Monday, November 26, 2018

2018 Christmas Gift Ideas & Stocking Stuffers {Plus Another Sleighful of Giveaways}

It's time for this year's list of "Christmas Gift Ideas" and another "Sleighful of Giveaways" from my amazing and generous sponsors! Despite our big move last month, I somehow managed to pull it together at the last minute with some help from my children!! Now I need to get back to unpacking and find the rest of our Advent boxes... We are all looking forward to Advent and Christmas in our new home and parish!

You can find the lists from the last three years here, here and here, as well as even more Catholic gift ideas listed in my past Easter posts as well: 100+ Easter Basket Stuffers & Catholic Gift Ideas and Easter Symbols: Catholic Gift Ideas. Some of the items below have been featured in the past but they are still favorites.

Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of 25 PRIZES, from my generous sponsors here at Shower of Roses, with a combined value of over $1,800! Please keep these Catholic businesses in mind when shopping for gifts this Christmas season! 

Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
.: Fun New Finds for Advent and Christmas 2018 :.

  1. Drinking with St. Nick: Christmas Cocktails for Sinners and Saints from the author of Drinking with the Saints: The Sinner's Guide to a Holy Happy Hour - I don't drink but I enjoy reading these books! 
  2. The Holy Family Nativity Play Set from Shining Light Dolls - Love the expecting Blessed Mother! Perfect for Advent!
  3. Our Lady of Guadalupe: The Graphic Novel - Also available directly from TAN. 
  4. LEGO Advent Wreath - My boys have all the LEGO they would need to make this on their own, but fun idea! 
  5. Around the Year with the Von Trapp Family - I have a treasured vintage out of print copy of this book and am so happy to see it back in print! I pre-ordered a copy of it to give my oldest daughter back in September... but I forgot to change the shipping address and it's sitting on my porch back in Oregon. 
  6. My Jesse Tree Sticker Set - This looks fun! 
  7. Celebrating a Merry Catholic Christmas: A Guide to the Customs and Feast Days of Advent and Christmas - Haven't seen this in person yet but it looks great! 
  8. Nativity Tea Light Candle Lantern - I bought this last Christmas but I don't think I ever shared it here on the blog. 
  9. The Bible Story from St. Augustine Academy Press (Also available on Amazon here) - This would make an excellent addition to the Jesse Tree. 

.: Some Favorite Advent and Christmas Music :. 

** Some of these have unlimited free streaming included with Prime on Amazon! **
  1. Advent at Ephesus
  2. Adventus 
  3. Legends of St. Nicholas
  4. Caroling at Ephesus
  5. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring: Christmas with The Dominican Sisters of Mary
  6. Catholic Songs for Children - includes: Gather Round the Crib at Christmas and The Best Christmas Present of All

.: Favorites for the Feast of St. Nicholas :. 

  1. St. Nicholas with Moveable Arms from Ostheimer - Plus Free Printable St. Nicholas gift Tags in the archives! You can find him from Bella Luna and The Wooden WagonThis is another version.  
  2. Saint Nicholas Cookie Stamp from Rycraft
  3. St. Nicholas and the Nine Gold Coins - Review can be found here. Plus decorate your own St. Nicholas Chocolate Coins with this free printable. 
  4. TruSweets Organic Candy Canes - One of our children is allergic to Red 40. Love that theses are made without food coloring! I bought a couple boxes from Thrive last year. If you don't have a Thrive membership, here's my referral link to save you 20%. You can also find them at Natural Grocers. 
  5. The Bakers Dozen - and recipe for cookies in the archives! Unlike the candy canes, these were unfortunately not Red 40 free... 
  6. St. Nicholas Shining Light Doll - picture from our snowy 2013 celebration!
  7. St. Nicholas Statue
  8. St. Nicholas Block from Almond Rod Toys
  9. The Miracle of St. Nicholas

.: Favorites for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe :.

  1. Mañanitas CD or MP3 from Casa Maria/Sister Servants
  2. Our Lady of Guadalupe and Our Lady of Guadalupe Pop-Up Book - More pictures can be found here
  3. Our Lady of Guadalupe from Prayer Pillowcases
  4. Cloak of Roses - Our Lady of Guadalupe from Regina Martryum Productions
  5. Our Lady of Guadalupe and Crown from The Little Habit - You can enter to win this below! 
  6. The Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Empress of the Americas
  7. Juan Diego: Messenger of Guadalupe DVD
  8. Our Lady of Guadalupe from Almond Rod Toys
  9. Our Lady of Guadalupe from Shining Light Dolls
We also love the Our Lady of Guadalupe Puzzle, if you can find it, 
and we usually celebrate with an Our Lady of Guadalupe Brunch or Dinner!

.: Favorites for Santa Lucia Day :.

  1. Santa Lucia Girl from Armadillo Dreams
  2. Baby Lucia Crown and Attendants Candle 
  3. Lucia Morning in Sweden
  4. St. Lucia 8x10 Print from Sleightholm Folk Art
  5. Lucia Crown for Real Candles
  6. Lucia Mug with Song - Such a cute mug! It's no longer available from where I purchased it, but I just found it online here
  7. Saint Lucia Dress & Wreath from The Little Habit (also pictured are the discontinued American Girl doll outfits and accessories as well. I found them on eBay years ago.) 
  8. Lucia Cookie Stamp from Rycraft
  9. NEW this year: Saint Lucy from Shining Light Dolls 
I couldn't fit everything above! Here are some more great items to check out:
  1. Lucia Saint of Light
  2. St. Lucy from Naturally Catholic
  3. Saint Lucy from Tiny Saints
  4. Starboy Hat and Star Set
  5. Saint Lucy Articulated Paper Doll in Color from Stella Marigold Art

.: Favorite Advent and Christmas Puzzles :.

Our family loves putting together puzzles during Advent and Christmas. 
Here are some past favorites that are still available to purchase: 
  1. The Invitation (Noah's Ark - perfect for with Jesse Tree) - more pictures in the archives
  2. All Will Adore Him Jigsaw Puzzle - similar to this one in the archives
  3. Glorious Nativity Jigsaw Puzzle  - more pictures in the archives
  4. Stained Glass Holy Night Jigsaw Puzzle 
  5. Forest Nativity Shaped Jigsaw Puzzle 
  6. Holy Family Jigsaw Puzzle 
  7. Heaven on Earth Jigsaw Puzzle 
  8. Stained Glass Nativity Jigsaw Puzzle 
  9. Midnight Mass

.: Favorite Nativity Sets :.

These are some of the nativity sets our family has collected over the years.
  1. Kurt Adler Wooden Nativity Advent Calendar with 24 Magnetic Figures
  2. Playmobil Nativity (we have an older style)
  3. Nativity Fabric Advent Calendar
  4. Mary on Donkey and Joseph Walking
  5. Wooden 5-Piece Nativity scene Puzzle
  6. Ostheimer MINI Nativity - I purchased some of the pieces during a sale last year and plan to add a few more to our collection this year. 
  7. Childrens Nativity Blocks Starter Set and Deluxe Wooden Nativity Set from Almond Rod Toy
  8. Ostheimer Nativity Set Full Size - This was a gift last year and I look forward to adding to the collection one or two pieces at a time. Available from Bella Luna
  9. A Child Is BornThree Kings, and Shepherds and Sheep from Naturally Catholic

Brand new Nativity Set from Shining Light Dolls - I think this will become a favorite too! 

As I mentioned above, our children helped again with this year's "Christmas Gift Ideas" post. I had them each list nine gift ideas for me to share with you all. Here are their answers:

Please note: In addition to their stockings, our children usually unwrap three gifts from my husband and I on Christmas morning - something they need, something they want, and one other gift which is usually faith based. We draw names on the first Sunday of Advent for Christkindl and end with a family Christkindl gift exchange. It's always the first thing they want to do after our morning prayers (or morning Mass if we didn't make it to the Midnight Mass) on Christmas Day! They also receive a stack of books either on Christmas or Epiphany. The gifts listed below have been received over a number of different years/occasions.

.: Captain's Picks - Age 18 :.

  1. The Shadow of His Wings: The True Story of Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM - Still a favorite.
  2. Gift Cards - Like food/snacks, gift cards are always a great gift for teens. 
  3. St. Maximilian Kolbe Quote Mug
  4. T-Shirts (He got this Prancing Pony T-Shirt in his Easter Basket this year.)  
  5. Liturgy of the Hours
  6. Fun Ties: He loves his Star Wars Line Drawing Tie and Irish Flag Tie
  7. Star Wars Catch Phrase - Played at friend's home. Very fun! 
  8. MacBook with Captain America Shield Decal
  9. Chips and Playing Cards Poker - Hearth And Hand

.: Ranger's Picks - Age 16 :.

  1. Wish List: LEGO Creator Expert Downtown Diner - The Detective's Office is definitely his favorite out of all the Modular sets, but this one is at the top of his wishlist. He also loves Architecture and Creator sets. 
  2. Spikeball - We don't own this the boys had a blast playing it with their soccer team in Oregon! My mom let me know that she is planning on giving it to them this year! shhhh! 
  3. 7 Wonders - A bit of a learning curve to play, but fun! 
  4. Video Drone AP - This gift from Uncle Brian and Aunt Meagan last Christmas was a hit!
  5. Ranger's Apprentice Books and The Brotherband Chronicles (Always a suggestion from one of my boys... He'll be receiving the brand new release of The Red Fox Clan. Shhhh!) 
  6. Sushi Go! - The Pick and Pass Card Game
  7. Wish List: MacBook (Our oldest son received one for his 18th birthday last summer. Our 16 year old is a senior this year too and we'll most likely get him one for his 17th birthday or as a graduation gift. Can't believe they will both be headed to college next year!) 
  8. North Face Men's Inlux Insulated Jacket - found this on clearance last year and it's now his favorite. Basically clothing is always a hit with my teens! 
  9. Taylor Made Spider Putter  - He saved up and bought this putter for himself last golf season. 

.: Twinkle Toes' Picks - Age 15 :.

  1. Emily Books: Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs, and Emily's Quest
  2. St. Joan of Arc T-Shirt from Catholic T-Shirt Club - The boys enjoyed this subscription for awhile and then I changed it to a size S subscription for the girls to build up their collection of Catholic T-Shirts. Such a fun club! 
  3. Floral Coffee Mug
  4. Little Secrets All Natural Chocolate Candy
  5. Montana Emu Ranch Lip Balm - Finally something that works!
  6. Wish List: When Calls the Heart Christmas Special and Complete Season 5 - She already has and loves When Calls the Heart Year 4 DVDs (She has the Collector's Editions of Season 1Season 2Season 3, and Season 4
  7. Coach Satchel - Watch for sales on this... I paid less than $100. 
  8. Long Sleeve Floral Casual Swing Pleated T-Shirt Dress with Pockets 
  9. Custom Book Blanket from Sweet Sequels with all of her favorites!

.: Chiquita's Picks - Age 13 :.

  1. St. Philomena Outfit for 18" Doll from The Little Habit
  2. The Green Ember Books
  3. Into the Wardrobe Book Blanket from Sweet Sequels
  4. Wingspan Optics Spectator 8X32 Compact Binoculars for Bird Watching
  5. Hand-embroidered Scapular from StellaMarigoldArt - She and her sister received these years ago and after wearing them daily (including camping/swimming in them during the summer) they are starting to wear out. 
  6. Kipling Sebastian Crossbody Bag 
  7. Lisieux Nail Polish
  8. Kindle Paperwhite with Leather Case and Vera Bradley E-Reader Sleeve in Northern Lights to match her Backpack (great sales directly from Vera Bradley
  9. St. Clare of Assisi Quote Mug (from this year's Easter Basket) 

.: Snuggles' Picks - Age 11 :.

  1. Mines of Moria: We Dwarf the Competition T-Shirt (to go along with his favorite book: The Hobbit: Illustrated Edition)
  2. The Wingfeather Saga: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, North! Or Be Eaten, The Monster in the Hollows, The Warden and the Wolf King 
  3. Sting Sword 
  4. Snap Circuits Extreme (All the Snap Circuits sets are great!) 
  5. Custom Hobbit/Lord of the Rings Book Blanket from Sweet Sequels
  6. LEGO Creator Sets and City Sets (On his last birthday he loved the LEGO Pickup and Caravan from Grandpa and Grandma.)
  7. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Game
  8. Singtrix Party Bundle Karaoke System
  9. Flag Football (I am not sure what set my husband picked out from Dick's last Christmas, but the Flag Football has been a hit with all the kids this past year.) 

.: Rose's Picks - Age 8 :.

  1. St. Joan of Arc Paper Dolls - available from Sacred Heart Books and Gifts
  2. Lunch Basket with Liner from Bella Luna Toys 
  3. Ostheimer Goose Girl with Geese - I purchased them from The Wooden Wagon
  4. Jellycat Twinkle Bunny
  5. Little House on the Prairie Audio CDs
  6. Adventures of Nathaniel B. Oakes and Never Squeeze a Honeybee! The Continuing Adventure of Nathaniel B. Oakes
  7. Little Women Blanket from Sweet Sequels 
  8. Calico CrittersThese have been favorites for many years and are always on the list of favorites for all the girls. She loves her Kangaroo family
  9. Pride and Prejudice Seek and Find

.: Bud's Picks - Age 6 :.

In addition to our collection of Lincoln Logs, Playmobil, Thomas Wooden Railway, and LEGO, here are some more favorite toys that Bud loves and I would buy again... He still LOVES his Red Fox too!
  1. "I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas..." - Last Christmas he got a Hippopotamus and this year the Baby Hippo is at the top of his wish list. Ostheimer Noah's Ark, Figures, and Animals have been past gifts and they are played with daily. I plan to add the Baby Hippo to his collection this year and maybe a few others. Like all handcrafted wooden toys, these are an investment, but they are so beautiful and definitely heirloom quality. I always watch for sales from Bella Luna Toys and The Wooden Wagon
  2. Franklin Sports NHL Mini Hockey Goal Set of 2
  3. Fagus Tipper Truck (Available Fagus Toys from Amazon and The Wooden Wagon)
  4. Interlocking Wooden Blocks from Nova Natural ... "Can I play with these now?! You can make all sorts of stuff with them!" 
  5. The Biggest Bear ... "It's awesome." 
  6. Cash Register from Nova Natural ... "It dings and it has real paper!" 
  7. Red Fox - This one was on last year's list, but he still loves his Wild Republic Red Fox from his godparents. All of the Wild Republic stuffed animals are great. 
  8. St. Thomas Becket Soft Linen Doll - I bought this last year and forgot to give it to him. It will be one of his gifts this year. 
  9. Sequence for Kids ... "Most of the games we play are boring.... but this one IS NOT!" 

.: Grace's Picks - Age 1 :.

  1. Extra Large 12-Piece Rainbow Tunnel
  2. Hape Mr. Tambourine Kid's Wooden Instrument 
  3. Ostheimer Wooden Animals - She loves these too and will often be seen carrying around the Mama and Baby Giraffes. They are her favorite. 
  4. 100% Pro-Life Onesie and Jellycat Stuffed Animals - She has this Bashful Bunny in Tulip Pink and Cream, Lamb, Black and White Cat, and Fuddlewuddle Monkey
  5. Baby Baby Signing Time
  6. All Natural Tnee's Tee from her Wild One Birthday - Available direct on their website
  7. Idaho State Wooden Baby Rattle from Bannor Toys - I got her the Oregon Rattle last year (with Black and Orange Beads - Go Beavs!) and now we need to get her the Idaho Rattle too! 
  8. Shining Light Dolls
  9. Hydro Flask Sippy
  10. She still loves her Rosary from Chews Life too! 

.: A Few of My Favorite Things :.
.: 2019 Catholic Calendars and Planners :.

  1. 2019 Traditional Latin Mass Calendar from FSSP (Extraordinary Form) 
  2. 2019 Catholic Calendar from Saints Galore (Ordinary Form + Extraordinary Form) 
  3. 2019 A Nun's Life Wall Calendar from TAN (Ordinary Form + Extraordinary Form)
  4. 2019 Saints Calendar and 16 Month Daily Planner from TAN (Ordinary Form + Extraordinary Form -My husband and I both use this every year!)
  5. The Catholic Daily Planner™ from Michele Quigley (Ordinary Form + Extraordinary Form)
  6. Blessed Is She 2019 Calendar YEARLY Planner (Ordinary Form)
  7. 2019 The Life of Our Lord Wall Calendar from TAN (Ordinary Form + Extraordinary Form)
  8. 2019 Defending Christendom Wall Calendar from TAN (Ordinary Form + Extraordinary Form)
  9. 2019 Mary and the Saints Wall Calendar from TAN (Ordinary Form + Extraordinary Form)

Monday, November 19, 2018

Our 2018 Advent Book Basket and Printable Labels {Plus Lots of Christmas Books to Giveaway!}

Advent begins in just two weeks! Advent always varies in length from 22-28 days, beginning with the Sunday nearest to the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (November 30th) and embracing four Sundays. The first day of Advent can fall as early as November 27th or as late as December 3rd. This year Advent begins on December 2nd. 

Years ago, when we didn't have enough Christmas themed picture books to wrap one for each day of Advent, I would check some Christmas books out from the library just before Advent began, using Christmas Mosaic as a guide. We have added many books to our home library since then, giving one Christmas themed book to each of our children on the feast of St. Nicholas, and our collection has definitely grown.  (You can find this year's picks here!) 

In the past I have filled our basket with Christmas Mosaic titles and our children's 35 Favorite Christmas Picture Books. One year I picked twenty-six of MY favorites (although I still find new favorites to add to my list each year!) to wrap up and one year I left the choosing up to my husband and our oldest daughter

I really loved the collection we read last year and this year I had a really hard time choosing new books to wrap up and read instead... I tried my best, but there are still a few that make the list nearly every year including The Donkey's DreamThe Miracle of St. Nicholas and Bambinelli Sunday

I did include a few books (In the Candles Glow for the feast of St. Ambrose, An Alphabet of the Altar for the O Sapientia Antiphon, and The Three Trees for the O Radix Jesse Antiphon) that we don't keep with our Christmas book collection, but they tied in nicely for the theme of that particular day of Advent so I added them to read aloud this year. 

I don't have a copy of the brand new Our Lady of Guadalupe Graphic Novel, but if TAN Books has a great sale later this week I plan to order a copy and wrap that up for the upcoming feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe next month. Otherwise I'll wrap up one of our other favorites

About four or five years ago I switched to brown paper, instead of the purple and pink wrapping paper, along with purple and pink ribbon (which I save to reuse each year) and homemade labels for each day. I haven't been able to find the box with my wrapping supplies yet though following our move... I need to keep looking so I can get these books wrapped and ready! Advent is coming up fast. 

If you'd like to use my little labels too, you can download my Advent Book Basket Labels for 2018 over at Dropbox.

As always, we'll unwrap and read one book each night during Advent, following our family rosary. The rest of the books will be placed in additional baskets for the kids to read whenever they'd like during the seasons of Advent and Christmas. 

Here are the 23 picture books that I am wrapping up for our 2018 Advent Book Basket:

December 2 - 1st Sunday of Advent: The Way to Bethlehem
December 5: The Baker's Dozen  - write letters to Christ Child/Saint Nicholas, bake Speculaas or St. Nicholas Cookies, and decorate St. Nicholas Chocolate Coins to give to others
December 6 - St. Nicholas: The Miracle of St. Nicholas 
December 7 - St. Ambrose: In the Candles GlowHoneycomb Cake, decorate Christmas Candles
December 8 - Immaculate Conception: The Donkey's Dream *Catholic Mosaic - pray Litany of Mary from which the names of Mary used in this book were taken 

December 9 - 2nd Sunday of Advent: The Gospel Told by the Animals 
December 11: The Little Fir Tree
December 12 - Our Lady of Guadalupe 
December 13 - Santa Lucia Day: Lucia Morning in Sweden
December 14: The Huron Carol
December 15: Too Many Tamales 

December 16 - 3rd Sunday of Advent/Gaudete Sunday: Bambinelli Sunday
December 17 - O Sapientia: An Alphabet of the Altar
December 18 - O Adonai: An Ellis Island Christmas 
December 19 - O Radix Jesse: The Three Trees
December 20 - O Clavis David: Silent Night
December 21 - O Oriens: Little Star
December 22 - O Rex Gentium: Twas the Evening of Christmas

December 23 - 4th Sunday of Advent - O Emmanuel: The Wonder Story
December 24 - Vigil of Christmas: Why Michael Whispered (This darling book is out of print... I found this at our old parish's book sale last year.)


sponsored by St. Augustine Academy Press (value $74.75)

Friday, November 16, 2018

{this moment} Saying Goodbye

“The world's thy ship and not thy home.”
― Saint Therese of Lisieux

It was so hard to say goodbye yesterday before driving back to our new home in Idaho... knowing that this could most likely be the last time all our children would be together at our home in Oregon before it sells. They have all lived in this home since birth and it has grown along with our family over the years. So many wonderful memories!

Our little wild one didn't want to cooperate while we were trying to get that one last picture of all the children outside their childhood home.

I've shared this picture before but wanted to share it again w. This is what the house look liked when we purchased it back in May of 2000, while I was on bedrest with our oldest son who was born a couple months later. The house has grown with our family over the years, first adding on three more bedrooms and two more bathrooms in 2005 when baby #4 was on the way, and then adding on a dining room and family room and remodeling/expanding the kitchen (scroll to bottom of linked post to see the original kitchen), original bathroom and laundry room in 2010. Pretty much everything was updated or replaced over the years except for the wood ceilings in the entry/living room and two original bedrooms.  We never did get around to building a new garage or shop (it was next on the list of projects we were saving up for) and that has been the main factor in why our home hasn't sold yet and why we've needed to continue dropping the price... We have another showing this afternoon so I guess we'll see what happens! 🙏🏻 

Home Sweet Home

While I'm sharing pictures of our home, and what it looked like when we first purchased it back in May of 2000, here are some that we had taken for the real estate listing. I shared these on my personal Facebook page when it first went on the market, but want to record them here on the blog too. We listed our home at the worst possible time of year - in August in the middle of fire season when our house was buried in smoke (this was the worst fire season we've ever had) - and everything has been so horribly dry and brown outside. Our photographer did the best he could to clear it up and add some blue back to the skies. Landscaping has never been something I am any good at and all our efforts went towards adding on and remodeling the house. A new garage and landscaping were next on the to-do list had we stayed in Oregon. As things continue to get greener we will probably have some new pictures taken, unless the house sells in the meantime. St. Joseph, pray for us!

This has been such a great home for our family for the past 18 1/2 years. 
If you are interested you can scroll through some of the Home Improvement posts I've shared over the years in the archives.  Here are a few to get you started: