The Center of Actual Lap Book Folder contains a pocket for all the Acetate Maps the boys created, with overlays for the explorers routes.   

The boys had so much fun making these!  

On the back of each of the inserted pages were all the Explorer Profiles.

Inside the boys wrote the place of birth, which country they explored for, the years of each expedition and the discoveries that each explorer is best known for and/or interesting facts.

All of the profiles are on color coded paper representing the country for which they were exploring.


The boys finished this unit up last month and have since moved on to Unit Two.  They have been studying Jamestown, the Pilgrims, Ben Franklin, and Colonial Life.   We are hoping to finish up by the end of this month, before moving on to the very much anticipated Unit Three, based on the American Revolution!