Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Celebrating the Feast of St. Nicholas :: 2015

Well... Our schedule has been so full lately and, despite ordering books and picking up some chocolate coins and our favorite candy canes, I wasn't as prepared for the feast of St. Nicholas this year as I would have liked! I realized Saturday morning that I only had one new pair of slippers for our oldest... (Giving our children each a new Christmas picture book along with a new pair of shoes or slippers has always been our personal family tradition.)  I had ordered a couple pairs of slippers over Thanksgiving for our two youngest (which finally arrived today! Good thing their birthdays are next week...) and I hadn't been able to get out shopping for the rest. I thought I would go shopping sometime on Saturday, but the three boys had hockey games in the morning from 8:00-12:00, I worked at my Dad's office from 12:00-2:00 (last week was my third week working part-time for him), then took the girls to confession and out with my mom, before hurrying home for dinner then back to the rink with the whole family (and some friends!) for the older boys very first High School game that started at 8:30 pm. I ended up sneaking away during the break between the second and third periods and was able to quickly pick up four more pairs of new slippers (at great prices!) along with some Santa Hat Hershey Kisses and Cherry Pie Filling at a store across the parking lot. Whew!

When we got back home, sometime just before midnight, I quickly finished this year's St. Nicholas Chocolate Coins to go along with our new book, filled each candy bag with three large decorated coins (I'm saving the rest of the large coins for Christmas or O Antiphon Coins), the rest of the small coins, and a handful of Santa Hat Hershey Kisses each, so that they would all be ready for St. Nick when he arrived.  ;) Somehow it all came together!

You can find my review along with additional pictures of Saint Nicholas & the Nine Gold Coins here.

Captain LOVES his new Captain America slippers

After being out so late on the eve of the feast of St. Nicholas, everyone woke up late with no time to spare before leaving for morning Mass and our local parish's anniversary brunch. All the treats were still waiting for them when we got back home!

In addition to the new slippers, books, chocolates, and candy cane, St. Nicholas also left an orange and a couple saints (a mix from Catholic Folk Toys, Naturally Catholic, and Tiny Saints) for each of the children. 

Our little guy was very excited about his new St. Nicholas dolls from Naturally Catholic and Catholic Folk Toys! He was also thrilled with his new picture book: Little Blue Truck's Christmas

"Daddy! You read it to me?!" 

Rose waited to open her new book, The Message of the Birds, until after her Dad had finished reading. 

She will be receiving her new doll from Naturally Catholic on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. For the feast of St. Nicholas she received an angel and St. Elizabeth of Hungary. 

Snuggles was very excited about his new book, Kristoph and the First Christmas Tree. I was surprised that my older boys recognized and remembered the legend right away from one of their Blue Knights meetings many years ago! It was a perfect pick for this 8 year old of ours. 

"Mom, look! He's holding my candy cane as his staff!" 

Chiquita received Apple Tree Christmas...

... and our Tasha Tudor loving Twinkle Toes received The Christmas Cat

The older boys also loved their new books, Confederate Night Before Christmas and An Irish Night Before Christmas. The themes were perfect for them and they have enjoyed reading them to their younger siblings. You are never too old for picture books, right?

The rest of our Sunday afternoon was spent resting and reading!

... and I still managed to make our annual Cherry Cheese Candy Cane Coffee Cake(s) as an afternoon treat for my family. Sometimes sticking with my AIP diet is SO hard! ;)

God, we pray that through the intercessions of St. Nicholas
you will guide and protect our children. 
Keep them safe from all harm and help them grow
to become loving disciples of Jesus in your sight. 
Give them strength to always mature into deeper faith
in you, and to keep alive joy in your creation. 
Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.


  1. Looks like a perfect feast day celebration! The coffee cake looked delicious!

    2015-12-09 21:20:25

  2. Oh Jessica, the pictures of your house always look so calm and cozy! I really need to know how you keep your house clean?! I am really struggling with this lately!! Another lovely feast day-your kids are lucky to have you! :) God bless!

    2015-12-09 22:01:44

    1. Judy, I agree. I have 7 children as well and every time I take pictures and then look at them on the computer, the background is a hodge podge of toys and clothes strewn about. Sometimes it's so disheartening because I try so darn hard to keep things tidy, but the kids work even harder destroying. Just know this mom is in the same boat as you. I will offer a few sacrifices and prayers for our "clean house" intention.

      Jessica, your family day looks like it was a fun one. Relaxing and resting is the key.

      2015-12-09 22:38:19

    2. I only have four and I always feel the same!! I recently took a picture of my living room on the hour for a day. (I kind of wanted to prove to myself that it was at points in the day not a wreck.) I must have cleaned it up once an hour - but the next hour it was a disaster!)

      2015-12-09 22:51:26

    3. It is hard, Judy and Jennifer, isn't it?! I don't have much clutter in the main living areas of our house (it fills up so quickly with just our family!) and I keep the toys to just the book baskets and a few baskets of wooden toys (that don't drive me nuts when they are all over the floor) but what you don't see in these pictures is the dust on the mantel and the dust bunnies under the bookshelf. We actually spent a few hours last night - me and all seven of the kids - cleaning house and trying to catch up before another busy weekend (Robotics all day Saturday and H.S. Hockey Sunday - both 2 1/2 hours away, different directions!).

      I actually had my mom stop by a couple days ago and walk through the house with me, trying to figure out how to organize the bedrooms that all feel overfull at the moment (including my own which is where the majority of the school supplies were moved when we needed to give the old school room to the little boys).

      One thing that has really helped this past year is boxing up some of the collections of toys (Playmobil, LEGO, Lincoln Logs, Wooden Train) into plastic bins and moving them out of the house (into the little storage shed/well house we built last year)... Next on the list is to simplify and cut back on the quantity of clothing. It seems like every time I catch up it's a new season, everyone has grown, and it's time to do it all again! ;)

      2015-12-10 17:29:15

    4. I think I am lacking in a mother who will come walk my house with me :) Seriously, you are so sweet to share your pictures with us and endure our inquiring minds!

      2015-12-10 17:58:39

    5. 'One thing that has really helped this past year is boxing up some of the collections of toys (Playmobil, LEGO, Lincoln Logs, Wooden Train) into plastic bins and moving them out of the house'

      I think this would really help us. No matter what lego seems to be everywhere throughout our house.

      We've just finished a big clean out trying to get as minimal as possible. And I can see already that more stuff definitely equals more mess. We've been enjoying less cleaning since our clean out and it's just great!

      We've still got a way to go with organisation though. With the nine of us, if we can ever work it all out, I think we will be some kind of organisation experts lol. One can dream ;)

      2015-12-11 02:43:24

    6. Great answer, Jessica! No one wants to see photos of my messes, and if I ever updated my blog, I sure wouldn't want to memorialize the mess. Your photos are beautiful, as is your family!

      2015-12-12 20:05:25

  3. I clearly remember when life was insanely busy and me with only TWO children. They are grown and gone now but still there never seems to be enough time. Or, perhaps I've simply gotten better at procrastinating.

    2015-12-09 23:40:57

  4. Lovely family pictures and celebration of the feast day. I see you are a really busy woman with strong faith to accomplish all you do. 🙏

    2015-12-10 00:22:37

  5. Oh, I found those candy canes for the first time this year... a local grocery store had them for only $2.50 or $3 a box! When my kids ate them on St. Nicholas day, they raved about how they were the best candy canes they'd ever had and that "they just taste so REAL!" LOL! That's because they are real, not fake flavors and colors. Looks like a fun celebration! My Lucy got a Naturally Catholic St. Lucy because I couldn't wait until the 13th to give it to her!

    2015-12-10 05:24:13

  6. I cannot imagine a single mother who read this and didn't feel like a total failure. Nice pics and such, but wow, gotta be soulcrushing for all the struggling moms out there. :-/

    2015-12-10 14:51:14

    1. Sigh... I'm not going to apologize for recording some of the beautiful moments from a special day with my family here on my blog. I can assure you that I have my own struggles, but they are not the focus here at Shower of Roses.

      2015-12-10 17:11:29

    2. Timothy, I know how hard Jessica works, and that she struggles just like the rest of us. I truly appreciate that she offers up her struggles, smiles through her challenges, holds her family and faith tight and fights the good fight. Her blog is inspirational and helpful, not bragging or judgemental.

      Jessica, please keep doing what you do...I use alot of your ideas for my Adult Foster Care and for my demetia patients.

      2015-12-10 17:57:26

    3. Timothy what is the point of posting that? We all make decisions in our life and need to handle the consequences with as much joyful resignation as can be mustered with the grace of God. Everyone has struggles. So those who have happy marriages, joyful children, and strong faith should not be allowed to share those things for fear of some other sector of the population feeling bad about themselves as a result? THat seems ridiculous to even say out loud. I grew up with a single mother. And we struggled. But you MAKE the joyful moments whether you have it all or not. God rewards those who offer their sufferings rather than wallow in them. Blessed Advent to you.

      2015-12-10 17:59:04

    4. Wow, Timothy, what a comment. Don't you think that might be soul crushing to Jessica? Maybe I missed the sentence where she said "this us what YOU should do to celebrate St. Nick's day." Oh wait, she didn't say that. :(. I have been reading Jessica for years, through my own struggles with recurrent miscarriages and before that infertility. Not once have I ever felt like she was putting herself above others. Not once. In fact, I am so grateful to Jessica for this blog because of posts like this. It helps give me ideas on how to celebrate the liturgical year in my home. I usually don't get involved in com box drama, but wanted Jessica to hear the other side too. In Christ, Marie

      2015-12-10 18:01:13

    5. It's hardly soul crushing. More like incredibly inspiring. I love her blog and as a mom of four very little kids who make a mountain of messes it's nice to see pretty pictures of a neat and organized home. I aspire to one day having big kids who can help me keep up with it all and less stuff in my house to make a mess with. She's sharing beauty and I won't tear her down for it.

      2015-12-10 18:02:04

    6. Jessica happens to be the sweetest, most humble, mom I have come across. She is in no way trying to make other moms feel bad. There so many who appreciate her God given talent and the way she helps us find ways to do the same with our families. We are a "family" in the blogging world and we know that life is far from perfect behind the scenes, so this beauty that Jessica shares is a blessing to all. In the spirit of the year of mercy, please be kind and charitable, because that is all most of us know Jessica to be.

      2015-12-10 19:25:21

    7. Jessica, I hope you took my comment about your house being clean in the way I meant it! I LOVE seeing little snippets of your home-they totally inspire me to get off my behind and get moving. You work so hard and are so kind to share it with us!! Most of my feast day/book ideas come from you and your leg work. Have a blessed advent and please keep sharing!

      2015-12-10 17:56:57

    8. Thank you, Judy! I'm glad you have found the blog helpful and, yes, I read your kind comment the way it was intended. I was responding specifically to the comment above about this post making others feel like total failures. If someone finds my blog "soulcrushing" I would really hope they move on to somewhere else -- or pick up a camera and focus in on the blessings in their own life despite the struggles and crosses that we all have to carry!

      2015-12-10 18:56:21

    9. Timothy, prayers for you that God heals you of the struggles you must be going through right now.

      2015-12-12 15:44:10

    10. I was a single mom for years. I was raised by one as well. As a single mom, I think I still managed to read picture books to my child and put chocolate in her shoes on St. Nicholas's feast day. I'm definitely sure I didn't find pictures of happy domesticity "soul crushing". Maybe a little sadly wistful, but that was my own issue to deal with, not the responsibility of other women. For heaven's sake, it's her family's life, and it's beautiful. And it's not easy. Did you read the article? She was up after midnight after a very long day putting that together, dude. She *is* a struggling mom. We all are, in various ways. If this blog doesn't speak to you, I"m sure there are some that will. In the meantime, if a mom putting candy in her kids shoes is soul crushing, you may need some therapy. I don't mean that in an ugly way, truly. I just mean, you sound like you need some help.

      2015-12-23 04:03:11

  7. What a special day! It is definitely one of our favorite feast days! I purchased "Kristoff and the First Christmas Tree" for my family, but I am saving it for a bit closer to Christmas (maybe during the O Antiphons). And my Lucia is getting a St. Lucia tiny saint on Sunday, for her feast day! It is SO cute! I admit that with my poor health, I have not had a lot of energy or motivation to get ready for Christmas. But we have our Advent wreath and Jesse Tree out and are enjoying the prayers and readings, during this season of expectant hope. We will put up our tree on Sunday. Seeing your festive photos inspire me and get me more in the Christmas spirit. Thank you, Jessica, for generously sharing your faith with us!

    2015-12-10 17:54:17

  8. Jessica, you are a beautiful, inspiring person and I really enjoy your blog even on those days when my house is a mess. Not everyone is going to have a clean picture perfect looking home, but that's ok. As much as I'd like my home to be spotless, it's just not and while I struggle in that area, I'd never feel crushed because you post pictures that are beautiful and suggest a spotless home. I don't know about you or any other blogger, but when I take pictures that I share on my blog the mess gets moved out of the background. So where someone sees a clean kitchen, they're not seeing the counter piled with papers and dirty dishes that are behind me. Don't let people bring your down with their negativity.

    2015-12-10 19:46:46

    1. 'but when I take pictures that I share on my blog the mess gets moved out of the background.'. lol Me too Karen.

      2015-12-11 01:52:44

  9. Thank you so much for sharing Jessica! Glad you were able to bring it all together to continue a family tradition. Lovely to see all the pictures :)

    2015-12-11 02:09:44

  10. Jessica, continued prayers for you, your family, and your mother. You are loved and treasured by so many, but especially by the One who created your beautiful soul! :) *hugs*

    2015-12-12 15:46:38

  11. I was wondering what you do for your godchildren for Christmas.

    I have 8 godchildren and it can get expensive and can be hard thinking up gifts for each one. This year I was thinking of doing some sort of baked goods as a gift or making an ornament that I could give to each one...I

    I figured you probably have quite a few godchildren and wondered what your tradition was.

    2015-12-13 02:15:42

  12. You know you are a faithful Shower of Roses reader when St. Nicholas Feast day comes and you check the post wondering about the books you found for the year and cheerfully wonder what kind of fun way you've woven love for the saints into your kids hearts by your own devotion and awesome faith!! I love how you are always thinking of ways to be so sweet to the kids and nurture their faith and joy! It is just wonderful to be blessed as a fellow Catholic by your loveliness as a wife and mom and to offer sweet prayers across the miles in joy for all you are to this world happy happy Advent!

    2015-12-13 06:48:16

  13. Jessica as a first generation homeschool mother I first struggled with reading your blog but as Christ calls us to live out the two greatest commandments I began to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten me. What I was shown is that you as a second generation homeschool mother surrounded by family who supports you is able to live her Catholic faith out in joy and confidence. I found great inspiration and realized that my daughters may be second generation homeschool mothers themselves someday and I pray that they find their own ways of living with joy and confidence their Catholic faith. May God richly bless you and your ministry.

    2015-12-13 12:00:17

  14. Happy Advent, wonderfull post and photos Greeting from Belgium

    2015-12-13 22:02:39

  15. In my family, St. Nicholas arrives after dark in the early evening of Dec 5. He knocks loudly on the front door and as children we knew we could not look out the windows to try to get a look at him or we risked loosing our gifts. We usually found a large bag on the front steps filled with jigsaw puzzles, chocolates, nuts and fruit inside. My dad use to tell a story about how he and his older brother tried to sneak a peek out the front window at St. Nick. What they got was a large stick thrown through their front picture window and a good spanking!

    2015-12-29 12:28:33


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